What is Atkins’ forecast for the Omani construction market in 2018, and what are the company’s plans for this year?
All in all, we see 2018 as being a more active construction market than 2016/17, with a marked shift towards private funding models. We plan to continue our focus on using the Omanisation programme as an opportunity for us to grow in a very positive manner. We will continue investing in the career and talent management of responsive staff and seek them to design and build their future.
Our efforts outside Oman have picked up momentum as well, with our office carrying out work both in the regions supporting our Atkins offices and in East Africa. We anticipate this to continue to grow and expect to be posting some of our maturing talent in Kenya, and possibly Tanzania, for periods of time to deliver services locally.
What are the kind of projects that Atkins will look to work on this year?
We see a continued focus on private-sector hospitality, with single hotels and resorts as well as medium- to large-scale integrated tourism complexes (ITC) incorporating high-end residential rental, lease apartment, and villa options. This, in addition to leisure facilities, office and shop units, and food and beverage outlets.
Atkins will seek to expand its portfolio of work in this area by building on the experience we have internationally, in this region, and in the country. Such commissions are ideally suited with our ability to offer international-level urban and master planning, civil and infrastructure, architecture-led design and build engineering from the same business.
These ITC developments can often be in a public-private partnership (PPP) format, and we are geared to working on such often under the main contractor and/or the main investor. From a public-sector angle, we see infrastructure generally as being a strong work stream, with Atkins working mainly on the contractor side. Additionally in this space, we see the affordable housing requirement being implemented, and with our recent and ongoing work in the region and East Africa, we are positioning ourselves as being a preferred partner for PPPs targeting this sector.
What are your top tips for the nominees of Construction Week Oman Awards 2018?
Personally, I see a few contractors that have risen above the masses and are producing real value for money, working closely with us as being deserving of public recognition and accolades. I wholeheartedly recommend these companies to clients and other stakeholders.
From a consultant’s perspective, I am very proud to honestly say that I see Atkins staff, some of our rising Omani stars, as sweeping the board for individual awards. I am also hopeful for project related awards for Atkins with some quite special tailored projects being successfully completed in the last year.
As for consultant of the year, I cannot see any consultant that has come close to what we have and are doing in-country. We have an amazing group of talented, both young and experienced, staff who work seamlessly as a team and provide bespoke services, so I am confident that we will secure this award.