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Realising potential


Apleona HSG Facility Management UAE has the capability to provide tailor made integrated FM solutions for all sectors in the UAE. Giving insight into the market are Ramez Hammamy (CEO) and Ihab Assi (Country Director)


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April 18, 2018
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Realising potential


Apleona HSG Facility Management  UAE  has the capability to provide tailor made integrated FM solutions for all sectors in the UAE. Giving insight into the market are Ramez Hammamy (CEO) and Ihab Assi (Country Director)  

Regional presence and key projects

The UAE is a unique market with a lot of iconic projects and the facilities management (FM) industry in the country is developing fast with many local and multi-national companies delivering high-end services. Apleona, a company that has distinguished itself as a world-class integrated FM service provider, has been growing at a rapid pace and winning significant projects across the emirates.

The company has a strong presence in the Middle East, mostly with its own operations and through partners in some countries as well, says Ramez Hammamy, CEO, Apleona HSG Facility Management UAE. “The core market of the Middle East is the UAE where we are delivering a wide range of turn-key solutions including lead consultancy, construction management in addition to integrated facility management services (IFM) across several sectors. For instance some of our projects include integrated facility management of 100+ buildings belonging to the biggest port in the Middle East; the branches based all over the UAE of a prominent bank, as well as commercial and residential towers and several buildings of international bluechip customers.”

Ihab Assi, Country Director, Apleona HSG Facility Management, says Apleona has positioned itself in the UAE as a high-end FM solution provider “delivering services at international standards and based on modern practice, yet with careful consideration regarding the market’s business requirements and culture, both operationally and commercially.” Although the general trend these days is towards cost reduction, through operational efficiencies and energy saving, they have been successful in achieving their intended positioning by finding the balance between value and cost without compromising on quality, he adds.

In Abu Dhabi, one of their main projects is a district cooling plant providing chilled water to a prominent project consisting of four residential towers, located in the heart of the capital, says Assi. “Our FM team provides comprehensive services at the towers, while our specialised engineering team plays a key role in the operational efficiency of the plant, reflecting consumption reduction and direct profitability to the client.”

The company has been able to get major projects in the country, especially in Sharjah where Apleona has a Joint Venture with the Government to provide IFM services at many of their properties, says Assi, adding that they have been recently awarded a major Security Guards contract as part of the JV, where they mobilised around 500 staff across 100+ sites.

Strategy for sustainable growth

UAE is a demanding and fast growing market that requires suitable and tailor-made solutions for every single situation, says Hammamy. “A requirement that can be fulfilled via our knowhow, and a solid multicultural and international background based on decades of experience. Integrated facility management is not only about outsourcing of services, but also about contributing with added value and savings for the customer as part of our core competencies. This is why we have chosen the motto “Realising potential” to represent our company’s mission.”

Based on this, they offer their customers a wide range of expertise without compromising on quality “as Apleona’s growth must be sustainable and focused on quality for our customers as well as the company,” the CEO notes.

“Having stable, solid, strong and well placed partners in a market like the UAE will help us in achieving a healthy and stable growth,” adds Assi. And one of their strategies is to target niche segments and specialised services within the UAE FM sector, focusing especially on those that have not been tapped into yet, such as security systems, firefighting and so on, he says.

“There are tough legislations, for instance, in the firefighting sector, yet many projects are not compliant, thus causing a huge demand. Based on our partnerships and capabilities achieved through our experience in Germany and Europe, we have the best scenario to step into such an activity and stand out in the market,” Assi comments.

Overall performance

Success is not defined by the financial aspect alone, but also by business sustainability and various operational aspects, right from the workforce to financials to market stability, legislations, IT, etc. “Our main goal is to be recognised as a reliable and innovative FM Partner with high level of quality, based on long term expertise. We are happy that we achieved this goal and that the market has perceived us as such,” says Hammamy.

In order to adapt to the market with regard to projects and business environment, Apleona has localised its procedures and strategy without losing its German identity, adds Hammamy. “These standards in processes and techniques allow us to react fast. Due to an increase in the number of projects obtained, the company has grown exponentially in terms of workforce, implementing expertise in all areas that have become one of the company’s assets.” Furthermore, he says employee welfare is a top priority for them and their employees are offered one the best in terms of workforce care. “When it comes to the company’s development, Apleona strives to maintain the balance between performance, revenues and expansion, favouring solid and sustainable growth rather than fast but risky development,” he emphasises.

Role of technology

The UAE is a preferred market for every manufacturer of smart devices, etc. and a lot of modern tools and applications are available, but overall the market is not yet ready for such innovations as they add to the costs, opines Assi, adding that they have incorporated certain technologies where feasible.

On the other hand, there are concepts like energy saving where one could include smart technologies and save on costs. The UAE places great emphasis on environmental protection and in Assi’s view, “Apleona has a huge responsibility as an FM company to comply with the environmental requirements” not only with necessary certifications, but also by being truly sustainable in operations and influencing client behaviour.

Strategising for growth at the international level

“The overall strategy is unique: stand for your excellent standards and quality, and grow in a sustainable manner. FM shall not be a commodity but business leverage for our customers,” says Hammamy. This philosophy brought the company long term customers, also because the clients were confident of Apleona’s ability to follow them globally and provide them the expertise within their processes along with the company’s standards, he explains. “This requires a constant growth in expertise within customers’ specific processes, which allows us to add value in many processes such as production, data centres, as well as in areas such as hospitals, schools, banks, airports, stadiums, etc.” Offering 360° services and knowhow around the building with proven expertise allows Apleona “to be at least one step ahead and be able to follow their customers wherever they decide to be,” Hammamy remarks.

Global trends and outlook

The market perceives to a greater extent that “FM is not only about maintaining premises but a concept where companies will benefit  across many areas of operation including sales, marketing, HR etc., besides the mentioned economic benefits, by partnering with an expert,” says the CEO, adding that international customers have understood this aspect and are bundling their requests globally.

In Hammamy’s view, more services will be incorporated into the scope of FM in 2018 and the industry will seek to introduce new technologies, including digitalisation. Further, he says higher standards will be expected in terms of reaction, safety, stability and technology. And customers will increasingly seek better quality as well as cost savings. “Niche segments will play a major role within customers’ organisations with increased emphasis being placed on security systems and fire protection as well as the implementation of smart systems,” he concludes.


Chiller optimisation and energy-efficiency

By Abid Ali, Operations Director, Apleona

About the District Cooling Plant

This plant feeds the apartments and public areas in a residential development in Abu Dhabi. The required capacity of the development is as follows:

The District Cooling Plant is designed for full capacity, including redundancy @ 4,000RT to supply chilled water supply at 4.7°C to each of the Plate Heat Exchangers, and a return water temperature of 13.6°C. The temperature difference is 89°C. The return water temperature from the secondary side should not be less than 13.3°C or more than 15.6°C.

The plant is designed as a primary variable system with four chillers in parallel with four variable speed chilled water pumps, four constant speed condensing water pumps and four variable speed cooling tower fans. The plate heat exchanger is designed with 25% spare capacity. Should one of the Plate Heat Exchangers be down for maintenance, the remaining Plate Heat Exchangers can provide a minimum of 60% cooling to the respective Tower.


• Most typical problems are related to building comfort, available capacity and energy consumption.
• Low delta T (high chilled water flow per ton) and energy issues for the district energy utility.
• Chiller high condenser approach temperature and high energy consumption.
• Chiller compressor motor heat exchanger high temperature and high energy consumption.
• Apleona HSG Facility Management was engaged to help broadly resolve outstanding problems.

Specific Objectives

• Most energy efficient based on year-round operational
• Most design point energy efficient
• Cost effective
• Smallest footprint
• High reliability
• Maintainability
• Annual operating efficiency of 0 to 10% lower than design
• Aesthetics

Chilled Water Supply Temperature Control

Chillers were controlled to supply constant temperature water to the building regardless of cooling load. However, considering modern chillers can vary the Chilled Water Supply Temperature as the cooling load decreases by allowing the water temperature to float up during low cooling load periods, savings of about one percent per degree temperature rise are typical. In other words, raising Chilled Water Supply Temperature by an average of 5°F saved about 5 percent in chiller energy.

Chiller Maintenance

Our team was trained to be attentive to set-point calibration, proper water treatment and periodic tube cleaning to improve heat exchanger efficiency.

Condenser Water Temperature Set-Point Control

This approach was applied to systems such as those using cooling towers, where the Condenser Water Temperature can be varied. Typical cooling tower control schemes were allowed to maintain a constant Condenser Water Temperature (usually at 85°F) by varying the flow rate of air. As the outdoor wet-bulb temperature decreases, the Condenser Water Temperature can be decreased. The result is less work for the compressor and savings of about 0.5 percent for each 1°F decrease in Condenser Water Temperature.

Chiller Sequencing

Conventional chillers exhibit a decrease in efficiency when operated at reduced loads. Chiller sequencing in multi-chiller systems ensures that the most efficient combination of chillers is operating to ensure that the system is operating at or near maximum efficiency. Often chiller control systems already have the capability to handle this function.

Cost & Plant Footprint Optimisation - Key Strategies

• Industrial Control: If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it.
• Industrial control based on PLC and SCADA that communicate directly with electric equipment switchgear and BTU meters can communicate Industrial communication protocols that generate automated online, hourly, daily, weekly and monthly reports on plant reports, ETS reports, power and water consumption.