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ICE opens Dubai office as Gulf states upturn gathers pace

The ICE has secured a licence to formally operate as a professional association in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The boost for the way the institution works in the UAE comes amid increasing talk of a recovery in its construction industry.

The ICE will act under the governance of Tecom, owner and funder of the Dubai Knowledge village where the ICE will be based.

ICE UAE country representative Mark Jamieson said the country did not have its own civil engineering professional body.

“Australia and Hong Kong, for example, have their own institutions with accords with the ICE, therefore ICE already has a position,” said Jamieson. However, there is no direct equivalent in the UAE, hence the need to import the ICE. The licence allows the ICE to employ staff members to help increase its engagement in the region.

Dubai in particular was hit hard by the global economic downturn. But now engineering companies believe a corner has been turned, with confidence returning and projects restarting. Construction consultancy Turner & Townsend has doubled its Dubai headcount in the past six months.

United Steel Industries last month named it as project manager for the construction of a steel rolling mill in Fujairah.

The project, which started in October 2006 before being put on hold in November 2008. It is due to start on site this month.

“Confidence is so much higher than last year.

“We are seeing buildings that stopped in 2008 re-started,” said Turner & Townsend UAE project management director Joanne Stephens.

“Developers are thinking a lot more seriously about how they build - rather than starting
six buildings they are doing one at a time.”

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