Fri, 14/09/2018 - 05:15
Shaping Facades across two Continents
Paul Grove of Meinhardt Façade Technology explains how the Company is leveraging innovative techniques and an adaptive culture to produce unrivalled results
Writer: Jonathan Dyble
Project Manager: Tom Cullum
The construction industry comprises a range of sectors, with façade services considered to be one of the most specialist and technical niches within this.
Often depicting the character and spirit of a building, the design, fabrication and installation of building façades are pivotal to the representation of a brand or company.
Naturally, façade engineers are often dubbed as the artists of construction, with engineers required to analyse a range of factors from aesthetic appearance and structural behaviour to safety and serviceability.
Such services are expected to see rising demand in the years ahead, with research suggesting that the global façades industry will rise from the $179.7 billion recorded in 2016 to more than $337 billion by 2025, and one company readily positioned to capitalise on this rising demand is Meinhardt Façade Technology (MFT).
Having discussed the firm’s ambitions across the Asian continent in the latest issue of Asia Outlook, Paul Grove, Managing Director of Middle East, Southeast Asia, UK and Australia at Meinhardt Façade Technology, provides insight into the Company’s equally expansive portfolio across the EME region.
Recognising the opportunity
With Meinhardt Façade Technology having been established in 1988, the firm’s Hong Kong office initially dealt with business in the EME region. However, having gradually established the brand in the years since its inception, Meinhardt began to recognise the opportunity of working more locally with EME by the turn of the millennium, particularly through Meinhardt Façade Technology.
“In 2000 we recognised that there was an opportunity for our façade consultancy services in this region that we had previously been serving remotely,” Grove reveals.
“Due to growing demand, a local MFT office was established in Dubai, where we worked on a number of our first major projects in the city. As of today, we cover the whole of the Middle East and surrounding countries from this office that is nearing its 11th birthday in the UAE.”
A similar pattern followed in MFT’s approach to the European continent, namely with the UK, as the Company once again recognised the advantages of working directly within the local market.
“A number of the major architects had left the Middle East during the global financial crisis and established themselves back in the UK. As a result, in 2012 we recognised that they were starting to work remotely and saw the opportunity to set up an office in London to work closely with them in the early design stages and provide an advantage to the Dubai office for these projects,” Grove explains.
“The office was set up under the already established Meinhardt UK office, and it soon became apparent the demand for UK projects was high. In the six years since, our European workload has largely been based within the UK. However, we have projects scattered across the continent, from Manchester to Cyprus.”
Further, off the back of its regional success, MFT is now looking to expand across Europe to better capitalise on the emerging opportunities in other markets and continue to expand in line with the market’s overall growth.
“We will also be opening another office in Europe by the end of this year,” Grove says. “We are very excited as this is a strategic move in this region, and it will be interesting to see how this develops over time.”
Shaping the mould
With such expansion a reflection of MFT’s success to date, fundamental to this have been its projects – a crucial aspect that the firm truly takes pride in. Leveraging the latest techniques and technologies, each and every one of its projects are unique and exemplary.
“We have undertaken a range of high-profile projects in the Middle East, all with very different challenges,” Grove states.
“Some of the projects we are particularly proud of include, but are not limited to, the New Doha International Airport and Rosewood Hotel developments in Abu Dhabi, as well as our work on the Burj Rafal and CMA Tower situated in Riyadh, and of course the monumental projects, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall.”
Meanwhile, in the UK, MFT is continuing to play a major role in the innovative development of London’s expansive skyline, namely through its 145 City Road project, IQL S9 development and TIQ S5 and S6 project.
The variation of these projects across a range of different countries, industries and environments speaks volumes, and truly reflect the extensive capabilities of Meinhardt Façade Technology.
Commitment to the brand
Key to Meinhardt’s ability to secure such substantial contracts has been its commitment to consistently providing leading services to the best of its ability, a culture that has been crucial in bolstering the firm’s regional reputation.
“In the Middle East, it is vital to further our name and cement our brand in the industry,” Grove explains.
“Reputation is everything in such a competitive market, particularly considering the high amount of construction. We value our clients and we value repeat business, so high quality service is something we have to maintain.”
In pursuit of this, Meinhardt Façade Technology actively ensures it is readily positioned to progress, evident in its openness when it comes to collaborating with complementary firms.
“We need to ensure that we are able to access and implement the latest materials and techniques, and we always look to find economic constructions methods,” says Grove. “For example, a steel frame build-up is quite common in the UK and has some key industry benefits. To this end we have recently been working with Voestalpine Metsec for our façade solutions.
“Similarly, the other key material we use in façade is performance-coated glass, a key barrier to preventing the entry of solar energy to interior of buildings. We collaborate very closely with Merint Saint Gobain, Guardian and China Southern Glass, to work on various double and triple silver performance coated glass.”
Further, in the aim of not only maintaining such high standards but surpassing them, MFT readily sets targets with the expectation that growth will be achieved across all areas of the business, driven by a focus on flexibility and diversification.
“If we see a change in the market we need to be ready to react quickly, so we ensure that we remain diverse, recognise opportunities and are ready to establish new offices and services to suit the demand,” Grove continues.
A prime example of this is the Group’s establishment of BMU Consultancy – a division that has flourished in the EME region, particularly in the UAE.
Upon completion and handover of its sophisticated designs, Meinhardt recognises that it is imperative to its clients to ensure that the buildings remain in optimal condition, something that BMU Consultancy can guarantee, providing customers with leading façade access consultancy services.
“This has become an integral component of our Company,” Groves states.
“The emphasis on external facade maintenance is quite high in the UAE, more so than any other region, so it is key we have this service in house, training other staff and promoting our values internationally.”
Epitomised by its ambitious culture and backed up by a willingness to adapt, diversify and remain ahead of the industry curve, Meinhardt Façade Technology will undoubtedly continue to prosper across the EME region and beyond moving forward.