Preview: Yusuf Akcayoglu

TA V Construction’s Gulf regional director Yusuf Akcayoglu comments on hosting his first The Big 5 seminar: ‘Using win-win contracts to benefit developers, main contractors and MEP contractors’

Yusuf Akcayoglu joined TAV Construction, the world’s third-largest airport contractor in 2004. He has been Gulf regional director since 2007, spearheading TAV’s airport and high-rise developments across the Middle East. It is the first time he has presented at The Big 5.

The Turkish company has more than US $104 billion worth of projects currently under contract and has worked on airports in Doha, Istanbul and Cairo.

What is your seminar about?

A psychological barrier remains after the financial crisis and since then we have been working on a build-operate-transfer model (BOT). Our company was the first initiator of it in Turkey, we have now used it on several projects and we want this model to be used in the Gulf.

You do the forecast, let’s say for an airport for how many passengers can travel, the calculated revenue and estimated profit. Then you send the project to the financial institutions to raise money and begin.

BOT is the win-win situation because the motto behind it is; the earlier completion, the earlier the revenue generation. Delivering things quickly is one of our distinctive qualities.

What is the key to delivering projects on time against the odds?

Firstly we are a specialised company, focused on airports. We have very good people in the business. Plus in major sub-contracting packages we purchase with repetitive procurement so our suppliers and sub-contractors know what we want and we work well together.

We also seek design and build contracts rather than build only, as in our experience they can be delivered more efficiently. Construction is about on-time and on place, installation and delivery.

What are the main issues facing the industry?

There are no tenders; it’s very competitive and the profit margins are almost gone. The companies are struggling now to keep their staff in work and prevent losing their talented people. Keeping staff busy is always a challenge.

Luckily we have projects in Qatar and Muscat and so far in Dubai our projects are doing well.

Of course it’s a little bit of luck, but in the meantime we are always careful to look after our clients and keep our people busy.

Do you have any tips for first time visitors to The Big 5?

BOT is the win-win situation because the motto behind it is; the earlier completion, the earlier the revenue generation”

In Dubai, the materials and concepts are very different from Europe and other emerging countries. For suppliers, they must keep in mind that their presence should be in the region full time.

Sometimes they just trade and leave, but this doesn’t work. They need to have their warehouse and samples and quality standards and comply with the market standards.

For the contractors, we have done things by trial and error that cost us money. For a company to switch on a project here, of course the first one may not make money, so they want repetition, so the contract department must be very strong and standards must be high.

Why should people attend the conference you are hosting?

Our experiences are from real life; we are the people taking the risks so if a project goes wrong everybody else gets their fees but we don’t. The discussion panel taking place at The Big 5 will be interesting to a lot of people, especially the topic on how to manage a project where there are conflicts with the client.

What’s the future for TAV?

In 10 years’ time we want to see our company number one in the world for airport construction. Currently the Engineering News Record ranks us at number three.


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