The Lebanese construction industry grew 30% last year, defying global trends – why?
It's due to the shortage of residential properties and the demand by Gulf and Lebanese expatriates for properties in Lebanon. Also, the relaxed political situation following the Doha Accord and the formation of a new government and the election of a new president.
How might instability in the region affect construction on Lebanon this year?
So far Lebanon has been immune. It has experienced worse situations in the past.
Hezbollah recently fired rockets from Lebanon into Israel – how fearful are you that Lebanon could be dragged into another conflict?
So far the situation has been contained with no repercussions.
What type of construction is happening in Lebanon?
Mainly residential and mixed use - residential, commercial and leisure/tourism. The major projects are mainly private schemes in Beirut. For example, some major residential developments being carried out by Jamil Ibrahim Est, a well-known Beirut client. There are also various residential and commercial projects in downtown Beirut in the Solidere area by Lebanese and Gulf investors. These include a new Grand Hyatt hotel, a Summerland Kempenski hotel, and the Horizon mixed residential/commercial development in Verdun Street.
How is Davis Langdon's Beirut branch doing?
Our key projects include the Grand Hyatt hotel, Solidere's restoration projects and some HSBC projects. We have 18 staff in Beirut and we're looking to increase this in view of the upcoming projects.
What advice would you offer UK firms trying to win work in Lebanon?
There are opportunities for them here but they must know the local market, due to the particular building and local laws, so it's best to team up with a Lebanese entity.
How will the downturn affect Lebanon's construction market?
It will force Lebanese contractors and professionals to seek work outside Lebanon in markets such as North Iraq, Jordan, Syria, the Gulf and North Africa.
Davis Langdon are involved in several schemes in the Solidere area of Beirut