Monday, July 21, 2008

Follow the work, follow the money

Interesting article in this week's Washington (D.C.) Business Journal about the Middle East building boom and how A/E firms are benefiting from it.

As we talked about last week, there is plenty of work going on in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and throughout the Middle East that is keeping U.S. A/E firms busy. And while last week's piece on NBC's Today Show did not spotlight how those projects are benefiting the A/E industry, the Washington Business Journal article does go into great detail.

HOK's Washington, D.C. office saw its revenue from overseas work triple from $5.4 million in 2006 to $16.8 million last year, about 80 percent of it from Middle East projects. Perkins + Will's D.C. office has two new projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. RTKL is working on three large projects in Dubai.

Firms quoted in the article compare the Middle East building boom to New York City in the 1920s, but also say that they don't believe the boom is a fad. One A/E firm says Dubai in 50 years will be the Paris of the Middle East.

As one source in the article said, overseas work "is part of how we diversify. It's a valve we can turn on when we need to."

I've said it before but I'll say it again, if you're not working in the Middle East, you need to be there. It's where the money...and the projects...are.


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