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Expert says Middle East clients still wary of retrofits

Expert says Middle East clients still wary of retrofits

More Middle Eastern clients opt to rebuild a property than to retrofit, according to Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director at Plafond Fitout.

Papakonstantinou added that the belief that a new property is better than a retrofitted one is a prominent theme in the Middle East.
He explained: “In Europe, or in the States, you see more retrofitting [programmes planned for] buildings, and in fact, it’s even more desirable to have a classic 1920s building that has a history behind it.

“However, here in the Middle East, and possibly also due to the aggressiveness of the environment, it [is often preferred] to knock things down rather than refurbish it.”

He added: “But there’s a likelihood that, going forward, legislation, incentivisation by the government, and education within the general public will help [change this trend].

“It also has to make financial sense for the developer – all these factors have to sort of converge and come together. Because at the moment, going green is expensive.”

Papakonstantinou expressed his views in a retrofit roundtable organised by MEP Middle East, which was was attended by Bruno Pessoa, director of technical services, Minor Hotels, Middle East and Africa; Martin Mueller, regional director of engineering, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Alex Yoo, director of design & project management, Marriott International; Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director, Plafond Fitout; Stuart McGregor, GM, Trans Gulf Electromechanical; Ramy Boufarhat, COO, James L Williams Middle East; Azzam Messaykeh, CEO, Faisal Jassim Group; Raffi Kazazian, energy solutions director of Taqeef; Ian Fail-Brown, CEO, SESC Group; and Anil Mangalat, design director/partner, MMAC Design Associates.