Team of the Year: Private Sector 2021


Entertainment Team, Emaar Facilities Management

Sponsored by: PTSG

Team of the Year: Private Sector 2021

Emaar Entertainment, part of the Emaar group of companies, operates a portfolio of amusement attractions in the United Arab Emirates ranging from Reel Cinemas, Kidzania, the Dubai Aquarium, an ice Rink, a Virtual Reality Park, a DIG IT play space based on a real-life construction site, an urban beach, a skate park and more. The total area managed by the team is currently 800,000 sq ft spread across eight locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with further expansion into Saudi Arabia and Bahrain scheduled for December this year.

The five-person team comprises a team head (goal-setting, budget, contract management), two MEP staff, one person handling soft FM and another handling ride maintenance.

The team manages service delivery, through a structured blend of outsourced suppliers and third-party agencies, of maintenance, soft services, utilities and specialist systems.

It collaborates with multiple stakeholders across the estate with landlords, external and internal customers, mystery shoppers, suppliers and statutory authorities.

All staff are trained through a combination of different base offices, job rotation and succession planning to handle all services/web applications irrespective of specialisation. Two team members have now completed more than 10 years of service in the organisation.

Its five-year road map (2016 – 2021) has delivered on the following goals:

  • A 5% year on year reduction in FM andutilities cost
  • A year on year increase in its NPS/mystery shopper score
  • Implementation of a maintenance functionality map
  • Implementation of a sustainable FM plan
  • Engagement in design review during construction
  • Development and implementation of life cycle costing and analysis
  • Implementation of an Individual Development Plan (IDP)/Succession Planning.

Results Gleaned

Over the past three years the Emaar Entertainment FM team has won the title of Best operations and maintenance facility in the Middle East and North Africa from the Emirates Green Building Council. It has also overseen servicing of a built-up area that has increased by 50 per cent from 500,000 sq ft in 2018 to 800,000 sq ft in 2021, the unit cost of services has been rationalised from AED (United Arab Emirates dirham) 1.80 per sq ft in 2018 to AED 1.25 per sq ft in 2021 – all without any augmentation of the team despite an increased workload.

When a zero-based budget initiative was launched in 2018, the team has subsequently exceeded the target in both FM and utilities cost rationalisation in every year since.

One member was honoured with the Abtaal award in 2019, an award ‘which recognises team members who live our culture, go an extra mile and stand out’, while the team consistently achieves mystery shopper scores of above 95 per cent.

Also, Reel Cinemas Dubai Mall – one of the entertainment attractions that participated in the Dubai Service Excellence assessment programme – was rated Excellent (highest rating). The items pertaining to FM scored 100 per cent.

Key learnings

The Emaar Facilities Management – Entertainment team has succeeded through a mixture of individual empowerment, taking ownership and constant collaboration.  Expected values are explained to all staff during on-boarding and also regularly refreshed through teaser campaigns, a quarterly rally, and reinforced through participation in cross functional teams (BCM, Design Review, Operations) with multiple stakeholders to understand and appreciate different perspectives.

Staff are nominated for awards and invited to present their achievements and ideas in organisational forums, inculcating a sense of ownership and pride.

The team’s approach to leadership is based on the principles enshrined in the value – ‘One Emaar’ which can be summarised as unified/seamless service delivery irrespective of the number of stakeholders involved. There is continuous interaction between the team and different levels of leadership to ensure that the organisation remains aligned to ground realities/customer expectations/competitive challenges.


Judges declared that the Emaar Entertainment FM team delivered “world class services using a unique FM strategy blending ISO 55001 guidelines with a sustainable FM plan and business excellence approach”, thus ensuring high levels of system availability/reliability and indoor air quality standards; this without compromising sustainability performance yet also managing to deliver a reduction in utilities consumption and carbon footprint.