FM can be a core driver of value in the wider UAE economy

Facilities Management can be a core driver of value in the wider UAE economy.

The facilities management function of commercial real estate industry is undergoing a sea-change. It’s evolution from a passive cost centre to unlocking unprecedented value from existing assets and unused data, is currently the proverbial toast of the town. In a world seeking to reconcile economic growth with sustainability, and a business climate coming to grips with far more discerning customer behaviour, facilities management has emerged as the silver bullet solution that can address all of these concerns and more.

Modern and agile FM is intrinsically linked to the vision of a prosperous and future-ready UAE

In the context of the UAE, the positive economic impetus, which the FM function now has the potential to unleash, has even greater significance than in many other markets. Real estate has long been recognized as having a significant impact on the nation’s economy. Exceptional quality has been the calling card of the sector in the UAE, with luxury real estate sales making up a significant chunk of international investments. As modern and technology enabled FM reframes what is possible, its adoption will play a huge part in ensuring the UAE real estate market continues to be identified with the highest global standards in quality.

With Expo 2020 on the horizon and the hospitality and F&B sector already contributing more than 5% to national GDP, providing next-level customer experiences is also linked to the adoption of proactive management and predictive maintenance of facilities. In addition, for the UAE to prosper economically, while also addressing its ambitious sustainability goals, embracing state of the art FM will be non-negotiable.

A growth in numbers that can be enhanced by an evolution in services and performance

After a relative lull over the last few years, the UAE real estate market has started to bounce back noticeably. The Dubai Land Department recorded the highest number of real estate transactions in a single month since 2008, in October 2019. November the 24th set the record for a single day, over the same 11 years. A robust upswing over two consecutive months indicates that the market has probably bottomed out and a new period of expansion is steadily taking root.

Knight Frank’s ‘UAE Market Review and Forecast 2019’ report estimates that 24,300 apartments, 8,500 villas and 3.6 million sq. ft. of office space will have been added to the Dubai property market in  2019, as well as an additional 3.7 million sq. mts. of retail space by 2024. The report also expects 165,000 sq. mts. of commercial real estate and 650,000 sq. mts of retail space to be added in Abu Dhabi, by 2020. The new model of empowered and value generating FM will play a crucial role in ensuring that this impressive additional volume can be leveraged to its maximum potential, in service of the UAE economy.

Why the UAE is one of the best positioned markets, for the adoption of FM as a key enabler

To their credit, the UAE government and real estate regulatory bodies have recognized this potential and have taken several measures to leverage the upcoming period of growth, expected by market watchers. From the Mollak system and new JOP laws, to the roadmap for the development of Smart Cities and adoption of Blockchain technology, the transformative power of technology is being paired with innovative reforms, to bring an ambitious vision to life. An evolution in FM is the logical next step, for this gathering momentum to deliver optimal results.

The buzz around FM, in global markets, real estate conferences and strategic recommendations, is palpable. Along with Proptech, the facilities management function is currently the topic of some of the most energizing conversations in the industry. The commercial real estate industry in the UAE is well positioned to be a global leader in driving the adoption of next generation facilities management. The convergence of available capital, political will, a dynamic real estate industry, and a business culture that is open to disruptive technologies, is a potent combination. As a market that has always taken pride in reaching for the unprecedented, the UAE real estate community can set the template for the widespread deployment of responsive, data-driven and tech-enabled FM.

FM is the key to turning this gathering momentum into real world enhancements

Whether it’s leaner and more agile operational models for real estate businesses, state of the art comforts and conveniences for occupants, significant improvement in the sustainability profile of buildings, or a hospitality and tourism sector that attracts visitors from every corner of the globe, facilities management holds the key to transforming and upgrading each of these outcomes.

No longer restricted in scope to operations with limited strategic impact, FM is now centre stage and staking new avenues for growth while consolidating existing ones. With the UAE property markets steadily gathering impetus for their next phase of growth, the influence of this new and more central role for FM will extend far beyond the real estate industry, to infusing the wider UAE economy with greater energy and dynamism.