Darren Pavitt

Pavitt has more than 20 years of experience in the fit-out and construction industry across the UK and UAE. He served as ISG’s pre-construction director for the Middle East in Dubai before being appointed managing director for its business in Malaysia. A key part of his new role is to expand the firm’s engineering business into new sectors, both within Malaysia and in the region.

Having been with ISG since 2009, which project stands out the most for you?
One of the significant projects for me was the refurbishment of the Kempinski Hotel at the Mall of Emirates in the Middle East. Completed in 2015 over two phases, with a final value of AED180 million, the scope included refurbishment of 400 rooms, 16 ski chalets, an all-day dining restaurant and an award-winning cocktail bar, along with structural modifications to enhance the fire safety strategy of the building in meeting the new layouts.

What is an important lesson you learnt from this project?
One of the best experiences was realising the benefits of challenging the norm and exploring alternative methodologies to create value for our customers. For example, we undertook the majority of the repair works at height via abseiling instead of constructing a full scaffolding around the external façade. To overcome logistical constraints, several joinery works were also carried out in the basement carpark, where we set up a number of spray booths and an assembly area. With these methods, the project benefitted from significant time and cost savings, with minimal disruption to the hotel operations and its guests.

When looking at these large-scale, complex and phased projects, it is important to challenge the conventional construction methods and explore the opportunities they present to innovate better, faster and smarter.

The success of this 340,000-square-foot project also provided the springboard for other significant projects, including the refurbishment of the 200-key Golden Tulip Hotel in Dubai, which was completed last year.

You have been managing the business in Malaysia since August 2018.
What are your main plans and goals?

I have taken on the Malaysia business to help it realise its full potential. It is a robust marketplace that offers abundant opportunities. My goal is to help grow this business to almost double its size within the next five years.

For example, I am working on expanding the geographical footprint of ISG beyond Kuala Lumpur. Over 90 per cent of the projects delivered in the past have been within Malaysia’s capital, and I am keen to explore growth opportunities in other cities, such as Johor Bahru—where we are currently delivering the fit-out of a research and development facility for a renowned British technology company. I also want to further demonstrate our multi-sector capabilities to help our customers understand the strength and depth of our delivery credentials, especially in highly complex and technical schemes that require niche expertise. Our growth plans in the region include expanding our offerings by positioning our engineering services, as well as building our experience in the local market.

My background in pre-construction will also help the Malaysia business achieve commercial competitiveness and strengthen relationships with key supply chain partners—many of whom are global suppliers to the wider group—to improve the control we have on projects.

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