Middle East Transformation
On the back of a disruptive 2020, Tim Goodall, Partner at DSA Architects, discusses the challenge of navigating today’s dynamic Middle Eastern market
Writer: Sean Galea-Pace | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
Opportunity. It’s everywhere in the Middle East.
The region’s market is currently undergoing a period of significant transformation – one which has demonstrated the importance of adopting an agile and lean approach in order to respond to the latest trends quickly and at scale.
It’s a region that Tim Goodall, Partner at DSA Architects, believes is dynamic and exciting.
“The Middle Eastern market continues to provide an abundance of opportunities,” explains Goodall.
“As in all regions and industries, we have seen economic cycles of greater and lesser demand, however what is uniquely interesting about this part of the world is that, as one country or area experiences a dip, others will tend to go the opposite way simultaneously.
“We appear to be rebounding with many new projects after COVID-19 created nervousness.”
Having begun his own project management consultancy at the beginning of the Dubai boom period, Goodall first became involved with DSA Architects in 2005 in establishing a Lead Consultancy aspect to DSA, which subsequently led to him becoming a partner a few years later in 2008.
“Coming from both a contractor and a client side, I was able to influence our lead consultancy role to be more inclusive and appreciative of all key stakeholders’ requirements, whilst implementing a disciplined quality management approach to delivery,” he says.
“What I saw was many of our lead Design Architects being involved in a lot of administrative and project management tasks which seemed to take away the real purpose and talent of architects, in being able to design.
“I learned how DSA’s team of architects were detail-focused and driven by quality of design, we were determined to create a design management function which complemented the design team. This would allow them to do what they do best – designing buildings whilst the design management team would be there to lead the multi-disciplined consultant team in meeting all the client’s needs.”
DSA Architects is a leading architectural design practice with offices in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, with around 175 staff spread across seven offices. Established over 30 years ago, DSA operates and possesses a proud portfolio of landmark projects across the world.
The firm works with many types of clients, from multinational blue-chip companies to governments, hotel operators, and local investors. DSA is recognised as one of the leading hotel and resort architects in the world and is proud to have delivered over 200 properties and 30,000 keys worldwide, including brands Hilton, Marriott, Accor, Jumeirah, Hyatt, Kerzner, Four Seasons, Rosewood, Chedi, and Nikki Beach to name a few.
The company is renowned for delivering amazing luxury hospitality projects, and over time it can be seen how these hotels and resorts have inspired many other industry sectors such as hospitals, residential, airports and public facilities to have integrated hospitality aspects.
Having successfully delivered numerous projects over the years, Goodall is keen to stress that each project is delivered in the same consistent way to ultimately ensure that our clients aspirations are met and are satisfied with the finished project.
“We approach all of our projects with the same passion and enthusiasm,” he affirms.
“Our experience and track record of success as a lead consultant, offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for design and management services, enables us to tailor our service to suit the particular needs, objectives, and dynamics of a project in a bespoke manner. All the while we maintain the high standards of quality and added-value that we are renowned for providing to all of our clients.”
As Saudi Arabia seeks to reduce its reliance on oil and diversify its economy towards encouraging tourism and hospitality, Goodall believes Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030 will bring exciting change to the country.
“These opportunities are great to see after our last few months of COVID-19 related stress,” explains Goodall.
“We’re already working with many clients, having been appointed on a number of projects throughout the Kingdom. It’s clear that big changes are happening within the Kingdom and it’s a very exciting time.”
“We are hoping to be able to announce some significant news in relation to our new office in Saudi Arabia very soon – so watch this space!”
Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, industries overnight have had to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing market conditions. Goodall explains that the last few months have provided fresh impetus and ideas for developing the business and emerging stronger than ever post-COVID.
“Strengthening our many relationships and building new partnerships and collaborations is vital,” he says.
“We are seeing more and more renowned International design practices coming into the Middle East and we see a future of many collaborations going forward. The synergy between ourselves and these overseas design consultants with our added local experience, know-how, and capability, is very much an area which our clients will benefit on.”
Like many organisations, supplier relationships are critical to success at DSA Architects. Goodall points to the formation of several collaborations to meet the needs of its clients.
“We have established many strategic associations with International consultants overseas, local consultancies and business partners,” he explains.
“This enhances DSA’s ability to offer an A-Z Lead Consultancy Service internationally, and to tailor the disciplines offered to meet the exact requirements of any specific project, both large and small, and provide complete flexibility to our clients.
As a team and organisation, we believe we are truly “Designed to Deliver”, with our design partners in support, listening to and working closely with our clients, we have the capability to meet any project requirements, no matter how challenging.
“We believe we have a great team of design partners, all considered as being part of the DSA family. Each design partner relationship has been developed and aligned with DSA’s delivery approach. We work very closely as a team with all team members supporting each other. The feedback from our design partners is very much the same, and how they very much enjoy being part of a very professional organised and talented team, which DSA provides. This team working ethic is very critical to the success of our delivery.”
The importance of recruiting and retaining the right employees cannot be understated. With over 70 percent of its staff having been with DSA for over five years, and half of those for more than 10 years, Goodall affirms that developing talent is a key priority to DSA.
“We purposefully look to develop and promote from within and to offer opportunity for growth and advancement,” he says.
“The team ethic set from the directors onwards is of help and support of one another in a positive way. This sets the tone for a dynamic team working environment where ideas and knowledge are shared and passed on. This is reinforced with regular staff seminars and meetings to discuss projects, learn lessons, and debate ideas for providing further added value and innovation going forward.”
With the future in mind, Goodall is keen to think ahead and avoid falling into a comfort zone. After a disruptive and challenging 2020, DSA is seeking to return to normality.
“DSA’s overarching desire is to maintain more of the same success and achievement that the past 35 years have seen,” he says.
“What is important, however, is that we will never rest on our laurels and are always looking to find ways of developing and moving the business forward. Whether that be in terms of staff development, new technologies, exploring fresh markets, expanding our BIM Skillset or streamlining and improving our existing processes.”
“We are very excited for this year, in creating new relationships, delivering more amazing projects for our clients and developing DSA to greater heights.”