The year 2018-2019 has definitely been a gamechanging year for two of Aldar Properties subsidiaries - Khidmah, one of the leading Integrated Facilities Management Company & Provis, Estate Management Company. From winning huge contracts in the region to managing over 30 landmark properties in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi alone, they have certainly hit the headlines for all the right reasons. Talking to ‘CM today’ the two distinguished companies provide an insight into their winning formula and shed light on how they have the technology adapted by them in order to cater better to the residents of the various facilities.
When it comes to the scope of work, it is very clear that Provis services include property consultancy and management, owners’ association consultancy and management, sales and leasing and clubhouse and lifestyle management services; and Khidmah focuses on providing facilities management and home maintenance solutions across different sectors including residential, commercial, retail, government, education, hospitality, and health care. “Both Provis and Khidmah are service providers tasked with delivering agreed upon scopes that are ultimately responsible for enhancing the living experience and lifestyle of residents. We work hand-in-hand with Provis to provide our competitive and uncompromised quality services to ensure that nothing, but the best is provided to residents,” says Sara Momtaz, Executive Director, Khidmah.
The year that was… With a vision to provide sustainable services to clients of all sizes and sectors, Khidmah has set foot in the right direction by working on projects across several assets spread across the UAE and a growing portfolio in Saudi Arabia. “During 2019, we won numerous new contracts with varying scopes in line with Khidmah’s customised customercentric approach. We integrated Total FM Services. Other than the projects we are working on and the bids we have won in 2019, we have submitted several tenders for services that align with Khidmah’s offering. We are in a strong position to win these abilities thanks to our competitive offering and deeply rooted expertise,” adds Sara Momtaz.
Sara Momtaz points out that they are always looking for more opportunities to expand their growth. “We have plans for expansion and are considering the whole GCC as a potential market but for the interim, we expect growth momentum to continue in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. At present we service over 80 projects covering residential, retail and commercial properties and are aiming to further expand these services to other sectors in the near future,” she notes.
Provis that launched in February 2019 has seen similar growth. Since the launch they have won numerous contracts across the UAE within their area of expertise. “Our business is growing rapidly, our expertise is stronger than ever, and we are poised for further growth. Following our large success in the Abu Dhabi market, one of our top priorities now is to reinforce Provis’ growing presence in other emirates. Hence, we are partnering with additional reputed developers which will, in turn, complement our expansion ambitions and growth journey across the Emirates. We’ve been delivering on our promise to introduce technology into our operations, create impactful long-term asset value and more streamlined and efficient services for all our customers, continuously enhance customer experience across Provis communities, and revolutionize the UAE property management solutions market,” explains Dana Awad, Executive Director, Provis.
With over 300 full-time technical employees, Khidmah has introduced many initiatives to enhance the customer journey and experiences; one such is the Khidmah Training Centre. This was primarily established to further enhance the skillsets of the employees and in turn add value to their clients. Talking about the key elements of the training centre, Sara Momtaz says, that the Centre is structured and strategically planned.
The training centre is aligned with the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) as well as the British Safety Council standards and will deliver training programs that cover both soft skills and hard skills. All of the training programmes will be delivered by Khidmah’s (BICSc) certified and accredited trainers. The staff will be trained on the use of the technological equipment and machines that would allow the company to increase productivity and efficiency of its manpower.
“The company’s staff will start by attending lectures / theoretical sessions before taking part in practical workshops that would allow them to learn how to effectively and efficiently use these machines and other diverse technological tools. One other major element that Khidmah’s staff will be trained on is the use of cleaning materials in an eco-friendly way while increasing the effectiveness of cleaning practices. To advance the knowledge and know-how of our workforce, Khidmah’s Training Centre will deliver skillfocused training sessions and use a number of advanced training techniques and technologies including video tutorials and animated presentations. Once the training is completed, we will hold exam sessions that require both theoretical and practical knowledge and will focus on the four major fundamentals which are: effectiveness, efficiency, eco-friendliness, and cost-effectiveness,” adds Sara Momtaz.
And that’s not all the Centre will also benefit the Provis. Owners’ Associations, such as those handled by Provis, always analyse the services provided by Facilities Management companies to ensure that set Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met and the quality of service committed to is delivered. “Our training centre will ensure that the services we provide are met with the standards expected by the OAs, Provis or otherwise, which will benefit residents and bring a positive delivery in the overall community atmosphere,” says Sara Momtaz.
Scope of Estate Management
As the real estate industry evolved so has the role of Property Management. Historically, property managers looked after the wellbeing of a property, both internally and externally, similar to what Facilities Management companies do today. Nowadays, this role has dramatically shifted, and Property Management companies work directly with developers, investors, and owners during the entire property lifecycle to sell and lease, manage Owners’ Associations, provide consultancy and identify ways to add value to each and every aspect concerning the property journey. “Therefore, as we’ve seen, both Property Management (PM) and Facilities Management (FM) have become more specialised to focus on their core propositions. A prime example of this is Provis. Earlier this year, we’ve decided to form Provis to specialise in Estate Management while Khidmah’s mandate shifted to Facilities Management. We believe this progressive approach is the key to our success and others in the market may follow suit,” says Dana Awad.
Property Management Companies also look after other thirdparty contractors, either being FM or else, to ensure quality standards are enforced and value is being added at every step of the property life-cycle. Agrees Sara Momtaz. “There is absolutely no doubt that FM and Estate Management companies need to work hand-in-hand. Ultimately, they have one core objective and that is to enhance the living experience and lifestyle of residents. This can only be successfully achieved by working in synergy with one another while keeping residents’ best interests at the heart of everything they do. However, they remain two different entities. In fact, PM/ OA companies scrutinize the FM Company’s delivery standards as well to ensure that set Service Level Agreements are met and the quality of service committed to is delivered. We work with PM and OA companies as partners to deliver the promised service, living experience, and lifestyle,” adds Sara Momtaz.
Dana Awad points out that technology also plays a key role in the evolution of Property Management. “Consumers’ expectations are changing, as they are looking for solutions that are more tech-centric, environmentally friendly and cost-effective. We are therefore witnessing integration of more technology into the industry to meet changing expectations, rationalize costs and improve the overall property experience,” adds Dana Awad.
Integration of Technology and innovations are no longer a luxury but a necessity for business growth. Technology is being adopted to increase efficiencies, reduce operating costs and enhance living experiences. At Provis, they use innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology to add tangible value to their clients and drive efficiency across the board. Some examples include adopting a cloud-based Building Management System (BMS) monitoring system that provides each of their communities a development of logic for data analytics and development of dashboards, which allows them to instantly collect data, automatically detect faults and conduct diagnostics for critical assets. It also comes with cloud storage for asset performance information and energy trends.
“We have also launched the Provis Portal for both owners and tenants in Provis-managed communities, who can now enjoy online services such as accessing their personal information, accessing financial statements, viewing payment history of community-related expenses, making online payments, uploading any required documents, booking services or maintenance requests, viewing and booking their community amenities etc,” adds Dana Awad.
The launch of the portal represents the first milestone in their digital transformation roadmap that will also include the launch of mobile applications as well as other online platforms to fully integrate processes across all operations and create more efficient services for their clients. Smart technology features can lower operating costs by reducing energy bills, improving health and productivity, assisting with real-time surveillance and faster emergency response systems. Moreover, Smart technology consists of adding smart thermostats, smart lighting, smart Wi-Fi-connected electrical outlets or smart door locks — can be a cost-effective opportunity to market units as smart-homes and attract more potential tenants. “Moreover, our cloud-based Building Management System (BMS) monitoring is projected to save 4 to 6 % of energy and operating costs annually across Provis managed communities, similarly our recently launched portal brings all services related to our communities under one umbrella, providing a seamless experience for our clients,” notes Dana Awad.
The need of the Hour
Two most important need of the hour is innovation and groundbreaking technology. Developers and investors are trying to integrate technologies into their properties to attract more tenants. However, there remains to be a reluctance to do so because of the concerns related to the maintenance of such systems and fear of them becoming outdated in a short period of time. “Evolving technology will offer developers opportunities to cut costs and identify inefficiencies which will result in better targeting of investors. With more young people joining the workforce we believe that there will be a larger need for modern tech-savvy solutions,” concludes Dana Awad.