Q. What can you tell us about the project?
A. Mark Lewis: It’s a G+7 mix of cast in situ and pre-cast staff accommodation with over 2,000 rooms. It will be the eventual home of nearly 10,000 colleagues when the property completes in Q1-2020. Once operational, the building will have a BUA of 75,000 m2. The contractor has been on site for the last 8 months and is making great progress on the project. At the time of this writing, the programme is already 4 weeks ahead of schedule. The accommodation will provide a community feel with amenities and welfare facilities for our colleagues.
A clinic, barbershop, ATMs and other recreation facilities will all be provided. This is the first purpose-built accommodation that Transguard has embarked upon and is an exciting time for the growth of the business and our strategic plan to exit leased accommodation into owned.
Q. What’s different about the new build compared to other accommodations in the area?
A. Mark Lewis: The collaborative approach by the entire business has taken on board the lessons learned from many leased accommodations in the Emirate. As owner and operator, we’ve been able to “build to suit” our own requirements and not accept the sub-standard design of other accommodations currently on the market. The building meets the latest Green Building UAE Compliance standards and offers several initiatives that will assist with the reduction in our carbon footprint. It will also ensure compliance with our environmental policy and assist us to better manage our utility running costs. The building will have solar water heating capable of producing up to 150,000 litres of hot water a day; a grey water re-cycling plant and LED lighting throughout the scheme.
Q. How involved have you been with the design of the accommodation?
A. Mark Lewis: I brought many years of experience in fit-out projects, as well as technical services know-how, when I joined Transguard in 2017, both of which have benefited the look and feel of the new build. I was also able to quickly grasp the needs of our colleagues to ensure we provided the right facilities.
Q. What other projects are you actively involved with at Transguard?
A. Mark Lewis: Specifically in terms of accommodations, we shall be commencing a further two new builds in the next few months, both of which are also in Jebel Ali. We’ve also recently acquired properties in Muhaisnah that are currently under refurbishment to ensure they too meet the needs of our colleagues. This again aligns to our strategic plans and improves shareholder returns. Other projects include many ICT and infrastructure projects across several business units.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about the projects you manage at Transguard?
A. Mark Lewis: The projects are varied and are full of surprises. I have a talented team working with me who specialise in either build or technology projects. Our projects are challenging and the business supports the capital investment required to keep ahead of a competitive market.
Mark Lewis, Director of Capital Projects – Transguard Group