AN EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH DR. ABDULSSAMIE HAIMONI DEPUTY DIRECTOR RAIL PROJECTS CONSTRUCTION DEPARTMENT ROADS AND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY (RTA), UAE FOR 13 - 16 MARCH, 2011, BEACH ROTANA, ABU DHABI, UAE CONDUCTED BYAll opinions and statements in this interview are of the interviewee themselves and do not reflect the opinion(s) of IQPC and/ or its personnel.
IQPC: There is a lot of buzz in the industry regarding the infrastructureprojects currently in place in the Middle East, and particularly with thetunneling projects in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.In your experience, what are the immediate short term effects theseprojects can have on the said economies?Dr. Haimoni: The world has seen a major slow down following the financial crisisof 2008. The Middle East did not escape the effects and many investors werehesitant to start new projects which generally lead to a slow down in theconstruction market and a reduction in prices.Tunneling works which are generally carried out within large infrastructureprojects and attract large amounts of publicity are useful tools to generateconfidence and kick start the economical cycle. There is also the added benefit ofprices being cheaper.IQPC: What is the biggest challenge facing tunneling projects in theMiddle East?Dr. Haimoni: Tunneling works are relatively new in the Middle East. Therefore, itis usually unlikely to find experienced work force locally. Importing the experiencefrom abroad has its own difficulties and challenges and is not always possibleparticularly when large amount of similar work is taking place elsewhere. Inaddition, imported work forces often lack the local knowledge needed for thesekind of specialized works.Moreover, many decision makers often shy away from works which do not havean established track record in the locality. This places further burden on thedesigners and suppliers to inform and educate the concerned local individualsand decision makers.IQPC: Many of these on-going projects are in established communities andlocalities in the larger cities. How can disruption to these communities beminimized?Dr. Haimoni: Tunneling is a useful technique to reduce disruption in cities andcongested areas. However, some activities still need to take place over groundand these have to be planned well to minimize disruption. The effects of theworks should be studied at early stage by proper investigations such asenvironmental studies, traffic impact studies and public consultations/awarenessprograms. The correct choice of the best tools and techniques is essential forreducing disruptions and to ensure success.All opinions and statements in this interview are of the interviewee themselves and do not reflect the opinion(s) of IQPC and/ or its personnel.
IQPC: The UAE is leading the way in terms of successful tunneling projects. What is the one piece of advice you can give other countries in the GCC who are actively tendering and executing new tunneling projects? Dr. Haimoni: Choose an experienced specifier, experienced constructer and experienced supervisor. Good experience is essential for success in tunneling. Do not allow short cuts. IQPC: What can attendees to the 2nd Annual Tunneling and Underground Construction Summit expect from your session? Please do give our audience a summary. Dr. Haimoni: Tunneling on Dubai Metro project has been a success on all counts. This was a result of good planning, choice of the right techniques, and close follow-up by the supervisory team. The team was formed from experienced representatives from the contractor, the consultant and the client. My presentation will focus on the experience gained and the methods used to avoid failure and ensure success. I will discuss the tunneling and grouting technique used and other techniques used to deal with water. I will also touch on the control and monitoring techniques used to ensure that all activities are closely monitored, analyzed and evaluated in real time to allow safe and smooth tunnel advancement. The effect of the tunneling works on the surrounding area will be presented and discussed.To learn more from Dr. Haimoni’s session and network with your peers while gainingknowledge and best practice in tunneling techniques in the middle east, register today for the 2nd Annual Tunnels & Underground Construction Middle East Summit by:Visiting www.tunnelconstructionme.com or by emailing us on email@example.com. You may also call on +971 4 364 2975 All opinions and statements in this interview are of the interviewee themselves and do not reflect the opinion(s) of IQPC and/ or its personnel.