For the Betterment of Buildings
SIBCA is the UAE’s leading systems integrator, optimising and enhancing buildings across the emirates and wider region with its evolving technologies and expanding technical team of engineers
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
It’s easy to view buildings as static assets. Most of us will be able to think of an office or apartment block that we’ve passed day by day, year by year that seemingly stays the same.
The truth is somewhat different, however. Granted, the vast majority of structures are fixed in place throughout their entire life cycle, but beyond what is seen at face value, buildings are surprisingly fluid.
Rows of terraced houses that were built hundreds of years ago, originally designed to accommodate families, have often since been repurposed for other functions – as modern apartments or offices, for example. Likewise, many new interior design solutions and heating, lighting, plumbing, drainage, communications, insulation and glazing technologies have been incorporated and/or adapted over time to enhance performance.
Looking at a city like Dubai, it’s easy to see how architectural exteriors are reaching new levels of complexity all the time. Yet beneath this, the nuts and bolts of buildings have been advancing at a similarly progressive rate, owed to the emphasis on innovation from industry specialists like SIBCA.
“SIBCA is involved in systems integration related to safety, security, building automation, energy conservation… I could go on,” states Ibrahim Lari, the organisation’s CEO.
“The critical and sensitive nature of these systems makes this sub-sector so exciting. The continuous development in technology makes the design and commissioning of systems an interesting, evolving challenge, but we ensure our engineers are always ahead of the curve in order to provide state-of-the-art solutions to customers.”
Founded in 1977, SIBCA has become a particularly active player in the building solutions space. Through its five business divisions and wide network of international partners, the company offers the consultancy services, products, technologies and support required to improve the performance and safety of buildings while minimising lifecycle costs.
“We believe it is the quality of our products and services and proven ability to deliver projects on time and within budget across the UAE and Bahrain that makes us different,”
Indeed, the CEO’s comments are backed up by a substantial and growing portfolio of proven works delivered for some of the region’s most iconic buildings and enterprises.
The 190,000-square-metre Dubai Hills Mall housing 750 retail outlets is one such example. Here, SIBCA is providing a fire alarm with integrated voice evacuation and central battery emergency lighting system, due for handover in Q2 2020.
The company was also contracted by Cleveland Clinic, a multi-speciality hospital with 500 beds located in Abu Dhabi, to implement another fire alarm and integrated voice evacuation system. One of the most complex systems of its kind in the UAE, it comprises over 35,000 devices connected to 36 nodes, having been completed in 2014 with SIBCA upholding its continual maintenance.
Further, it has provided a number of critical services and solutions to ADNOC, the UAE’s globally renowned state-owned oil company, on a range of projects.
“We are really proud of all our undertakings,” states Jaleel K M, SIBCA’s COO, entering the conversation. “Past works include five-star hotels, datacentres, large shopping malls, oil and gas facilities, multi-speciality hospitals, recreational facilities, educational institutions, international pavilions and more.”
Owing to the reputation that the company has garnered from its quality, timely delivery across the aforementioned, its current pipeline looks equally impressive, comprising upcoming works on Deira Mall and Meydan Mall in Dubai Address Hotel in Fujairah and Anantara Resort in Ras Al Khaimah, for example.
These future prospects are not the sole source of excitement at SIBCA for 2020, however.
Investing in new techniques and capabilities is a major part of the organisation’s remit. Therefore, it has also expanded its service portfolio of late to include firefighting solutions and a number of brand-new technological solutions.
SIBCA’s Chief Financial Officer Maher Ousta is on hand to provide insight: “Traditionally we were only involved in electrical, electronic and communication systems. However, with the market demanding a single solutions provider for lifelong building safety systems, we recently inaugurated our firefighting division to provide customers with the convenience of dealing with a single systems integrator.
“On the technological front, SIBCA is also moving into the internet of things domain, which will complement our existing data network infrastructure and cybersecurity solutions.”
A progressive approach
Crucial to the success of these ventures is SIBCA’s highly trusted, highly efficient supply chain.
Internally, the company’s robust logistics department ensures a seamless flow of goods between SIBCA, its suppliers and then its customers in the form of technical solutions. Yet the suppliers themselves are likewise part of the backbone of SIBCA’s success.
“We are proud to have had internationally reputed suppliers supporting us for many years – for as long as a quarter century in some cases,” Ousta reveals.
“We form partnerships rather than transactional relationships. Our partners not only provide us with goods, but they also provide us with services, training, advice and trade credit. The strong bond between us and them has created a win-win dynamic.”
Talk of SIBCA’s critical pillars then turns attention to the group’s ever-growing team of 1,100 qualified engineers and technicians in the UAE.
A sizeable workforce, the company continues to nurture and develop its staff via numerous training, education and employee empowerment practices that are reviewed on an annual basis.
“A training calendar is published at the beginning of the year,” Jaleel affirms. “Engineers are evaluated by their line managers, who nominate select individuals for advanced level training with the intention of maintaining our core team of technical experts across a diversified range of specialisms.”
And beyond training, employee satisfaction is consistently enhanced in other ways.
High performing staff are rewarded via an appraisal system, with exceptional contributions recognised by CEO Lari himself. Of late, these recognitions have been abundant, owed to the major strides that SIBCA has been taking and will continue to take as it moves through the coming year.
It will be a busy 12 months ahead. Alongside bolstering its newly added firefighting portfolio, the company plans to expand its footprint into new markets (its Indian office set to become operational in Q2 2020) and increase its revenues derived from the services sector.
Indeed, looking towards these varied ambitions, Lari ends our conversation on a positive note.
“Given our performance in the past half-decade, we are optimistic about the direction of the construction industry in the Middle East,” he affirms.
“It’s a sector that fluctuates by nature, but we feel our expansion and diversification plans should stand us in good stead to continually capitalise on new opportunities and make greater headway moving forward.”