FM opportunities are growing in Saudi Arabia, says expert
Eng. Khalid A. Al Mubarak, general manager at Saudi-based FM firm Tadbeir, speaks about massive opportunities for FM in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The FM market in Saudi Arabia has been quite buoyant, according to Eng. Khalid A. Al Mubarak, general manager at Tadbeir. He says that with the massive upcoming development projects in the region, the need for specialised FM companies is on the rise. He explains: “During the past few years we have seen this transformation in the market from pure operations and maintenance companies to integrated facility management companies that offer a variety of solutions.”
According to TechSci Report, the FM market in Saudi Arabia is the biggest in the GCC with a 50% market share. That is directly connected to the 17% annual growth rate of spending in the construction sector. With that, the FM sector is expected to reach a staggering revenue of $50bn by the year 2030.
Al Mubarak says: “As the Kingdom creates new cities and modernises existing ones, the FM industry is expected to offer more employment opportunities for Saudis, allow more growth in SME scale facilities, and enable companies to be more productive by focusing on their core operations.”
This growth naturally brings about opportunities for Tadbeir to increase its market share and grow its operations even further. Although despite all this growth, the region is not devoid of challenges.
Challenges in the region
Some of the major challenges in the FM market when it comes to the Saudi region, according to Al Mubarak, is the lack of awareness on the importance of facility management. He explains: “There seems to be a misconception about what we, as FM companies, do. People are just now getting to know the span of work that we can cover to basically make their lives easier and help them focus on their core business. Many efforts have been made to spread awareness on FM in the region such as the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), an institute that we are a proud member of. The government represented by the Ministry of Housing is also posing new regulations in place that would enforce the role of FM on property owners and have them contractually obligated provide FM services through specialized providers. Mainstream FM events are also gaining a lot of exposure, most notable one in the area is the FM Expo held in Riyadh which we participated in this year and we plan to participate in the coming years.”
The other challenge that is common across all industries is cost optimisation which flows down to suppliers and service providers and to the firm, as well, Al Mubarak says. He hopes that with the newly established Saudi Contractors Authority, such issues will be mitigated. Lastly, there’s the lack of specialised talent in the industry; however, there are some well-established training institutes operating, which will resolve this challenge too in the near future.
Tadbeir is well-versed in facing challenges. The firm, which is an integrated facility management company operating in Eastern, Central, and Western provinces of Saudi Arabia, provides a multitude of services within the arena of facility management mainly in commercial and residential projects. Al Mubarak says: “Tadbeir seeks to be a force in the rapidly changing facility management industry. We aim to be an efficient, and effective part of the prosperous journey to achieving our Kingdom’s vision.
“We at Tadbeir think of ourselves as our client’s partners and we offer our assistance each step of the way, starting with FM consultancy from the early stages of project design, to property management and being the middleman between the property and the tenants, and finally, offering integrated facility management services that covers technical (hard) services, soft services, specialised services, and support services. We are ISO certified and a member of the British Institute for Cleaning Sciences (BICSc). All of that enables us to achieve our main goal and that is giving our client quality and cost-effective services while following the most transparent governance practices and processes. We take pride in being one of the few specialised facility management companies, offering our clients a ‘one supplier’ solution, and tailoring each client’s experience to fit their business needs.”
Tadbeir aims to be a leading force in the FM industry of Saudi Arabia, and it has already undertaken major projects in the region. One such project is Jeddah Gate which is an enormous 413,000m² mix-use facility that shall include commercial and residential towers, an interactive water fountain, restaurants, and other facilities.
Some of the growing trends in the FM industry is the use of technology. Al Mubarak says: “Like all industries, there is a trend in FM towards applying technological solutions; this can be achieved by creating apps, innovative machinery, and systems to ease the entire process for both service providers and clients. Another important trend is the establishment of long partnerships which creates a sense of stability to FM service providers.
“To resolve the lack of talent, there is a move towards establishing in-house training centers to cater to companies’ needs and create jobs. Tadbeir is currently in the process of building one. In Saudi Arabia, there is a growing trend towards using FM consultancy from the early stages of design, which helps clients in making informed decisions from the smallest to the most critical ones. This trend means that property managers are mindful of the importance of FM. We don’t need new buildings, we just need effective facility management to ensure the longevity, efficiency, and sustainability of our buildings,” Al Mubarak concludes.