Facilities Management Middle East
THE BIGGEST MARKET?
In this Saudi focus report, FM Middle East interacts with a few FM players in the Saudi region to understand why it’s called the biggest FM market in the region
According to a MEFMA (Middle East Facilities Management Association) report, the Facilities Management market in Saudi Arabia is the largest in the region, accounting for around 55% of GCC spend.
As per the report, “the current FM market in the Kingdom is worth around $20bn – larger than previous estimates as a high proportion of FM services are delivered using basic manpower supply companies rather than FM service suppliers. Even taking this into account, the market is small relative to the scale of the country’s building infrastructure, reflecting the historic low cost, low quality approach to building maintenance. We estimate that just under one third of the market –predominantly in the public sector - is currently outsourced.”
Trying to get some more perspective from the above statement, Raymond AL Salhani, FM business unit director at Alhajry Overseas, says: “There has been a vertical construction evolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the last decades. For instance, there has been a rise in residential communities, commercial and industrial cities, recreational parks, mega hospitals, towers, schools, airports, and retail plazas. On account of the large land area of the country and its financial capabilities, Saudi Arabia is a distinctive region for the facilities management industry. Facilities management is
essential to add value to these facilities.”
Business Wire states that the soaring investments being made in infrastructural development projects, the flourishing tourism sector, and the increasing number of construction activities in the country are some of the major factors driving the progress of the Saudi Arabia facility management market.
“The mushrooming infrastructure industry is a major factor responsible for the growth of the market. The Saudi Arabian government is making huge investments in various massive construction projects in the country. For instance, the government launched the 'Smart City' initiative in 2017, under which, it will deploy smart parking solutions, smart lighting devices, environmental pollution tracking and monitoring systems, smart cameras, and smart solid waste disposal systems in various cities across the country.
“The construction of these smart cities will push up the demand for maintenance services for the smart systems, which will, in turn, boost the advancement of the market. Apart from these mega-infrastructural development projects, the thriving tourism sector of the country is also propelling the growth of the Saudi Arabia facility management market. This is because the boom of the tourism sector has boosted the requirement of various services needed for maintaining the facility such as catering and security,” the report stated.
When comparing to the UAE market, AL Salhani says: “The Saudi FM market is bigger in quantity and value, whereas the UAE FM industry is considered to be more advanced from an implementation and integration point of view.”
He believes that the Saudi FM market is transitioning itself from the typical operations and maintenance concept to facilities management in the true sense. The maturity is noticeable on the level of service providers. He says: “Firms are facilitating their staff with FM training, using the latest technology, and getting ISO 41001 certifications. For the market to be mature, both parties have to be on the same level of understanding. The clients and the proponents of FM contracts should step ahead and take measures in applying the FM concepts through new tenders and move away from the conventional ones of operations and management.”
Talking about the opportunities, AL Salhani adds that Saudi Arabia is the land of opportunities for facility management as well as for many other functions and industries. “Despite the fact there being numerous FM providers, the market is thirsty for a wider range of firms and organisations. The compass is heading towards hospitality and resorts which will be another boom in the FM world in KSA.”
According to Simon Allison, CEO of hotel owners’ alliance, HOFTEL, who was speaking to Arabian Business: “Saudi has massively ambitious plans. They’ve got great teams, some of the best hotel talent has been attracted there from all over the world. They’ve got great people, they’ve got plenty of money and they’ve got very coherent development plans.”
On the challenges, AL Salhani says: “Any agile industry faces challenges, and facilities management is a challenge in itself. New facilities, new scopes, advanced technology, and higher expectations make FM a challenging function. The common challenge is contracting in FM. It is the contract that tones the correct relationship between the client and the service provider. We lack of good contracting models and the old styles are still occupying the majority of the contracts.”
Alhajry Overseas claims that it is a main player and competitor in the FM market in Saudi Arabia, which has also established its own MEP firm, catering company and its own cleaning chemicals factory. AL Salhani adds: “This enabled us to provide integrated FM services from our resources. In addition, we are a BICS-accredited training firm.
Lately, the LEED certified facility Sky Tower in AL Khobar awarded Alhajry Overseas their integrated facilities management services in one consolidated long form contract.
ON ACCOUNT OF THE LARGE LAND AREA OF THE COUNTRY AND ITS FINANCIAL CAPABILITIES, SAUDI IS A DISTINCTIVE REGION FOR THE FACILITIES MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY. FACILITIES MANAGEMENT IS ESSENTIAL TO ADD VALUE TO THESE FACILITIES.
In conclusion, AL Salhani adds that technology is a main factor in the facilities management business and it is a must nowadays. He elaborates: “Saudi has the latest technologies in the FM industry and tonnes of software firms are available. The key point is to use the technology the right way and if not, it will be a waste. Numerous FM service providers and clients have the systems. It has to be implemented in order to be effective and not to have it just to comply with the technical of the tenders. Training and experience in FM plays a big role in exposing how to use technology in a good way to have efficient operations and cost reduction.”