Strong reader nominations for the Contractor of the Year Award 2010 left The Big Project team with a tough decision to make, but after much deliberation Al Shafar General Contracting scooped the title
The past 12 months have certainly been tough for the region’s contractors, with competition at an all-time high and hundreds of firms bidding for each project, only the best have survived.
The Big Project’s Contractor of the Year Award was introduced to recognise those firms that are surviving and thriving and give them a chance to share their success stories and secrets — from best practice and environmental considerations, to health and safety, and building quality.
Having received a number of strong nominations from contractors across the region, The Big Project team faced the difficult task of choosing just one winner. Companies we’re judged mainly on their pro-activity, perseverance and ability to win contracts in a difficult market while maintaining best practice in all areas of operation. After much deliberation the award went to Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC).
One of the key driving forces behind the UAE building industry, ASGC has delivered some of the region’s most iconic landmarks over the past 20 years.
Established in 1989, the company was a major influence on the Dubai cityscape with a diverse portfolio including commercial and residential towers, government buildings, educational facilities, factories and healthcare projects.
It has maintained its leading market position through careful planning, development, sound client and consultant relationships and by demonstrating best practice.
Recognising its social responsibility, ASGC enforces the highest of operational standards through its OHSAS 18001 health and safety accreditation and BS EN ISO 14001 environmental certification.
“Effective communication is an integral part of our site-control process.
“By ensuring safe systems of work are communicated to all staff, we have reduced our accident safety rates to some of the lowest in the industry,” said CEO Bishoy Azmy.
“There are a number of methods by which we communicate health, safety and environmental matters within the company, which include various site-based talks and reporting processes, meetings, audits, internal information sheets and, of course, training.
“Training is a vital part of the communication process and at ASGC we have a comprehensive training programme that is designed to pass health, safety and environment information onto management and the workforce.”
The company has also taken a sustainable approach to its projects and is demonstrating those values in the launch of its new headquarters building, which is currently seeking LEED Gold certification.
Today, the Al Shafar group of companies employs 10,000 people across the Gulf and has become the preferred partner in the region to deliver complete contracting services. It has 16 sister companies that provide specialised contracting services, and manufacture various construction materials.
“Not only does this give ASGC more control over the project, but it gives us a unique advantage within the building industry,” said Azmy.
While the UAE market today is very different to the fast-expanding market which enabled the group’s growth, ASGC has demonstrated its pro-activity in continuing its ongoing projects in the emirates, as well as embarking on an expansion plan which has identified opportunities for growth in the GCC.
The company has been active in developing projects in Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Syria and Libya.
“In addition to this, we are looking into opportunities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other Asian countries. This geographical expansion will provide ASGC with access to a new customer base and the opportunity to leverage its skill set outside the UAE,” he asserted.
Furthermore, the group recently launched ASGC Al Shafar Oilfield Contracting based in Abu Dhabi to focus on providing building services in the on-shore and off-shore oil and gas field sectors.
“Through continual market exploration, we are rewarded with complex and challenging new projects which increase our established track record of achievement.”
Following a successful 2010, which has seen the group win a number of large-scale projects in the region, ASGC remains positive for an even better New Year.
“The construction sector, among other industries, was affected by the global financial crisis. By effectively managing our company resources and applying a number of risk-response options, we successfully overcame this critical period.
“We predict the recovery in the market will continue at an even faster pace in 2011, as the need for experienced service providers increases,” Azmy revealed.
Upon receiving the Contractor of the Year Award 2010, ASGC vice president Abdul Aziz bin Al Shafar said: “ASGC is honoured to receive this title. The company has won several industry awards over the years recognising our achievements in the region’s construction industry.
He continued: “Such recognition will drive us to take on bigger and better projects in Dubai and the wider Middle East, while maintaining our core values which have enabled us to get to where we are today.”