Dubai, UAE, 13 March 2019: The diverse range of participants in Middle East Facilities Management Association’s (MEFMA) CONFEX 2019 underscored the organisation’s commitment to cultivate specialised services within the FM industry. Ali Al Suwaidi, Vice President, MEFMA, said this is especially true in relation to the HVAC sector, which is responsible for a huge consumption of power in the Middle East, as the region is subject to high-ambient conditions.
In addition to knowledge on energy consumption, Omar Al Hadrami, Disaster Recovery Specialist, IICRC Certified, Master Fire and Smoke Restorer, Smart Solutions Cleaning Services, an exhibitor at the CONFEX, stressed that specialised knowledge in HVAC is vital to improve IAQ, which is crucial in the region, where most people spend 95% of their time indoors. “The air we breathe is from the AC,” he said, emphasising that regular and proper cleaning of ducts and humidity controls are needed to avoid microbial growth, which, he said, pose a more serious health threat than dust.
Ihab Assi, Chief Operating Officer, Saned, a joint venture between SAM and Apleona, said that strategic alliances could help in enhancing FM sector expertise in the field of HVAC, adding that Apleona, as a company that complies with standards from its German headquarters, often collaborates with HVAC manufacturers through workshops and conferences and through having them as contractors on site. “They are strategic for us in terms of their practices, like what kind of air filters to use, depending on location,” he said.
The choice of air filters, he said, also depends on the application – if a school or an industrial facility – and on the gas. “HVAC services have a huge impact on the environment and on the users of the building,” he said. “It’s basically dealing with the oxygen we breathe.”
Brian Suggitt, Managing Director, Systemair Middle East, and Chairman, Eurovent Middle East, an industry association representing the HVACR sector, said that as a supporting association, Eurovent Middle East aims to play an active role in MEFMA’s objectives to enhance the FM sector by integrating different market segments into the overall objectives and improve standards and qualities in the after-market. “We hope, as Eurovent, that FM companies could take advantage of the broad spectrum of companies in our association and utilise that strength to benefit from it.”
Al Suwaidi added: “Eurovent Middle East will help us standardise and expedite the HVAC component within the FM industry. We always need subject matter experts in each field– HVAC, firefighting, BMS. All these specialised services are all bundled together to form the industry of FM.”
While a number of FM companies move to invest in both equipment and training to improve services related to HVAC, Suggitt stressed that as in any market sector, there are companies that represent “the good, the bad and the ugly”. “Legislation has to be there to ensure the best companies apply the best methodologies and to ensure that when products are put into buildings they are actually maintained in the correct fashion,” he said, adding that failure to do so will lead to deterioration of equipment. “You might have the best building and best product, but if you don’t maintain it, it’s a waste of time,” he added.
Assi also touched on FM’s role in extending the lifecycle of assets, which contributes to cost-savings, and echoed the importance of implementing quality standards. “At the moment, we are trying, from MEFMA, to share our opinion on many topics related to FM, including classification of FM companies,” he said. “Basically, the qualifications we are trying to push are related to health and safety, environment and quality, so that we filter the bad from the good companies, and the well-performing, environmentally friendly companies from those that care to just make the profit and run away.”
Mohammed Essa Bundakji, Group Managing Director, Initial Saudi Group, said that while investment in quality FM services is largely driven by customer demand so far, eventually he believes the region will move towards the implementation of minimum standards to ensure best practices, and enforcement of grading systems. “There has been talk of a star rating system for buildings and FM companies,” he said, “and I am definitely supporting that and hoping it comes as soon as possible.”
Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at email@example.com