Insight into jobs market for MEP professionals

04 April by


Sara Teymoor, Senior Recruitment Consultant for ALLEN & YORK Middle East, looks at the opportunities for MEP professionals - first published in Construction Week Online.

With the UAE keen to be seen as an innovator of sustainable technologies, high-calibre products entering the market and new geographic regions opening up for business, it will certainly ensure the Middle East maintains its development opportunities.

With a slowdown in the award of new projects and subsequent design work, we now seem to be in a commissioning, fit-out, site supervision phase – and this will be good news for MEP professionals with applied experience. We are also seeing an increased focus upon sustainable asset management and facility management services once buildings go into operation.

Commissioning has become integral to maintain quality, safety and sustainability standards, with developers increasingly understanding the value this adds to their assets. Thorough continuous testing of a building’s HVAC, lighting, fire protection and electricity to ensure its optimal performance can yield significant energy savings, improved safety standards and increased end user satisfaction.

With buildings accounting for almost 40% of global energy consumption, many countries have successfully launched ESCO - Energy Performance Contracting and Building Rating Certification Schemes - to incentivise a reduction of their existing energy footprint. The Etihad ESCO initiative has created an energy performance contracting market in Dubai in line with the UAE government’s mandate in achieving energy reductions of 20% by 2020. To meet this target there will be a need to retrofit circa 100,000 existing buildings constructed before the use of current green building codes and international best practice guidelines proposed by ASHRAE or CIBSE.

Research has shown most BMS systems are wasting 15-50% energy. The best system starts with a trained and involved building operations team. This is why FM companies such as Farnek Avireal, Aldar and ENOVA expect their asset managers to understand Estidama and LEED requirements. With the UAE and Saudi Arabia leading the way with a gradual reduction of subsidies for utilities, we see an increased business case for building owners to look to improve the performance of their buildings.

In the Middle East, efficient HVAC systems from design to installation and maintenance also play a big role in energy efficiency and hence the HVAC sector is a key employer in the region of MEP professionals. With global revenue for energy-efficient HVAC systems expected to increase from $22.8bn in 2015 to $47.5bn by 2024, the HVAC sector should guarantee strong career prospects.

For MEP engineers focussed upon the infrastructure sector, the uptake of smart metering services has been recognised as a key tool in helping utilities and consumers monitor their electricity and water consumption by enabling access to real-time data. At the beginning of January Honeywell completed acquisition of smart metering firm, Elster, for the sum of $5.1bn, showing the push in the market for energy saving technologies.

Uptake of smart grids will also enable a market for renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy, allowing the UAE to achieve its 7% commitment to renewable energy. With a 12% growth rate since 2012 , the predicted value for this market in 2017 will reach $8.2bn.

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