He also says facilities managers, who have years of experience, come up with savings models for each client — right from energy efficiencies to routine activities. He says: “There are secrets in this industry where you can find ways to save money for the client.”

MAB’s success — like most FM companies — has been down to the commitment of its staff. Saddeq’s philosophy of “building expertise of disciplines in-house rather than outsourcing them” is followed until this day.

“The vision when I started the company was to hire directly and not sub-contract jobs because the concept I built the company on was to have direct connections with the staff — to impart training and grow a corporate culture among them. We only sub-contract a few specialised disciplines such as elevators and escalators. Other than that I believe in having our own staff and offering them good accommodation and focusing on employee welfare,” he states.

Work standards and benchmarks are also taken quite seriously, and Saddeq says MAB was one of the first FM companies to acquire BICSc standards. MAB FM has also acquired ISO certifications — ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001 and ISO 50001. “We take these ISO certifications seriously and they are part of our corporate culture, and not merely a tick box exercise,” he says.

To meet staffing requirement MAB works closely with recruitment agencies based in Asia and Africa, who train new recruits under MAB’s supervision. However, a new training centre is in the offing (see box out on p21) that will assist MAB’s staff that work in different sectors.

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) is mulling a first-of-its-kind rating system for FM companies. In the November edition of fmME, Concordia’s Sanjay Bhatia welcomed the authority’s decision. And Saddeq resonates the sentiment as the rating system will translate to more transparency.

“The rating system [from RERA] will help a lot and it will also help developers and clients because it will make the tendering process a lot simpler. For instance, developers need not waste time and invite a plethora of FM companies to a critical asset. They will be able to bring a select few five-star FM companies to the table. It will also allow FM companies to compete on a level playing field,” Saddeq notes.

Building on the company’s success, MAB is building standalone businesses for its support services – landscaping, pest control, firefighting systems, and security systems. “These companies will need some time to mature, over the next five years to 10 years… When it comes to FM, it’s a still a relatively new field and the UAE is setting the benchmark with regards to quality, level of service and maturity of the sector.”

Financial institutions are willing to lend their hand to the cause and are relatively supportive of the sector. Saddeq says UAE banks have always been willing to support: “They understood the importance of the sector early on, and that is extremely important for the growth of FM.”