Opportunities are abundant for projects in the leisure and residential sectors, as well as for new build projects, said Cathy Christer, partner and head of MEP, Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ).

Christer told MEP Middle East that the wide range of projects coming up over the next year in the UAE and the wider region present significant opportunities to companies in the sector. 

In addition, she said that refurbishment is a growing sector as aging building stock needs to be updated. 

READ: Experts: Retrofitting a viable alternative to demolition for UAE

"Refurbishment projects present a particular technical challenge to MEP engineers and require an experienced skillset to be successfully completed," Christer said.

According to Christer, GAJ's focus will be on delivering energy-efficient buildings as their demand has increased over the last few years.

She said: "As energy prices increase, corporate sustainability initiatives to reduce energy consumption become centre stage.

"We also expect an increasing focus on smart buildings and the internet of things which will transform the way buildings are operated over the coming years."

Talking about the challenges, Christer said: "One of our major challenges is to maintain agility in responding to client and market requirements. 

"We expect that project delivery programmes and technical requirements may change quickly; we need to react quickly to this and ensure that we have access to the broad range of skills required to respond.

"We need to also consider whether the sector we are designing for is particularly sensitive to capital cost or if an uplift in capital cost would be accepted for a longer term payback. We need to respond to both scenarios, while ensuring we communicate well with the clients and deliver robust technical solutions."