Amana builds on steady growth

Dubai-based Amana Contracting has set itself on the fast track of growth in the region by entering into strategic alliances with global industry leaders.

July 2006

Building on the steady growth in business levels over the past couple of years, Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings, a regional leader in fast-track, turnkey construction of commercial, industrial and institutional low-rise facilities, is in an expansive mode – both vertically and geographically.

The Dubai-based company is diversifying its expertise and construction services through strategic alliances with global industry leaders.
“Today, we are not only into the construction of steel buildings but also into steel pipeline construction,” says Chebel Bsaibes, CEO and president of Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings.
Amana has recently formed joint ventures with two firms: one with Kelo of the UK, a company that has more than 30 years of experience in aviation fuel storage construction and steel piping; and the second with Walbridge Aldinger, a US-based leader in automotive and airport construction.
“Kelo and Walbridge perfectly complement Amana’s scope of work and together we will focus heavily in district cooling and airport expansion within the region,” says Bsaibes.
Geographically, Amana is expanding into Saudi Arabia by opening three offices there this year – one each in Jeddah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province. The company also has the Sudan, Pakistan, Libya and Oman markets on its radar.
Turning to the future prospects for the company, he says: “We see a comfortable 10 years of good work ahead, specially in our market covering the non-residential sector of construction. There is a demand for higher quality, specialised contractors. We are moving into different industries to mitigate risks while also further developing expertise internally to get into a higher quality segment than the general steel warehousing market.”
“Our pipeline division will basically ensure that we do maintain our growth in an area we have never touched before, as the oil and gas industry will always remain active,” Bsaibes points out.
Amana has offices in seven cities across five countries, each with independent design-and-build capabilities, covering all engineering disciplines. These are located in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Kuwait. . Amana has the design capability to support construction at site, giving it an edge in solving problems promptly. This capability helps the company value analyse and value engineer any design.
“We are able to look at a design from a constructability point of view, analyse it financially and come back with certain modifications that can help speed the construction process, reduce cost while meeting the functionality of the project,” says Bsaibes.
Market segments that Amana covers include agriculture, automotive, institutional, food processing, logistics, and now oil and gas.
“As we are into low-rise horizontal construction – commercial and industrial – we need a structural system that can complement our need for speed. The fastest system we could consider is steel and hence since our inception in 1993, we have always looked at steel as a skeleton around which we built the rest of the project. We design the system in-house but outsource all manufacturing,” he says.
“We consume more than 35,000 tonnes of steel annually, which we procure from regional manufacturers,” he adds.
Commenting on the problem of price escalation, he says it has affected contractors at all levels dealing with various construction materials, not just steel.
“To minimise the risks we could face because of price escalation, we decided about six years ago to establish a niche for ourselves in fast-track construction as short-duration projects are not affected as much by price rises. Five months is the general cut-off point that we try to work within, though this could sometimes stretch to nine months – but never beyond a year.
“We try to take precautions against price escalation, but it is not easy and requires a lot of resources, planning, expertise on project management and careful planning of procurement. However, it is achievable and we have managed to keep our heads below the line of fire,” Bsaibes emphasises.
He continues: “The secret of speed is parallelism, doing activities at the same time. Theoretically, it seems impossible but as long as the methodology of thinking is parallelism, you succeed on time.”
One of Amana’s recent fast-track projects is the world’s largest precast factory at Dubai Techno Park for Mammut Industries, a leading manufacturer of trailers, steel buildings, sandwich panels, concrete precast panels and portacabins.
Another fast-track project for Amana was the Petroleum Institute for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). Valued at Dh70 million ($19 million), the project comprises five buildings, including classrooms and the faculty, and was completed in four-and-a-half months.
Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings has constructed more than 1,500 buildings across the region and has established a reputation for its ability to deliver turnkey solutions of time-sensitive industrial and commercial projects on time, within budget and with quality requirements..
Amana’s other completed project list includes:
• A logistics centre for United Motors in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafz) – 18.2 m high, with a built-up area of 15,500 sq m and using 543 tonnes of steel;
• Liberty Automobiles showroom in Sharjah – claimed to be world’s largest showroom for General Motors. The 140-m-long showroom has a total built-up area of 13,500 sq m;
• General Motors logistics facility in Jafza. Constructed in 180 days, the facility has a built-up area of 14,000 sq m and used 140 tonnes of steel.
• A retail distribution centre for the Public Warehousing Company in Dubai Investment Park. This facility has a built-up area of 24,000 sq m and will be completed in September 2006
Amana has also handled a range of other projects including an office centre for Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority, a fruit and vegetable market in Ras Al Khor, light industrial units for Jafza, NeoPharma pharmaceutical plant, Schlumberger Middle East’s Learning Centre, Abu Dhabi National Carpet Factory, Abu Dhabi National Paper Mill, Landmark Shopping Mall and Lulu Hypermarket, Ajman, all in the UAE; Ras Laffan power and desalination project, and cold stores for Public Warehousing Company in Doha, both in Qatar.

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