Growth in the fire protection business TEY_post_Fire-Direct-Center-–-Paul-SIMKIN

The playing fields are being levelled, and the Saudi business environment is far more user-friendly than in the past.

Paul SIMKIN General Manager FIREDIRECT

Growth in the fire protection business

December 15, 2023

Paul Simkin, general manager of fireDIRECT, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s service portfolio, its specialisations as a fire protection contractor and the main challenges and opportunities of running a fire protection business in Saudi Arabia. fireDIRECT is a fire protection contractor and training centre.

How is fireDIRECT’s service portfolio composed?
We are a multifaceted company with our business lines all associated with fire and safety. The three training centres we operate are internationally approved by OPITO and other national and international accrediting bodies. As one of the leading providers of such training, we service the requirements of many of the oil field operators in meeting their mandated training standards.
Mindful of environmental concerns, our fire training centres only use clean burn systems on our fire props, and our water management systems allow the unpolluted firefighting water to seep back to the aquifer.
We work closely with the Saudi Civil Defense and other national bodies in their efforts to improve fire safety standards. We have a department of technicians who design, install and test fire detection and suppression systems. We currently maintain the Riyadh-based headquarters of many international companies, while locally we service the Bahrain Causeway fire systems, among others.
Our multinational team of firefighters and our fleet of new fire trucks are deployed throughout the kingdom on major infrastructure projects. We are currently operating in NEOM, The Line, major industrial sites and hospitals.


What are the main challenges of running a fire and safety business in Saudi Arabia?
In recent years there have been many changes and improvements to the systems associated with running a company here in Saudi Arabia. The playing fields are being levelled, and the business environment is far more user-friendly than in the past.
The sourcing of local staff is a problem. However, the establishment of various government agencies that support recruitment is starting to address the problem. However, staff retention remains a problem.

What are your growth expectations for the coming years?
Saudi Arabia is a country filled with opportunities. We project an increase in business of up to 40% over the next five years. Demand in the Eastern Region will come from the increase in the number of rigs working in the upstream sector. In the southern region, the efforts being taken to resolve the Yemen conflict will see the region develop and grow. In the western region, the huge infrastructure projects currently underway will all support our projections.

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