Bishoy Azmy, CEO of Al Shafar General Contracting
The feeling of positivity across the construction market which existed 12 months ago has largely gone according to Bishoy Azmy of ASGC.
“In 2014 we thought 2015 was going to be brilliant – now we hope it turn out to be mediocre and there are no disasters,” he said.
The construction services provider is currently engaged on projects across the UAE, including City Walk with developer Meraas, a five star hotel in Abu Dhabi Marina, the mixed use Onyx facility in Dubai as well as being active across the oil and gas industry.
“There are mixed signals out there in the market place,” said Azmy. “There are some top notch developers such as Emaar and Meraas. But at the same time there are reports of weakening real estate projects which has an effect on the ‘normal’ developers.
“It is a challenge out there and I think it was at the end of last year that I started to feel the market had changed [from the optimistic views of last year]. There are reasons for this – oil prices, political unrest and the never ending weakness of the global economy. Growth in China has slowed, Russia has gone under and Europe is still restructuring its finances.”
Finances available to companies for projects is also an issue across the market as government funds are available to under pin the industry.
Azmy feels this is positive across the board and will not detract to smaller firms.
“At times larger companies may have more public support and more government backing,” he said. “But it is not solely about size. Some of the smaller businesses may be able to offer more appropriate solutions.”
Speaking earlier on a panel debating the impact of Expo 2020 Azmy said: “2015 has been an unusual year. The impact of Expo 2020 has not percolated down to us. We hear of ambitious masterplans and projects but for us, we have not felt the impact – and 2015 is not far from 2020.”