Round Table 2

Round Table 2

Earlier this month, Future Cities ME sat down with industry leaders to discuss the role of multinationals in the GCC construction market.

During the discussion we examined areas where collaboration can be increased and global knowledge and experience shared within a local context.

As expected, the interchange gave rise to the key themes of inspiring developers and local governments to build sustainably, but interestingly, also how multinationals need to recognize and understand local requirements better and not be focused only global trends in order to create local projects successfully.

Architects, engineers and suppliers must therefore compile an incredible amount of data and knowledge to come up with solutions that optimize the given task functionally, technical and aesthetically – all at the same time. This can at times be overwhelming and it can often be difficult to explain new ways of doing things to developers and also to the authorities.
The architect Calatrava explains that he spends half his time on projects explaining how his sophisticated structures meet regulations when submitting them to the authorities.
In this situation it is easy for us in the construction industry to say that we must EDUCATE developers and authorities to make them understand what and why we are doing what we do. Using the word EDUCATE is however both condescending and unnecessary, and creates an ‘us and them’ situation that is not very positive and conducive. In a recent debate among architects, engineers and suppliers I suggested to use the word INSPIRE instead. Not because of being humble – something that is not very popular these days – but because the truth is that no one – not even specialists – can be sure to be totally updated. The most compelling reason is that new knowledge can come from anywhere. From developers that are engaged in the construction process and sometimes, from people that have absolutely nothing to do with the construction industry?
Cross-information between very different industries is probably the most interesting and effective way to move forward and develop new solutions. It is often said that music and architecture have a lot in common, that the rhythmical sequence of music resembles the way one moves through buildings: compressed space, open space and compressed again, as an example.

But we could probably learn from looking into other industries such as the shipping industry where every part in a super tanker is numbered and assembled in a logical sequence in only six months or 1/3 of the time used to construct a typical high-rise building after completing the foundation. I could imagine that we could learn from the metallurgical industry and medical science if we started to look for ideas. Inspiration is the best way to spread knowledge and to learn in return, not being humble but curious.
The discussion had been a part of the Knauf program for building better communication in the industry.