Complex Made Simple

5 Trends for the Building Industry in 2018- Part I of II

Article by: Saeed Al Abbar, Managing Director at AESG

In Part I, we review Al Abbar’s 2 of the 5 trends that really capture the building and construction needs of 2018.

With 2017 in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for the building industry to set its sights on the year ahead.

Whilst still challenging, the last 12 months have definitely seen an uptick in the market as regional governments and the private sector have adapted to the new paradigm of lower oil prices.

The coming year holds much promise for the industry particularly for those well placed to capitalise on the new trends in the market.

Despite this, the lower levels of liquidity in the market is certainly driving regional government and private developers to be very strategic with their investment decisions.

Below are 2 key trends and areas of focus for the building industry, in 2018.

Read: Digital transformation a must for Saudi construction sector to survive

Trend 1: Zero and Near-Zero Energy Buildings

Off the back of the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015, the world is beginning to set in place a clear roadmap for decarbonizing the global economy.

Buildings, which account for over 40% of global carbon emissions, form the frontline of the fight against climate change and in order to reach the objectives of the Paris agreement, the building stock should be net zero by 2050.

Those that act now will have a significant competitive advantage once such targets make their way into regional building codes and regulations.

Read: Dubai makes room for construction of new hotels 

We are now at a stage where near-zero energy buildings are a reality and can be made possible through cost-effective means.

There are several upcoming projects that have set net-zero targets.  We are currently even working with a number of developers that have set near zero and even net zero energy targets on their projects.

Trend 2: Fire and Life Safety

Given the number of high profile façade fires globally and regionally, fire safety for facades has been a focal point for the industry, and is vital for developers to manage their liability and safeguard their investments.

By now, all countries in the Middle East have well established fire codes that are continuously updated and enhanced.

It will become increasingly necessary for fire and life safety teams to work together with façade teams to ensure that the façade designs are developed following best practices for fire safety.

Read: Dubai developer uses new cladding technology to boost fire resistance 

In addition to these efforts put into new developments, it is the maintenance and operation of existing fire safety systems that will largely impact the efforts to reduce fire related incidents.

Upgrading these systems at existing properties is key, and we will see developers taking retroactive steps to make sure their properties to meet new fire codes.

In fact, our façade engineering and fire and life safety team have worked together on several projects where building owners, who have become concerned with the fire risk exposure of their new and existing assets, have required detailed surveys and remediation plans to address the risk of façade fires on their buildings.


Part II of this article with trends 3,4 and 5 are coming up soon