Big 5 opens: Mega projects and market recovery entices industry

Updated 25 November 2013
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Big 5 opens: Mega projects and market recovery entices industry

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, officially inaugurated The Big 5, Middle East Concrete and PMV Live 2013 at the Dubai World Trade Center.
With a history of more than 33 years in the region, the event has grown 10 percent this year, and brings together more than 2,500 exhibitors from 65 countries with an anticipated 60,000 construction industry professionals on site over the course of four days.
Professionals from the construction industry gather together to showcase and source new, innovative and sustainable products, see the latest trends, get an update on regulations impacting design and build, and identify new markets and business opportunities.
Opening alongside The Big 5 will be Middle East Concrete, the largest event for the concrete industry showcasing innovative concrete products, technical seminars and live product demonstrations, as well as PMV Live, an interactive event for the plant, machinery and vehicle industry highlighting the latest heavy vehicles and related equipment throughout the four day event.
Andy White, group event director for The Big 5 2013, said the event continues to grow with each edition and is still considered the region’s most important event for the building and construction industry.
“This year The Big 5 is once again giving architects, interior designers, contractors, developers and all other construction professionals, access to the full spectrum of products. Our educational program has also expanded this year giving our visitors access to hundreds of free seminars, workshops and regulatory updates,” he was quoted as saying in a press release received here.
As part of The Big 5, international and regional experts will be addressing industry issues such as sustainability and low energy emitting materials, project management in construction, building interior trends, façade design, fire safety and managing aging structural asset portfolios at over 100 free to attend seminars running throughout the event. Best in class studies will be presented during the Sustainable Design & Construction Conference including the LEED Platinum rated DEWA building and the futuristic White Sky iHouse.
Dubai Municipality will also be presenting on the update to its Green Building Codes, due to go live from January 1, at a free to attend seminar on the 25 November.
This year’s event also includes a new arena specifically dedicated to building interiors, bringing together a wide range of products and services catering to this sector of the industry.
The new arena provides a selective platform for this increasingly influential market segment, currently worth around $10 million within the GCC.
In addition to the new arena, the exhibition will be further broken down into product specific sectors, including HVAC, Coatings, Adhesives & Sealants, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Windows & Doors, Steel, Marble, Slate & Ceramics, Water Technology and General Construction. The show ends on Thursday.


Saudi Arabia’s pensions rank alongside US And Hong Kong

Updated 9 min ago
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Saudi Arabia’s pensions rank alongside US And Hong Kong

  • Ageing population will create pressures on system
  • Government introducing reforms in pension sector

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s pension system has been given a similar rating to those granted to the US and Hong Kong, according to the results of a global pension index.
It is the first time the country has been included in the index compiled by the US consultancy firm Mercer.
The inclusion will likely be welcomed by those in the Kingdom pushing through reforms to Saudi Arabia’s pension provisions.
In March, the government launched the PPA (Public Pension Agency) Strategy 2022 which set out government plans to ramp up the Kingdom’s capabilities in risk management, investing and asset distribution. It also aimed to improve both training for its staff and the way services are provided to the country’s pensioners.
The Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index ranks 34 countries against a series of criteria, such as the sustainability of pension systems. It has been published every year for the last decade.
Saudi Arabia’s pension scheme ranked highly in the index due to high net household saving rates, significant investments in growth assets and the provision of regular monthly income to pensioners rather than lump-sums, the survey found.
However the country’s ageing population and the impact of lower oil prices on government finances is likely to increase pressure on pensions in the future, the survey said.
The index called for the Kingdom to improve the minimum level of support for the poorest people in Saudi Arabia as well as to increase the proportion of older people remaining in the workforce.
Encouraging people to keep working will counter the impact of the increasing life expectancy on government finances, the consultancy said.

“The changing dynamics of the region, lower oil prices, rapidly growing and ageing population will pose challenges to the country’s fiscal and macroeconomic stability, thereby impacting the pension systems,” said Mazen Abukhater, head of retirement, Mercer, Middle East.
“The government is taking practical measures towards reforming the pension schemes, enhancing investments and diversifying to raise the revenues within an effective and flexible framework of risk management and transparency. This will make future pension systems more sustainable over the longer term,” he said.
Countries that ranked highly this year included those in Scandinavia, with Denmark scoring an overall mark of 80.2 out of 100. At the other end of the scale, Argentina scored just 39.2 out of 100.