Have you wondered about the new mall being built on Al Maryah Island? It is called Al Maryah Central and will be home to 500 retail stores, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s and a whole host of other stores new to Abu Dhabi and the Middle East. Additionally, there will be 100 food outlets, 21 movie cinemas and even 5 urban parks. We cannot wait for it to open in 2018! We sat down with Matthew Hewitt, Project Director of Multiplex Middle East, the main contractor for the project to find out what he does every day to keep the construction moving.
What’s your background?
I am Australian with a degree in economics from Sydney University. I have been with the company for 16 years, and, among others, have worked on projects in Toronto and Wembley Stadium in England.
How mammoth is this project?
It is a 7 billion Dirham project, spanning 220,000 square meters. The project includes 195,000 cubic meters of concrete poured over 13 months and involving 8 million man hours. We recently were recognized for passing 10 million man hours without a reportable incident (one that injures a worker enough to be off work for more than three days).
What is a typical day at work?
There are more atypical days than typical, but generally my day starts with a 6am site walk. It is good exercise because it is roughly 5kms to cover it all.
Next come meetings with any number of the 47 subcontractors working for us. 30-40% of my time is spent directing and supervising the 250 employees who work directly for me. The rest of my day involves various details; health and safety, keeping our client appraised of progress, managing tenders, ensuring design is implemented, and working with compliance officials to be sure the project will get commissioned.
You must be exhausted at day’s end. What do you do to unwind?
I have a beautiful 3-year old daughter and wife who unwind me. We bike, swim and go to the park together. I work five 12-14 hour days and one 8-hour day per week. I’ve learned the best thing for us all is if I leave the job behind when I leave the office. That way I’m totally focused on my family when I’m home.