The World Cup and Olympic competitions help drive Brazil’s building boom
Brazil’s inviting beaches and beautiful weather helped draw more than a million foreign visitors and three million native visitors to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, hosted in 12 Brazilian cities. The country is now spending billions of dollars on new and upgraded facilities and supporting infrastructure to host an even larger sporting event: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
It’s estimated that Brazil spent approximately US$12 billion on the World Cup and is spending another US$14 billion or more on the Rio Olympics. Large-scale construction is soaring in Brazil, including highways, subways, sports complexes, airports and other public and private infrastructure. With this growth comes a corresponding need for products and accompanying standards that support property loss prevention.
Both FM Approvals and FM Global have maintained a strong presence in Brazil for many years. FM Approvals representatives in Brazil serve as liaisons to local manufacturers seeking the FM APPROVED certification mark and provide guidance in loss prevention standards development.
FM Approvals regularly participates in educational seminars and other meetings intended to advance the state of fire protection in Brazil. Last November, for instance, FM Approvals cosponsored the First Annual Sprinkler Congress (CBSpk) in conjunction with the Brazilian Sprinkler Association (ABSpk).
In late March, FM Approvals general manager Paris Stavrianidis and operations vice president and manager of testing and certification Rich Ferron traveled to Rio de Janeiro to meet with officials from Inmetro, the Brazilian National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology, and ABNT, the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards.
“We have been trying for several years to get an opportunity to discuss FM Global’s loss prevention model and FM Approvals’ product testing and certification expertise with Inmetro, the government organization that effectively regulates the product testing and certification industry in Brazil,” notes Stavrianidis. “With the support of our new partner in Brazil, ABNT, we were able to spend time with Inmetro’s senior management and share our views on property loss prevention, codes and standards related to sprinklers and product testing and certification.”
Saudi Arabia’s national oil company relies on FM Approved products
Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum and natural gas company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is valued at up to US$7 trillion, making it the most valuable company in the world. The company manages proven conventional crude oil and condensate reserves of 260.2 billion barrels and natural gas reserves of 288.4 trillion standard cubic feet (8.2 trillion standard cubic meters). The firm has the capacity to produce up to 12 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 10.8 million bpd in 2004.
In 2012, FM Approvals took part in a two-day conference sponsored by the Saudi Arabia chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), whose membership includes experts from Saudi Aramco. The conference was held in the city of Dammam in the oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. A broad cross section of private and governmental representatives attended the event, including the Saudi Civil Defense, the Saudi Building Code National Committee, fire protection engineers, oil and gas industry professionals and consultants.
In the past two years, several engineers from Saudi Aramco visited the FM Global Research Campus to gain a greater understanding of the capabilities and services available. Last November, FM Approvals representatives visited the Aramco facilities in Dammam and met with groups from Aramco’s consulting services, loss prevention, fire systems engineering and purchasing group to try to identify opportunities for further collaborations.
In January, FM Approvals general manager Paris Stavrianidis and Asia-Pacific new business development manager Abby So met again in Dammam, this time with the Aramco group responsible for writing corporatewide loss prevention standards. The meeting focused on formalizing an ongoing technical exchange between FM Approvals and Aramco.
“Aramco draws from best-in-class standards from around the world, including those from the NFPA [National Fire Protection Association], FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets and FM Approvals standards,” notes So. “We understand that Aramco specifies and uses FM Approved products, particularly for their hazardous locations and fire protection equipment. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them and particularly with their standards experts. They are the best in their industry at what they do and the learning process definitely flows both ways.”
“Our meeting in March was part of our ongoing effort to extend cooperation in this important market to help strengthen national and local fire protection codes and standards,” notes Stavrianidis. “At the same time, we’re working hard to help increase the local availability of FM Approved fire protection, electrical and building products. In this way, we not only support local FM Global clients, but enable others to specify FM Approved products for any new or retrofit applications, thereby improving the quality of risk for everyone.”
While in Brazil, FM Approvals signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with ABNT—one on sprinklers and the other on equipment for hazardous locations. Through these MoUs, ABNT and FM Approvals will exchange technical knowledge and expertise, and ABNT will have an opportunity to review FM Approvals’ reports and issue their certification mark for the Brazilian market. “We see this as a strategic relationship for both ABNT and FM Approvals in the continually expanding Brazilian market,” Ferron observes.
Diverse industrial base puts Turkey at top of emerging European economies
According to a recent report, Turkey’s construction industry grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6 percent from 2009 through 2013, thanks to support from private and public investments. Growth is expected to continue through 2018 at 8 percent CAGR. In fact, the Turkish government has set a goal to become the world’s tenth-fastest-growing economy by 2023.
Construction contracting is considered a major Turkish export. The Turkish Contractors Association estimates that Turkish contractors have carried out nearly 7,500 projects in more than 100 countries since 1972, amounting to approximately US$285 billion. Projects include airports, railways, roads, bridges, tunnels, commercial centers, petrochemical plants and dams. Turkey is also a major exporter of building products, food, consumer electronics, car parts, refined petroleum, clothing, and cars and trucks. Increasingly, Turkish manufacturers are turning to FM Approvals for certification of building materials, electrical products and fire protection systems. Currently, there are more than 85 listings for FM Approved products from Turkish manufacturers in the Approval Guide.
FM Approvals is an active participant in many Turkish trade conferences and organizations, including last year’s International Water Mist Association (IWMA) conference and ISK-SODEX—the region’s largest fire protection trade exhibition. Both events were held in Istanbul. FM Approvals also exhibited at the first annual Sprinkler Istanbul conference cosponsored by the European Fire Sprinkler Network (EFSN) and the Turkish Fire Protection Association (TUYAK).
“Turkey is a strategically positioned country,” notes Jean-Philippe Roisin, FM Approvals manager of new business development for the EMEA region. “Turkish producers already recognize the FM APPROVED certification mark as an important indicator for products that meet rigorous loss prevention standards. We want to encourage the development and use of FM Approved products and services, and provide greater local availability.” He adds, “We also want to increase awareness among Turkish manufacturers of our ability to provide, in addition to the FM APPROVED mark, regulatory marks such as CE, ATEX and IECEx, which are for some products a requirement within the European Union. This is of particular interest for Turkish manufacturers seeking to export to EU countries and other countries that adhere to European Norms.”
Kravetz joins European team
Paris native Frederic Kravetz has come full circle when it comes to FM Approvals. After earning his engineering degree from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, Kravetz joined what would become Siemens Building Technologies division. One of his first assignments at Siemens was to work with FM Approvals to gain certification for the firm’s FM200-based extinguishing system. Kravetz joined FM Approvals in December as a fire protection engineer. Based in the Paris office, Kravetz recently visited the United States. “One of the people I met was the FM Approvals engineer I worked with 19 years ago on that first project, Bob Kasiski,” Kravetz notes. “It was great to see him after all these years.” During his time with Siemens, Kravetz served in many roles, including work as a project engineer focused on the development, testing and certification of fire protection systems such as water, water mist, powder, gaseous agents and foam. As a key member of FM Approvals’ European team, Kravetz will be called upon to support the development of the FM APPROVED mark in Europe; expand the local availability of FM Approved products; keep track of regulatory items; and participate in standards development.
“FM Approvals certification was always an important goal for us at Siemens,” Kravetz says. “When this opportunity arose, it was an easy decision. My experience gives me a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges that manufacturers face.”
Combined Advisory Council
Regional councils gather in Dubai for biennial meeting
In April, FM Approvals’ three regional advisory councils—Asia-Pacific, EMEA and the Americas—met in Dubai for a biennial combined advisory council meeting. The last combined meeting was held in 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Dubai, the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was an ideal location for the joint meeting due to its emergence as a world-class business hub and center of the region’s multitrillion-dollar building boom.
The three-day meeting featured presentations and break-out discussion sessions led by key managers and senior executives from FM Approvals and FM Global. The joint meeting opened with a welcome by representatives of the UAE Department of Civil Defense, the group charged with developing and maintaining building codes and other guidelines.
During his update, Paris Stavrianidis, vice president, manager, FM Approvals, emphasized FM Approvals’ goals to continue to protect the integrity of FM Approved products and the FM Approvals customers’ investment; enhance the awareness and acceptance of FM Approved products in targeted markets; encourage the sharing of technical knowledge to develop global product-testing standards; and continue to enhance the delivery of efficient and comprehensive services to FM Approvals’ customers.
“The rapid pace of development in this region of the world makes this a growing market for FM Approved products, either produced locally or imported,” notes Abby So, FM Approvals new business development manager for Asia-Pacific. “Not only are FM Approved products specified by quality-conscious designers and builders, but FM Approvals standards are increasingly being adopted by code-writing bodies in this region in order to provide the highest possible level of loss prevention protection.” He added, “Our advisory councils help keep us focused on the needs and objectives of our customers and the markets they serve. These meetings not only help us understand current needs, but help us identify future technical trends that enable us to serve our customers better. The combined meetings provide a critical opportunity for council members to share regional knowledge and provide us with important feedback.”