Sameer Daoud, chief executive officer of MECIC Contracting, plans to make acquisitions, merge subsidiaries, and invest in 3D printing to fill a gap in the UAE's mid-market construction sector.
Daoud, a former managing director of troubled contractor Drake & Scull, joined MECIC in April 2018. He told Construction Week that he wants to bring international standards and practices to the medium-sized contracting sector in the UAE, in order to combat what he described as a lack of quality in the market.
"Where I see a gap in the market is with the medium-sized contractor [options]," he told Construction Week.
"The medium-sized contractors we have in the region, and the UAE in particular, are not up to the quality that is expected for the developments under way, and I believe MECIC can fill that gap. We are focused on ensuring that the quality of the medium-sized contractors can compete with the quality of the big international contractors in the market."
To fill the void and compete on quality with the region's big-hitters, MECIC will start to merger sister companies and take over complimentary businesses from next year.
"The market is picking up again, at least for the next two to three years, so now is the right time to invest to ensure we are going in the right direction," he said.
"It’s the right time to cover all the aspects and services that we [are targeting]. From there, we can set the base and make sure that we have the right people and services for market."
Fit-out contractors, technical services firms, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing companies are the type of businesses that MECIC would like to buy to provide as add-ons to its general contracting work.
Daoud did not reveal how capital MECIC planned to pump into mergers and acquisitions, and said: "It depends on how much revenue and much work we can generate over the next six months.
"Based on that we will be able to decide how much we can allocate to new investments."
As part of his brief to take the company forward, Daoud will also invest in new technology.
"One of the key things I am focusing on is technology," he said. "Most of the small- to medium-sized contractors are not investing in technology, but I believe it is the future. If I want to be able to compete, and be five steps ahead of my competitors, we need to be technological. We’re talking about building information modelling, 3D printing, and using the most updated software in the market. This is being implemented as we speak."
MECIC is also working on International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) contracts to support its credentials as a medium-sized contractor following best practices.
"My role is to take the company forward," he explained. "We are focused on bringing international quality standards to the local businesses.
"What I have seen over my experience of 12 years in the UAE and the Middle East is that most small- to medium-sized contractors miss the international quality standards. One of the things I am keen to ensure is that I have the best of the market to work with me.
"One of our biggest issues as this size of a contracting company is safety, and we have to make sure we are at the top of the game."
The general contractor is in a transitional phase at the moment, having changed its name from CIC, which has been in the market for eight years, to MECIC. Boasting around 15 engineers and a labour force of 150, MECIC's projects include villas and industrial buildings, as well as work in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are its primary markets, although Daoud said he was "open to opportunities" in the Northern Emirates.