The Middle East FM market has witnessed a big change over the past few years, driven by the delivery of the mega projects that were launched and delivered since the beginning of the 21st century.
Spearheading the industry with a robust business strategy, prestigious certifications and the implementation of innovative technology, Ejadah has been witnessing strong growth over the years with many key clients in its portfolio. The year, 2018, was a year of transformation for Ejadah witnessing project wins reaching AED 200 mn in value. Ejadah's presence spans across all sectors of the market - residential, commercial and mixed-use master communities. They are engaged in various business parks across Dubai, staff accommodations, residential, commercial, healthcare, retail & government, leisure attractions, and security for master communities. Operating in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah, Ejadah manages a portfolio of over 116 million square feet, valued in excess of AED 40 billion. With over 8,000 employees, the group services an impressive growing list of clients in the UAE.
With expansion into a comprehensive range of asset management services to all market sectors across the region through its three business verticals, Idama (facilities management), Arkan (security management) and Shabaka (unit services), Ejadah is pioneering change within the industry. Talking to ‘FM today’ Tarek Nizameddin, Senior Executive Director, EJADAH, sheds light on what goes into maintaining a facility like the Blue Waters Island, and the role technology plays in the market today.
Blue Waters Island
One of the key properties managed by Ejadah is Blue Waters Island. Located close to Dubai Marina, Blue Waters Island is a vibrant lifestyle destination. It is a mixed-use development by Meraas and features distinctive residential, retail, hospitality, and entertainment options. Blue Waters is also home to ‘Ain Dubai’ - the world’s tallest observation wheel. Ejadah provides the facilities management for the residential area on the island. The three-year contract involves a wide scope of hard and soft services including the overall maintenance, cleaning, pest control, health, and safety management. What truly makes this facility outstanding is the adoption of technology that has enabled Ejadah to provide quality maintenance, and with their best practices in place, they are also able to enhance the lifecycle of the asset.
Ejadah has always believed in investing in the latest FM technologies and continues to provide premium services to its wide portfolio with the use of drones, robots, and advanced computer-aided systems and apps as well as AI and the integration of IoT to ensure operational efficiency. “We are a technologydriven company that understands the importance of and focuses on the implementation of technology and innovation in our industry. As a result, we are constantly investing, researching, developing, and exploring opportunities from all over the world for new technologies in operations, which includes soft and hard FM, and security,” says Nizameddin. An example of this is the exercise that the company recently conducted at the Blue Water Island for facade inspection using drones. “The usage of drones at a facility is an advanced technology that will enable us as the facility manager and the developer to understand the status of the building, its façade and any defects that may be obvious or hidden and issues in waterproofing, air leak, and water leak,” notes Nizameddin.
Ejadah is, in fact, one of the first companies in the region to use ‘EVO4HSE’ drones in its aim to provide clients with premium services revolutionising the facilities and asset management industry as a whole. Key solutions that drone usage provides include 360-degree inspections to ensure availability, safety, and reliability of the asset and a bird’s eye view, which helps property owners/managers assess the sustainability of the business operations. When it comes to hard services, Ejadah largely uses advanced systems for planned preventive maintenance by using IoT, AI, and also installs sensors in the assets of the buildings. “By using special software, we collect the building data and analyse it, giving us a clear indication about the asset’s performance. And, we come up with solutions that are then directed to our hard service and technical team through the system, which will enable them to achieve energy savings while also achieving performance enhancement and improving the life cycle of our client’s assets,” explains Nizameddin. Other initiatives like smart toilets and the use of smart watches make the distribution of tasks to the cleaning operators easier. “Very soon we are also going to have our first patrolling robot; hopefully, we will see it in all of our communities soon,” says Nizameddin.
While implementing technology provides better maintenance, the question of whether it does result in savings arises. Nizameddin points out that while savings are important, it is not the only driver for the implementation of technology and innovation in general. “Yes, savings are important for our clients and the end user. But for me, the implementation of technology will enhance the asset and the satisfaction of the end-user. Their experience in the community will enhance health and safety, sustainability and other factors that we can benefit from by adopting these technologies,” says Nizameddin. He goes on to add, “For example, our energy saving solution achieved 10 to 30 percent savings in the utility bill depending on the facility, and this is something that we guarantee to our clients. The utility bill is a big part of the operations budget whether it is water, electricity or district cooling.”
Every new project comes with its own set of challenges. And, Nizameddin says that experience allows Ejadah to handle them individually. “We start with understanding the site. I always tell my team that we should talk to the buildings. Buildings have a lot of communication tools, but we should listen to them. So, the most important thing is the condition assessment, understand the building, understand the building elements, any area of improvements, any rectification required that we report to our clients and give them an action plan for their implementation,” explains Nizameddin. Then comes the selection of the right team. “Each project has its own requirements when it comes to the selection of manpower. Our industry is manpower driven so we have to make sure we are deploying the right team, right skills, right caliber, with the right communication skills to cater to the need of the community users. The selection of the right sub-contractor is also a very important factor to ensure that we are fulfilling the contract requirements and meeting SLAs and KPIs that are agreed upon with our client,” notes Nizameddin.
Training is a huge part of Ejadah’s focus on getting quality manpower. The Ejadah Training Academy uses a lot of innovation in the way they train people. “We do provide different types of training. We have technical training that provides focused training of the manpower. For example, if there is a requirement for an AC technician, we focus on technical training related to AC, etc.” says Nizameddin. Ejadah Training Academy also provides general training related to awareness about the culture of the UAE, staff grooming, health and safety, site-specific training, site rules, site conditions, any special consideration for the specific site. “We have implemented a lot of innovative ideas in training. The latest one is a big campaign on visual training. Now, we have many videos in six languages that explain various aspects from cleaning and maintenance operators and security guards about the importance of grooming and the communication skills and communication expectations and that will be communicated to all staff at different steps, and as I mentioned, in six languages to cover all nationalities as well,” adds Nizameddin.
The year so far…
The year certainly started on a bright note and has continued ever since. “The first quarter was very successful for Ejadah, from operations to business development perspective. We have secured big contracts that will be announced hopefully at the end of the quarter. And, going forward we are continuing our commitment of enhancing the service, implementing new ideas that will add value to our clients and continue the growth of the company,” sums up Nizameddin.