Sustainable construction: Building a greener future for the region
Now Reading
Sustainable construction: Building a greener future for the region

Sustainable construction: Building a greener future for the region

Dubai is in third place globally in the list of cities with the highest number of ‘green’ buildings

mmanuel De Smedt, managing director, Al Muqqaram Industry

Over the past three years, the construction industry has witnessed significant growth in response to sustainability. With the rise of sustainable practices within the construction industry and green building, this new focus on eco-friendly design is promising for the future of our planet.

Focus on sustainability is one of the significant developing trends in the GCC region’s building sector. By moving forward with UAE’s 2050 vision and sustainability goals, Dubai achieved third place globally in the list of cities with the highest number of ‘green’ buildings, according to a report by Core Savills.

The UAE’s 2050 vision initiative aims to make the country the Middle East and North Africa region’s first nation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Many people are looking to invest in sustainable houses and communities despite the potential added expenses. Thinking long-term, living in a sustainable society reduces annual costs such as electricity.

A sustainability focus
Sustainability is at the forefront of UAE’s goals, focusing on creating a sustainable future for the Middle East. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 provide a set of 17 measurable and achievable targets with 169 associated indicators that countries can use to monitor their progress towards sustainable development and economic growth.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the UAE has been highly strategic with its construction projects, wasting little-to-no resources regarding construction or reconstruction. For example, Expo 2020 Dubai introduced ‘Expo City’ as the world expo came to a close. Around 80 per cent of the infrastructure built for Expo 2020 has been retained to build Expo City.

Changes in the industry
With the development of new technologies in the construction industry, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), workplace demands have significantly changed. The pandemic, on its part, also resulted in some significant changes in terms of the functionalities within the industry.

The future of the construction industry, in general, anticipates a more strategic approach to development. Within the Middle East and Africa region, the sector is expected to grow by 4.5 per cent by 2024, should there be no further interruptions.

Moreover, the industry is rapidly also experiencing growing popularity for 3D printing, which ensures construction projects take less time to deliver, a 40 per cent reduction in labour costs, minimal wastage of construction materials, and significantly reduced budgets. With 25 per cent of Dubai’s buildings expected to be constructed through 3D printing tools by 2030 as per a decree passed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, only a handful of players in the construction sector have successfully implemented 3D printing.

Emerging trends in the UAE
Upcoming industry trends point toward higher consumer demand focusing on sustainability and efficiency. For starters, it is encouraging to see that we are seeing more women in the UAE, in particular, joining the construction industry at various levels. This trend will bring much-needed diversity to the industry, which will jolt the industry’s creative process. The industry is also now experiencing achievable and realistic zero carbon emission targets driven by an increased uptake of tech-driven methods and modernised equipment.

Other trends include hybrid solar contracts to tap into natural sources of energy to power green buildings, safekeeping and better policies for migrant labour to attract more skilled manpower, hybrid construction chemicals that are sustainable and efficient and certified laboratory assurance.

Projected growth
Currently, the industry can be categorised as a price-fighting market primarily due to the ballooning number of competitors from different countries that are jostling for regional market share. As a result, the UAE’s construction chemicals market sector growth is analysed at 7 to 8 per cent by 2026.

This growth can be attributed to soaring demand for green construction chemicals as the region steadily moves towards significantly reducing emissions. Players in the industry are now adopting hybrid polymers, which ultimately help reduce CMR substances (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic chemicals) to optimum levels or use alternative sustainable products.

Other crucial demand drivers include commercial, residential, and industrial construction projects, which are now the market’s main growth drivers.

Construction chemicals demand by infrastructural project consultants on the back of the ongoing tourism development ventures in UAE is also fuelling this growth. Product availability for bulk orders mainly from local manufacturers – Dolphin, ASMACO, and NAPCO – under the ‘Made in UAE’ banner and main structural glazing has also significantly promoted industry growth.

To complement the growing demand, global manufacturers like Dow, SIKA, Henkel, FOSROC, SABIC, and AKFIX, to name a few, are also filling any supply gaps that the market might experience from time to time.

FDI impact
The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in UAE surged by 44 per cent in 2020 from 2019. The collective value of FDI inflows amounted to $174bn, which covered all the crucial economic sectors like construction, infrastructure, and real estate as major, amongst others.

The UAE construction market was valued at $101.45bn in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of $133.53bn by 2027, registering a compound annual growth rate of 4.69 per cent over the period of 2022-2027.

In terms of market segmentation, traders currently hold the lion’s share of the market, followed closely by project consultants and contractors who play a massive role in securing flagship construction projects and ensuring their timely and quality competition. Other key players include the sub-contractors, fabricators, end users, and retail, especially the niche market, which is constantly looking for bespoke units in and around prime locations.

With the current development of the construction industry in the region, it is evident that contractors are changing how they plan and execute projects. With better strategy and material conservation, the industry is heading towards prioritising sustainable construction, which will likely change the face of the industry as a whole. Moreover, the changes introduced within the sector have focused on meeting UAE’s Vision 2050 and building a better future.

Emmanuel De Smedt is the managing director at Al Muqarram Industry

You might also like


Scroll To Top