1. Kez Taylor, ALEC
Taking the top spot in the Construction Week Power 100 for the second year in a row is Kez Taylor, chief executive officer of ALEC Engineering and Contracting. In the 17 years that he has held the role, Taylor has led ALEC’s work on some of the Gulf’s most high-profile projects, especially in its home market, the UAE.
With its focus firmly on commercial, hospitality, retail, and exhibition projects, the firm saw revenue of more than $1bn (AED3.7bn) in the last financial year and expects income of $1.1bn (AED4bn) for 2018–19, with a backlog worth over $2.72bn (AED10bn).
In the past year, Taylor’s team has worked as principal contractor on some of Dubai’s most high-profile projects, including the Bluewaters Island retail district; the Bulgari Resort, Dubai; Holiday Inn, Dubai Festival City; the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport; and Marina Gate I Residences. ALEC’s pipeline of ongoing developments, meanwhile, includes Emaar’s Dubai Hills Mall, One Za’abeel, and the Deira Waterfront Office & Hotel at Ithra Dubai.
This is in addition to the Conference & Exhibition Centre Campus and Emaar’s Mobility Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.
The growth of the contractor’s workforce demonstrates its success in the UAE market. ALEC currently employs 252 full-time qualified engineers, 2,656 unskilled labourers, and a total of 205 women.
Taylor cites the upcoming expo as the single biggest opportunity for ALEC during the next 12 months: “With Expo 2020 drawing closer and developers wanting to ensure they are ready to capitalise on the increased number of visitors to the city, there is going to be massive demand and pressure on contractors to deliver,” he says. “This is going to affect the actual exhibition facility as well as myriad associated developments, such as hospitality and commercial spaces.
“Contractors that are geared up to meet this demand will be well placed to participate in a meaningful way and play a major role in helping the city deliver this iconic event.”
Taylor goes on to say that payment delays are a major challenge that the industry must seek to manage in the year to come: “For a long time, clients involved in construction projects have not met their obligations with regards to payments, and have done so without consequence.
“This has brought tremendous pressure to the whole supply chain, which [...] as a result is not able to perform like it used to. As an industry, we need to find a way to ensure that cash is available for construction projects and is released on time – and fairly – to allow all stakeholders to perform.”