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‘Delayed payment norms have been driving down projects’

Ajit Abraham, Territory Manager – Building Service Products at Leminar Air Conditioning, talks to Benwen Lopez of Climate Control Middle East about the peripherals of the HVAC insulation market. Excerpts from the interview…

| | Dec 10, 2017 | 1:56 pm
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How critical is insulation from reliability, energy efficiency, acoustical comfort and fire safety perspectives?
Thermal comfort in any space is determined by a number of factors, such as air temperature, relative humidity and air movement that is in correlation with the behaviour of the occupant’s metabolic activity and even clothing.

The right kind of insulation that follows the building codes, along with the appropriate wall thickness calculations and installation, will ensure that the ambient temperature is maintained leading to energy efficiency, excellent acoustics properties and adherence to fire safety.

In this region, tackling moisture and the resultant mould build-up are key challenges. How can insulation play a role in tackling this critical issue?
When cool air passes through warm areas in the facility, owing to wrong insulation levels, it can cause condensation in the ductwork and air-handling units, which can lead to problems of moisture and mould build-up.

Selecting the appropriate thickness, based on the conditioned and unconditioned spaces, along with the right installation methodologies can control and, to a great extent, tackle the moisture and mould build-up.

Typically, what type of insulation is sold in the region, considering the rather unique ambient conditions of high temperatures and high humidity.

Fibreglass and closed-cell elastomeric insulation are the two types of insulation extensively used in the region, as well as in global-level HVAC applications.

These two types of insulation have proven ability to meet the standards of the industry and building safety codes. They can also sustain high-ambient temperatures, based on the nature and mode of installation, irrespective of high humidity and extreme weather conditions.

Apart from the humidity and high-ambient temperatures, the growth of mould is a problem in the region, and these particular insulations can also prevent mould from building-up.

Could you please tell us how you comply with safety regulations, local authority approvals and ISO quality management systems?

As an ISO-certified organisation, we are equipped with an in-house team of auditors and safety officers. We ensure that the products that we distribute comply with the building codes. The stringent ISO quality management system ensures that we distribute products that meet quality standards along with the local body regulatory norms.

What testing protocols do you adopt to ensure quality? What kind of testing facilities do you have at the manufacturing base?

The products that we represent are ISO certified along with UL and FM approvals. As an organisation, we ensure that the products that we receive are randomly audited at the factories, to ensure that the market standards are met. In addition to these practices, our products are tested as per the UAE Civil Defence regulations, municipal building codes, regional compliances and Dubai Central Laboratory.

As an insulation supplier, what challenges do you face in the current market circumstances?

A primary challenge in the current market is the delayed payment norms that have been driving down projects, along with inconsistent project timelines.

Moreover, at times, inexperienced contractors mushrooming up to take mega projects, creates a credibility issue for the distributor. Furthermore, a misappropriated usage of the term, ‘value engineering’, which empowers the contractors or clients to use substandard products, has driven down the cost of projects resulting in a compromise in quality.

This is a price-sensitive market. Do you find it a challenge to deliver on quality, without compromising on your profit margins?


Every market is price-sensitive, based on its culture and market standards. When the standards are benchmarked to use quality products along with correct engineering practices, quality will be driven forward.

Unfortunately, retaining a healthy margin becomes a challenge, as there is always a premium that needs to be paid for quality products that meet engineering standards.

Do you see a ramp-up in demand, in view of the EXPO 2020?

There will be a ramp up due to the EXPO 2020. But I believe it will be spread across a timeline, and due to the openness of the market, there will be a lot of new products that will enter the region. The critical aspect of the demand cycle should be that clients ensure that they partner with distributors that have an excellent track record of quality products and after-sale services.


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