Last month, I went into considerable detail on the extensive editorial campaign Climate Control Middle East initiated on the state of the MEP consultancy and contracting disciplines, which began by dissecting the issues reportedly preventing them from offering optimal performance.
The culmination of a certain stage of the campaign will be The Consultant Contractor Conference, on September 18 and 19, 2017. It will see MEP consultants and contractors, general consultants and contractors, government officials, master developers, developers, building owners and technology-solutions providers gather on a neutral platform for a discussion on the same issues but in a manner that only a conference setting allows, including instant feedback and possible resolution – or at least the groundwork towards that.
One of the aims of the conference will be to open up channels of communication, because most of the conflicts avowedly owe their origin to a general lacuna in fully understanding and appreciating one another’s point of view. The specific issues could be related to the way contracts are drafted and the manner in which they are interpreted, leading to payment delays.
Further, during one of the earlier discussions in the campaign, MEP consultants and MEP contractors specifically raised the point of a greater scope for regulators and enforcement agencies than the current one, which to a great extent focuses on the equipment side of things, including on energy efficiency, air quality and fire safety. For instance, they suggested that as a business- enabling measure, regulators consider establishing an escrow account for general contractors. Such a step, they said, would ensure that the funds allocated to a particular project were used for the project alone, thus guaranteeing that all the stakeholders down the chain were paid on time. Yet another suggestion of theirs was to set up an evaluation and certification framework, similar to the one established by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, to measure and report the performance of schools in the emirate. The merit-based framework, they said, could apply to all consultants and contractors and would help investors identify the best among them, when it came time to select resources and expertise for any given project. The positive pressure the framework would exert, they added, would compel the consultants and contractors to raise their game and, from a big picture point of view, usher in greater market maturity