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Omnium International’s directors’ interview discusses continued growth & diversity in 2021

2nd August 2021

Chairman Peter Westeng, together with Managing Director Nick Harris, Board Director Kieran Duckworth and Branch Director Fernando Freitas, featured in Middle East Consultant’s issue 79 in a wide-ranging interview with Jason Saundalkar discussing the pandemic, our continued business growth and diversity, and entering new markets whilst retaining our business’s ethos and values.

Managing the pandemic

Nick Harris spoke about the approach Omnium took when adapting to the pandemic and the challenges faced both regionally and globally over the last 18 months.

“Our focus was primarily to safeguard our staff – that was a fundamental responsibility.”

Understanding the importance of teamwork in a business such as ours, Nick discussed how Omnium took on more office space in our headquarters building to ensure we could bring people back into the office safely and without compromise on our project delivery.

“As a people-centric organisation, we realised early on the impact, from a mental health perspective, of having people working for extended periods of time in isolation…Investing in taking more office space, bringing people back, getting our sense of organisation right was a very important thing to us and central to who we are as a company.”

Values-led experience in business management

Chairman Peter Westeng has worked in the UAE for over 26 years, and has steered Omnium throughout that time with a values-led approach which has enabled our business to establish lasting relationships and partnerships.

“I have my 3Rs rule: reputation, relationships and doing the right thing…We try our absolute best to ensure that our clients are happy with what we do and that our reputation stays high.”

Fernando Freitas also commented on the strength of our internal systems, and how these have ensured continuity in our project management:

“Our established processes made a big difference. Our team has the support system and framework in place to cope with any scenario…We are confident that we continue to deliver the same quality and quantity of work to our clients, and they feel the same.”

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Delivering complex projects

Fernando commented in particular on our complex project delivery, including One Za’abeel for Ithra Dubai for which Fernando is our Project Director having worked on the site since 2016.

The Link, the world’s longest cantilevered building, presented technically challenging logistics for Omnium and our client’s contractors but, by keeping everyone aligned, we’re able to deliver solutions to a client which can make a building more efficient.

Expanding our business to new markets & services

In the last 18 months, Omnium has launched Omnium Resolve, our dispute resolution and claims management division. Nick comments:

“We made the decision to invest in ourselves and now have a team of forensic delay analysts onboard… [Omnium Resolve] has grown significantly which is excellent. We’re trying to be sensible about making sure we have the best skills and services within the personnel.”

Referencing Omnium’s FUTURE programme, which develops internal talent for the business, Kieran adds that Omnium will be well-positioned to retain people and their vast knowledge both within the Omnium Resolve team and across Cost Consultancy services.

In terms of geography, Omnium has benefited from much more development in Abu Dhabi during early 2021, and the business is now expanding into projects in Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain, as well as enjoying growth in Saudi Arabia through our Director-led teams in Riyadh and Jeddah and supported by strategic partnerships to ensure the fullest service delivery possible.

In Europe, as well as recent project delivering in Azerbaijan, we opened our London office in early 2020 and the team there is growing to offer our core Cost Consultancy and Quantity Surveying services, together with property management services which reflect our client base’s needs in London.

Peter rounds off the interview:

“Dubai is always evolving… Projects where the client, the consultants, and contractors all work together, they are the successful ones.”

Omnium is proud of our talent, our projects and our client base, and our unique approach to all three. We’re looking forward to bringing our expertise to new markets in the coming years.

The full issue, and Omnium’s feature interview, can be found here.

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