The construction of spectacular projects across the Middle East has changed the local skyline forever. But a strong level of expertise is required to complete these projects and the role of partnership has played an important part in this transformation.
A prime example of the importance of partnerships is perfectly demonstrated by the success of Dubai-based Habtoor Leighton Specon (HLS).
HLS formed as a partnership between the Habtoor Leighton Group and Specon Ltd and has developed into one of the leading Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) specialist construction companies in the region, with vast experience in turn-key MEP projects.
The company operates in the UAE, Qatar, Greece and Cyprus, with plans to expand further into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman and Libya in the future, in line with its major shareholder Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG).
HLS’s ability to provide clients with high-level design and project management solutions, combined with access to modern, state-of-the-art equipment and practices, provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.
Reputation also plays a key role in growth of course, and HLS boasts an impressive portfolio of high-profile projects including: Zayed University, Abu Dhabi; Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi; Dubai Pearl; Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai; Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai; King Fahad Medical Centre, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
“With more than 3 decades of experience in the regional MEP sector, HLS key personnel have delivered landmark projects including airports, hotels, hospitals, commercial and residential towers, universities, military developments, HV/MV substations and overhead transmission lines,” the company website states.
“HLS’ experience spans all sectors of the construction industry and includes proven capability across the full spectrum of Engineering Services for buildings and infrastructure. HLS holds in-house capability in high & medium voltage (HV/MV) and extra-low voltage technologies (ELV), as well as in the fields of Rail & Metro, Energy & Power, including renewable energy power generation (solar) and other green and sustainable solutions, and Oil & Gas,” it continues.
HLS has a workforce that exceeds 5,000 people across the region and has the capability to deliver complex projects using industry’s best practices and modern construction and project planning techniques.
The company has achieved certification to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2005 and OSHAS 18001:2007 standards and is committed to providing a safe, healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable project experience for its employees, clients and members of the public.
HLS is essentially split into 3 divisions: Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing; Energy and Power and Rail and Metro.
The company’s MEP contracting offers a unique, collaborative approach that is tailored to suit the needs, budgets and programme targets of clients in the following areas: Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) including central and distributed chilled water systems, and associated plant equipment, microclimate control, packaged units and variable air volume (VAV).
HLS is also a specialist when it comes to plumbing, drainage and specialist systems including boilers, steam generators, water treatment, pumping stations and sewage treatment plants (STP’s).
Electrical works including power and lighting installations, low voltage (LV) power distribution, generators, uninterrupted power supply systems, central battery systems and related controls.
Extra-low voltage (ELV) systems and controls including building management systems (BMS), fire alarm, intruder alarm, access controls, closed circuit television (CCTV), internet protocol television (IPTV), surveillance, radio paging, intercom, public address (PA), audiovisual systems, conferencing systems, and all IP infrastructure based systems.
Fire-fighting systems including sprinkler, deluge, clean agent FM200, active supression systems, and other. Data and telecommunication systems including structured cabling, active component installations, GSM booster installations, IP-based integrated infrastructure for systems and automation.
The company also offers specialist hotel electronics applications such as room management systems and automated billing systems.
HLS’ Energy and Power Works division has assembled a team of highly skilled and qualified engineers that has delivered a range of high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) works throughout the region, providing turn-key solutions in the following areas: Power distribution including power distribution networks for utilities – 33, 22 and 11kV systems, HV substations and associated transmission lines and cabling works.
These networks are set up for utilities or for large industrial projects such as airports, hospitals, universities, sea ports, infrastructure and mixed-use developments.
Power generation including conventional power plants on an industrial or utility scale, thermal and hydro power plants through joint ventures with associated companies. Power transmission networks including HV and extremely high voltage (EHV) substations and transmission lines through joint ventures with associated companies.
The company has also delivered on renewable energy projects, primarily including utility-scale concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) projects through joint ventures for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and independent power provider (IPP) contracts covering: CSP Linear Fresnel technology, which provides a clean energy solution through direct steam generation.
The Rail and Metro division has been actively involved in a number of infrastructure departments in the region, primarily through strategic partnerships with affiliated companies such as the Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), the Advanced Rail Group (ARG) and Cobra (part of the ACS Group) along with other specialist partners for expert systems and solutions.
Working in conjunction with strategic partners, the division has worked in a number of areas including: Medium Voltage (MV) Network, 750V DC Traction, substations, Train/ Metro Station Power supply and SCADA; a complete range of MEP services for Train/Metro stations; Signalling and Train control; Telecommunications; Safety systems, Tunnel Ventilation Systems; Systems Integration; Rolling Stocks and Depot Services.
In 2013, Thrasos Thrasyvoulou, CEO and Managing Director of Habtoor Leighton Specon, spoke to ConstructionWeekOnline.com about the success of his company, which had been established in 2005 as an MEP partner to the Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) and which does not compromise on its skills:
“You are not getting the best service on a difficult MEP project if you get the lowest price,” he said.
“We want to maintain quality and, speaking to main contractors in the last few months, they are realising that it is not in their interest to keep squeezing sub-contractors.
“It’s not as difficult to secure work these days with our reputation for quality and history, but if it is a matter of price we have our red line on price – and we don’t accept projects that we know will not provide a return to the group.”
Such talk of course comes with a reassurance of quality delivery on projects.
In March 2015 it was announced that Habtoor Leighton Specon and Drake & Scull Engineering had formed a Joint Venture which signed an AED 395 million MEP contract on the ‘Jewel of the Creek Package 8’ complex.
HLS was nominated by Dubai International Real Estate (DIRE) as the MEP contractor of the prestigious project whoagreed with DSE to execute the works in a joint venture, combining the vigour and expertise of the 2 companies to deliver the project.
The package forms a significant part of the AED 4.0 billion (USD 1.09 billion) Jewel of the Creek project being developed by Dubai International Real Estate. The project is a mixed-used development designed by Kling Consult and Kieferle & Partner Joint Venture (KCKP JV), after their winning entry to an international competition. The master-plan embraces the location, reflecting the waves and steady movement of the Creek.
Package 8 consists of 5 hospitality buildings ranging between 15 and 19 floors, featuring a hotel and serviced apartments buildings, a ballroom and an attached café; a marina, including four foot bridges and one vehicular bridge; and hard and soft landscaping works.
The objective of the development is to transform the location into a vibrant urban centre and a prominent landmark in the heart of Dubai. The vision is to create a project of strong identification, a complex as a unit unparalleled along the Creek with functions linked to each other, yet each part of the development with its own expression and values. The project will set a benchmark for future developments and it will be one of the much sought after addresses in Dubai.
The HLS – DSE JV will work under the Main Contractor of the project, the Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), to deliver the MEP works of the package which consist of fit-out works in basements, complete MEP works for buildings including state-of-the-art systems associated with the latest technologies for smart and sustainable construction, and associated external works.
Thrasyvoulou said: “The Jewel of the Creek project is of great significance to HLS and the wider Habtoor Leighton Group. We are honoured to have been selected as DIRE’s MEP contractor of choice. We are looking forward to working closely with the Client, Consultants, the Main Contractor and our joint venture partners to deliver the project in a timely manner and to the highest standards of quality, safety, and sustainability.” “This new award signifies the trust shown to HLS by prominent clients over the years for the delivery of high-end hospitality projects. It complements our excellent portfolio of landmark developments and takes our
work-in-hand to over AED 3.6 billion (USD 1 billion), solidifying our position as one of the leading MEP players in the region.”
Once again this project underlines the success of HLS whilst again demonstrating the value of partnership on major projects.