UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Real Estate & Construction
Acting Director General, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority (ADHA)
Basheer Khalfan Al Mehairbi is the Acting Director General of ADHA. Al Mehairbi has held several positions throughout his career, including CIO of the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and deputy executive director of the information systems department at Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). He holds a higher diploma in IT from the Higher Colleges of Technology, a bachelor’s degree in international business, a master’s degree in international finance, and other scientific and professional certificates. Al Mehairbi received the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre Award for excellence in government performance and the Best Joint Service Award for the e-house project.
How does ADHA work to fulfill the housing needs of Abu Dhabi citizens?
The development and identification of housing needs is driven by a number of factors, with the supply and demand analysis being one of the key inputs in this process. The supply and demand analysis enable ADHA to plan the budgets for the various types of benefits that it provides to the public. This process involves coordinating efforts with various strategic partners such as Musanada and the Department of Municipalities and Transport.
Delivering sustainability across the built environment is a major priority of the government. Can you walk us through the sustainability agenda of ADHA?
ADHA has already developed housing guidelines to be followed by its strategic partners, and sustainability is one of the key aspects under these guidelines. As an example, we have even reviewed guidelines for plot sizes in order to secure land for future generations. Another example relates to housing loans, where we have improved the collection of mortgage payments, which in turn has enhanced the sustainability of the funds required for future loan issuances.
In urban planning, there is a strong emphasis on creating communities that enable social cohesion. How does this factor into your strategic planning objectives?
A key element of ADHA’s strategic objectives and map is the creation of social cohesion among Emirati housing communities. Strengthening social cohesion through connected housing community will strengthen future Emirati generations and further enhance social and economic stability. This in turn will enable individuals to focus on becoming effective and contribute to the continuous development of the country.
Abu Dhabi has unique cultural traditions. How do demands in housing differ based on such factors?
The Emirati society has deep and historic traditions and traits, and it shares a number of common cultural and traditional characteristics when it comes to housing requirements. From our experience, at present, individuals in Abu Dhabi prefer to live close to work and the city. As a result, they are more willing to let go of other elements on their wish list such as bigger spaces.
What technologies have benefited ADHA the most in regards to helping it deliver its mandate?
The infrastructure implemented by ADSIC has paved the road for ADHA to become a pioneer in utilizing technology to connect through web interfaces with 20-plus entities. This has transformed the customer experience significantly as now clients only need their Emirate ID to apply for a housing benefit. Another key example of how ADHA leverages technology is the new system that allows UAE nationals to apply for housing benefits from anywhere. As for Bayti initiative, the reception has been great, especially when considering that this initiative not only provides applicants with options of several different home designs but also paves the way for future cost savings.
Looking ahead, what future development plans does ADHA have in store over the next five years, and how will you expand your customer service offering?
We are always looking to find new ways to serve our customers better and achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. One of the key things we are focusing on is how we can reduce the time it takes for our valued clients to receive the housing benefits they applied for and eventually settle in their dream homes. Our housing policies are being constantly reviewed based on various factors including the government’s plans, customers’ feedback, and the challenges they face with current housing policies. This, in turn, enables us to constantly improve our policies as well as introduce new offerings.