With 8000+ employees working in over seven countries, and with more than 130 repeat clients, Group AMANA is renowned for its reliability, trustworthiness, and wide scope of expertise. As the region’s most trusted design-build company, delivering turnkey solutions for fast-track projects, repeatedly, it provides certainty by balancing cost, time, and quality. Saudi Projects spoke to Riad Bsaibes, President and CEO, AMANA Investments, and Karen Kassouf, Head of Marketing, Group AMANA, to find out more about this distinct and innovative company and its role in the growth of the ‘new’ Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Projects: Group AMANA has announced a new brand identity that showcases its capabilities. Tell me about this and how the Group has approached this change?
Karen Kassouf: Our new brand identity showcases our capabilities. Group AMANA is now organized into three verticals: Construct, Manufacture and Enhance, a transformation that reflects the Group’s offerings for an evolving business landscape and the drive to build cleaner, greener, and smarter.
AMANA’s revitalized brand identity is focused around a circle, reflecting strength and harmony, and speaks to its promise of delivering certainty. The new tagline, ‘We Build with You’ epitomizes its strengths in collaboration and intelligence.
“AMANA’s revitalized brand identity is focused around a circle, reflecting strength and harmony”
SP: The Group’s new tagline ‘We Build with You’ suggests increased collaboration, but what does this mean on a day-to-day basis for clients and partners?
KK: Group AMANA has a three-decade legacy of delivering certainty to our people, clients, and partners. Our new tagline, ‘We Build with You’ epitomizes our strengths in collaboration and intelligence. To give you one example – at AMANA, we champion intelligent solutions like Building Information Modelling (BIM) that improve efficiency and ensure time savings and cost reductions. BIM enables collaboration through cloud-based and network servers and enhances project coordination between teams and clients. BIM enabled us to design and integrate our key projects in Saudi Arabia for The Red Sea Development Company. Our project delivery team worked with engineers in different offices and countries to design and build in real-time as both design and construction progressed, enabling us to deliver the project in record time.
“Modular construction is becoming increasingly popular because the industry has recognized that it is a time-saving, no wastage, super safe, and clean process”
SP: Modular construction has a long history (in 1908, Sears Roebuck in the US began selling home kits that contained all the materials needed to build a home), but can you talk about the latest developments in the sector and why modular buildings are becoming an increasingly popular solution?
Riad Bsaibes: Modular construction is becoming increasingly popular because the industry has recognized that it is a time-saving, no wastage, super safe, and clean process that benefits all stakeholders – developers, contractors, and the environment. The turnaround time on the projects is shorter with modular construction and it prevents cost overruns by reducing material wastage and labor requirements by 30%. It also improves workplace safety and reduces environmental impact when compared to traditional on-site construction. The ability to upscale and downscale whenever you want is the key benefit and modular buildings can be constructed in 50-75% of the time of a conventional site-built project of comparable size. For example, DuBox, an AMANA company, has the expertise to design and deliver complete single or multi-story buildings in concrete using modular methodologies, according to client and site requirements. Entire buildings are manufactured off-site in the DuBox factory where the pre-finished modules are then shipped to job sites, where they are installed.
“Group AMANA works with clients across industries, including agricultural, automotive, aviation, food processing, institutional, manufacturing, medical, oil, power, water, and retail”
SP: How is modular construction a ‘green’ method?
RB: Modular techniques are more efficient, leaner, and result in less waste production, meaning that modular is the greener option. Up to 85% of the construction can be completed away from the site, in the factory. The building components are pre-assembled in the factory and shipped to the site to be installed. Unlike traditional construction that is done on-site, building components in modular construction are manufactured off-site, then delivered for assembly and installation. In modular construction, components are manufactured in a lean and efficient environment with lowered labor requirements. Off-site manufacturing required in modular construction also ensures consistent standards throughout the project, providing better value for end-users. Shortened build times provide owners with an earlier return on investment and a faster time to market.
“We have built a formidable reputation over three decades of operations in the region”
SP: Group AMANA is currently working on giga-projects such as The Red Sea Project – can you tell me about these, what your brief is and how things are progressing?
RB: The Red Sea Development Company awarded Saudi AMANA Contracting, an AMANA subsidiary, the contract to design and build a 150-room hotel at the project site. The management hotel is part of the Coastal Village initiative providing accommodation, office space, and supporting amenities to approximately 40,000 employees and staff who will work at the Red Sea Project pre and post-development.AMANA was selected as the contractor for this project with DuBox, an AMANA company, for its track record in delivering pre-finished modular units to a high standard of quality. Work is progressing smoothly – and we expect to deliver all units by the agreed timeline. Modular projects, including The Red Sea Development Company delivered by AMANA, have won prestigious industry awards and recognition, and are a testament to our work in the Kingdom.
SP: Aside from these big projects, Saudi Arabia has a huge shortage of housing – this is surely a huge opportunity for the Group?
RB: Group AMANA works with clients across industries, including agricultural, automotive, aviation, food processing, institutional, manufacturing, medical, oil, power, water, and retail. Since being founded in 1993, we have constructed more than 1,500 buildings in the region. We are now the regional leader in the design-build of industrial and commercial facilities. In Saudi Arabia, housing, hospitality, and entertainment mega projects have driven demand for construction. To meet this demand, we set up a 94,000m2 factory in Rabigh in 2019, and we will continue to invest in off-site construction methods that can reduce project timelines and boost cost-effectiveness for large-scale projects in KSA across housing and other segments.
SP: How has digitalization and evolving technology helped the Group to evolve?
RB: Digitalization is at the heart of what we do at AMANA. To fulfill this, we have embarked on an ambitious brand transformation across the construction value chain. We continue to invest in state-of-the-art construction technology across our verticals: Construct, Manufacture, and Enhance.
Leveraging technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) in a manufacturing environment, smart machinery, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and robots, we are transforming building design and construction from concept to completion. Technologies such as AI, big data, and analytics are helping to make the construction sector more reliable, efficient, and sustainable. There have been advancements even in areas beyond the field and factory operations. For instance, the ERP software used by AMANA enables real-time reporting that covers all areas such as procurement, HR, and business and development.
SP: The Group is an industry leader in solar power, too – what are you working on currently in this sector?
RB: Group AMANA is supporting the region’s sustainability agenda and helping businesses achieve their green ambitions through its vertical Enhance with its brands AMANA Solar and AMANA Energy-Saving. The UAE has set a 2050 target to achieve net zero emissions, followed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in 2060. These sustainability ambitions are well aligned with national initiatives across the GCC that are driving the renewables agenda, such as the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 and Vision 2021 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
AMANA has helped clients produce more than 80,000,000 kWh of clean solar energy, enough to power 3,239 homes for one year, saving AED 18.25 million on energy costs and preserving 200,000 trees since 2018. With almost 500,000m2 of industrial buildings and associated rooftops constructed yearly, AMANA is a pioneer in building rooftop solar power plants.
AMANA was one of the first contractors approved by DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) to provide installation and maintenance services for solar energy systems in early 2015. This classification coupled with AMANA personnel certified by DEWA as ‘solar PV experts’ makes AMANA the go-to contractor of choice for designing, installing, and maintaining roof-mounted solar power plants.
SP: What are you most excited about at present and why?
KK: We are most excited about what the future holds for Group AMANA. We have built a formidable reputation over three decades of operations in the region, with our commitment to sustainability, innovation, and digitalization. Our brand transformation reflects our re-aligned business strategies for the future and our collaborative approach to realizing successful projects. AMANA is poised to seize the opportunities of the future and partner with the GCC region in its economic growth.
As the region is pivoting towards a decarbonized future, we foresee AMANA’s expertise in manufacturing, construction, and sustainable technologies playing a key role in the striving for a circular economy. Innovation, the adoption of new technologies, and a shift toward sustainable practices will put us on the fast-track to growth.
SP: In 20 words or less, can you answer the question, “Why work with AMANA?”
KK: Being an AMANAian is the opportunity to be part of an agile, evolving, diverse and innovative disruptor in construction.