The good traveler: Travel etiquette in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven sheikhdoms or states in the Middle East, is a wondrous travel destination known for its modern skyscrapers, hot climate, inviting beaches, and exciting shopping. But just like when you’re visiting other countries, you have to observe certain customs and practice proper travel etiquette. Here are some tips straight from Lisa Dudzik, an expat who handles large-scale construction projects and lists the UAE as a favorite travel destination:

Drink alcohol moderately
The vast majority of the population is Muslim, and many Muslims don’t drink alcohol. However, alcoholic beverages are available in almost all hotels, restaurants and nightclubs in the UAE. If you do enjoy a glass of wine or a spirit while visiting Dubai, ensure you do not drive as there is a zero tolerance and avoid any displays of drunken behavior in public.

Greet others properly
When greeting in a business setting it is important to acknowledge the most senior man in the room first. Men will shake hands when meeting and greeting, and as in many cultures there is eye contact and a smile. Only offer your hand in response to a woman’s offering. Among some women, there is often a short kiss on the cheek in more casual situations. Shake hands using only your right hand, as the left hand is for bodily hygiene. You will often see men holding hands, and rarely shall you observe a men and women touching or holding hands in public.

Dress and act modestly in public
Wear modest clothing especially if in a public location or at the beach, where conservative swimwear remains the norm. Research the proper dress code for the different areas you’re visiting. Public display of affection may be cute and appreciated in other countries, but not in the local culture: even married couples can hold hands but it’s not something met with enthusiasm here. Remember that Islam is a religion of cleanliness and courtesy.

Ask before taking that photo
Always ask for permission before taking photos of people in this country, particularly with women, children, and their mosques. Photographing people can be a touchy subject so you should exercise caution when doing it. Signage is posted in most restricted areas and cctv monitors not only capture speed infractions but other such inappropriate behaviors accordingly.

Lisa Dudzik is a contracts and claims manager from Western Australia. For almost two decades, she has overseen large-scale construction projects such as high-capacity subways and stations, roads, and highways. She is an avid traveler to Middle Eastern destinations such as the UAE. Learn more on this page.


A walkthrough on resolving construction disputes


Construction disputes are a result of contract disputes. Claims can get expensive for both contracting parties, which could abort the whole project. Aside from being costly, disputes are time-consuming and can harm a contractor’s reputation.

Lack of understanding of the conditions of the contract is one of the main causes of a construction dispute. Contract delays, failure of administration, and unsupported or incomplete claims made by both parties involved can also be the culprits. It should then be every contractor’s goal to cover all their bases and clarify contractual matters with clients prior to construction.

A clear and concise contract offers little to no room for disputes. In case one arises, legal recourses and solutions, also stipulated in the contract, are available. Including a negotiation clause in the contract allows for discussion of just and satisfactory resolutions between themselves before proceeding to other methods.

A mediation clause proposes the involvement of a third party in the dispute situation, who will then arbitrate the dispute. While it is not legally binding in any way, a mediation can prevent the aggravation of conflicts into fullblown legal disputes. Other methods such as adjudication and arbitration require a neutral third party that would review the case and provide a decision.

Lisa Dudzik is a contracts and claims manager from Western Australia. For almost two decades, she has overseen large-scale construction projects such as high-capacity subways and stations, roads, and highways. For more updates from Lisa Dudzik, head over to this blog.

Going green: Sustainable practices for construction projects

Construction companies are becoming more conscious to adapt to the environment’s changing needs.  These days, instead of being the primary contributor to pollution, the industry has found better ways to build without causing further harm to the earth.  Let’s take a look at some of the greener practices that are becoming the norm in the construction industry:

Using cost-efficient and recyclable building materials

Recycled plastic, bamboo, and grasscrete are the best alternatives to concrete and other traditional construction materials.  These materials are also long-lasting, sturdy, weatherproof, and affordable.  While most think that the effects are only on the physical structure, materials from bamboo and grass increase the oxygen production and control heat.  These materials also add to the comfort and protection of many people.

Energy-efficient operations

Now more aware of the effects of energy waste and pollution, construction companies are doing their best to reduce energy consumption.  Efficient energy management also involves monitoring premises and transportation.  Reusable energy sources and solar-powered equipment have become widely used in project sites reducing a site’s carbon footprint.  Getting energy performance certificates allows further usage reduction and gives these places the liberty to use alternative means aside from traditional sources.

Monitoring construction waste

Large-scale projects usually mean large volumes of construction waste.  These days, construction companies are becoming more vigilant about enforcing waste management plans to ensure that all materials are being maximized.  Switching to recyclable materials and renewable sources allow managers, employees, and manual laborers to become more mindful of the materials they use and the energy they consume.

The industry’s initiative to improve its ways have led to better structures that provide a safe place for people to live and work.

Lisa Dudzik is a contracts and claims manager from Western Australia.  For many years, she has also worked as an expat in America and in Europe.  Visit this blog for more discussions on the construction industry.

How a Thorough Review Of Commercial Construction Contracts Can Avert Future Legal Woes

A commercial construction contract is dotted with myriad provisions, stated oftentimes in the lengthy legal parlance.  Generally, those who are about to embark on commercial construction business would rather designate the sole responsibility to their legal counsels the review of the document citing their not being familiar with long-winded statements as the reason. However, lawyers are hired for their advice, which would only be of value upon a client’s understanding and gauge of the situation.  Whenever a misunderstanding or a conflict ensues, the weight of the burden, both financial and emotional, remains on the shoulders of the party who signed the legal document. Thus, it is always advantageous for the one entering into the commercial contract to read thoroughly and understand the provisions.

Actually, a contracting party need not go through the entire innumerable provisions of the document, as several of these may just be standard statements required for compliance by several governing authorities. However, one’s attention must be focused on provisions that would certainly impact on the performance of the contracting parties and on the construction work itself.

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The essential provisions that must be concretely settled are on the scope of work or performance duties, security on the parties’ performance, manner of release of payments, changes in the project or in the orders, delays, dispute resolution systems,  risk allocation, and indemnification.

The provision on the scope of work also referred to as performance duties, is the most fundamental as this is intended to define clearly the endeavor that is to be performed. Likewise, must be indicated under this provision are statements of each of the parties’ duties and responsibilities, strategies for anticipated and unexpected occurrences, expected quality of output, work schedule and completion, and interpretation of the commercial infrastructure design.   Insufficient statements or incomplete description of details in any aspect of this provision could spell disaster, particularly to the commercial building proprietor, as these would serve as the basis for compliance of the contractor, engineers, and other workers to the project design.

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Cooperation among the parties is equally important, and to ensure this the proprietor and the other parties, with the assistance of a legal counsel, must conduct the review together of the provisions and develop a scope of work or performance duties that is mutually understood by all concerned, incorporating as attachments the following: clear draft of complete project’s design and specifications as well as  express warranties by the builder or contractor in meeting the requirements in the design documents and specifications.

Lisa Dudzik from Perth, Western Australia, is a contracts and claims manager who lived in different parts of the world as an expat. For similar reads, click here.

The Burj Khalifa: A Closer Look at the World’s Tallest Building

This impressive testament to modern architecture and construction is not only the current tallest skyscraper in the world. It holds several other world records as well. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest freestanding structure in the world, holding the highest number of stories, highest occupied floors, elevator with longest travel distance, and highest outdoor observation deck.

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Construction of this megastructure began in 2004. At the height of its construction, 12,000 workers were toiling on the towering edifice daily. The amount of labor and ingredients poured into the mix is staggering: 22 million hours of work, 110,000 tons of concrete, and 55,000 tons of steel rebar.

Within six years, it formally opened for business, making people gawk at its majesty and driving tourism to the U.A.E. Its weight in concrete is equivalent to 100,000 elephants, and the amount of aluminum used for the building corresponds to five A380 aircraft. It rises proudly at 828 meters: nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building and thrice as the Eiffel Tower.

The Burj Khalifa is so tall that its tip can be seen up to 95 kilometers away. Its single running elevator services 140 floors, and moves 10 meters per second. This means that from the ground, a visitor should reach the 124th-floor observation deck in just about one minute.

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Lastly, the design concept of the Burj Khalifa is based on the Hymenocallis flower or beach spider lily, where the central core “blossoms” and thins out into a sculpted spire at the peak.

Liza Dudzik is a contracts and claims manager from Western Australia. For almost two decades, she has overseen large-scale construction projects such as high-capacity subways and stations, roads, and highways. For more on her work and interests, visit this website.

Al Maktoum International Airport: The journey toward becoming the world’s largest airport

Air travel is growing by the day, underscoring the importance of the construction and development of airports throughout the world. Dubai exemplifies this need because the number of passengers flying into and out of the Emirate is currently outpacing the capacity of its airlines.

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With Dubai projected to further grow economically, in addition to the Emirate being viewed as an efficient air link between North America and Asia, the Emirate’s rulers are looking to expand Dubai’s current second-largest airport, Al Maktoum.

At present, the airport’s capacity stands at 7 million passengers per year. The terminal space and runway will be expanded progressively, with the first phase of the development intended to increase the capacity to 120 million passengers a year. In comparison, the busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic in 2016 was the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which received more than 104 million passengers.

The goal is to finish the first phase before 2020, as Dubai is set to host the World Expo in the same year.

By 2025, the Dubai Government forecasts that the airport would be able to handle 146.3 million passengers a year, more than 100 commercial and long-haul jets, and five parallel runways which can be operated simultaneously.

The ultimate objective is that by 2050, Al Maktoum International Airport would be both the largest and busiest airport in the world.

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Lisa Dudzik has nearly two decades of experience in overseeing large-scale construction projects and managing contracts and claims in the construction industry. To learn more about the Western Australia native, check this website.

The Art Of The Land: Iconic Airports Around The World

Not too many people associate airports with architectural innovation. It might be a thing for connoisseurs, but the rest of the lot seem to just flit in and out of terminals to get to their destinations. Airports are filled with dynamic scenarios that constantly shift before one’s eyes, and that is probably what most people expect or even love about them: the unabated and heart-pounding movement of the world manifesting itself in one place of convergence.

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Through the years, countries and cities have been investing in airport construction and renovations that brought together the best people to create structures that are both functional and unique. Here are some of the most mesmerizing examples of airport architectural and engineering feats:

Terminal 3, Beijing International Airport, China

Energy efficiency is a hallmark of this airport’s design. The tiny sectional skylights generate enough power to maintain temperature. The interplay of function and beauty is also evident in this feature as these panels and curves allow for the entrance of natural light both for ornamental and practical purposes.

Hajj Terminal, King Abdul Aziz Airport, Jeddah

Unlike most airports, the Hajj Terminal is only open during the Hajj pilgrimage. Accommodating hordes of people every year, the airport is equipped many amenities that easily provide for the unique needs of the pilgrims. The main structure is composed of a series of tent-like sections with Teflon-coated fiberglass roofing that allows the passage of natural light and air. The materials used cool the desert air by deflecting the desert heat.

Terminal 4, Barajas Airport, Spain

This is one of the most beautiful and interesting airports in the world. The roof is made of bent bamboo that has a flowing design aesthetic imitating sinuous waves supported by pylons whose colors take on a graduated progress as one moves across the terminal. The glass walls allow natural light to enter the premises.

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Lisa Dudzik from Western Australia has over 18 years of experience in managing large-scale construction projects involving high-capacity subways and stations, roads, and highways. The contracts and claims manager is eager to learn and thirsty for knowledge, enabling her to offer much-needed support to the people with whom she works. For more updates on her inclinations and professional work, visit this blog.