SSH: MEED Assessment

26 February 2013

The architecture and design consultancy has spotted a gap in the market between local and international firms

SSH’s recent management reshuffle is aimed at kickstarting its ambitious growth strategy. The firm has spotted a gap in the market between local and international consultancies, and is keen to fill this void.

To achieve its five-year goals, SSH needs to grow fast. The consultancy is well established in Kuwait, but has a limited presence in other Gulf markets. It quickly needs to build capacity and reputation, without compromising on quality.

As the largest projects market in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia offers significant potential for any consultancy looking for long-term growth in the region. But gaining a foothold in the market will be tough and it will be hard finding local talent or persuading foreign staff to move to the kingdom. 

Qatar, which is preparing to deliver infrastructure schemes in time for the 2022 football World Cup, perhaps offers easier opportunities. SSH recognises this and is in the process of establishing a local office. Iraq figures in SSH’s plans as the reconstruction work gathers pace. Security concerns remain, but SSH is likely to benefit from less competition as other consultants still remain wary of entering the country.

SSH’s new management has a tough few years ahead of it. There is a strategy in place, but delivering it will be key. This is also dependent on factors outside the firm’s control such as regional stability, continued growth of the projects market and timely completion of schemes. SHH’s new leadership will also need to show international consultants it is consistently better than other local firms without pricing itself out of the market.

Ironically, as SSH is now looking to expand, Kuwait’s project market has found fresh momentum in recent months with a series of major contracts being tendered. SSH may find its home market continues to fill most if its order book for some years to come.

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