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Insights How project controllers make the difference

In line with Saudi Vision 2030, The AtkinsRéalis Group, including Atkins and Faithful+Gould is committed to building local capabilities and giving diverse talents the opportunity to get involved and make a real impact on projects, clients, and ultimately, society. Some of the major projects we have been supporting in the Kingdom include Diriyah and Six Flags Qiddiya

Samey Uddin Syed, Project Controls Consultant, is one of our many talented employees who has worked on both of these projects, here’s his story about making a difference:

Samey Uddin - Project controller

Tell us a bit about you 

‘I am a Projects Controls Consultant at AtkinsRéalis and have worked here since 2014. I started my journey with the company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and then relocated in 2019 to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My background is in civil engineering, and I have over 10 years of experience in project controls. I am also a certified scheduling professional from PMI, ACIArb practitioner.’

How would you define Project Controls? 

‘A project controller ensures all processes related to cost and time management run smoothly during a project. The functions of project controls include initiating, planning, monitoring, communicating, and closing out project costs and schedules. They must have excellent planning skills to monitor and control a project and they should be very good at communicating effectively to coordinate with key stakeholders.’

Working directly with project managers, project controllers at AtkinsRéalis help to achieve key goals and objectives relating to time, budgets and safety. 

What are some of the projects you are working on in Saudi Arabia and what was your role? 

‘I have been fortunate enough to be part of some of Saudi’s mega projects. My role involves setting up baseline programs and earned value management systems, maintaining the program quality, coordinating with project managers, and reporting procedures to clients on a weekly or monthly basis. Other responsibilities include understanding resource forecast requirements and assisting the team with any changes that may affect the duration and cost of the scope.’

Megaprojects in Saudi are on the rise with mass investment from the government. For example, in July 2021, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud announced that $147 billion (550 billion riyals) is set to fund the transport and logistics sectors over the next decade. Additionally, new opportunities in NEOM are set to revolutionise the country. 

Do you prefer being office or site-based, and why? 

‘For most of my career I was on site with the contractors, and I prefer it that way because it is where all the action is! You can see tangible progress of the project and understand your role better.’

At AtkinsRéalis , we do our best to ensure our people are working on what they’re passionate about, and where it makes them happy. If you prefer to be office-based, or out on site, we may have an opportunity for you. 

What are some of the best aspects of project controls? 

‘Project control is the spine of the project. We are fully aware of any changes that occur on a project and how it may affect the scope, strategy, resource management, time management, and budgeting.’

What do you see as the key challenges faced by project controls on a day-to-day basis? 

'There is a saying that “a plan is as good as it’s communicated,” which highlights the role of project controllers. Occasionally, we are often overlooked and treated as admin units, usually due to a lack of understanding of our roles. However, I believe it is our responsibility to educate others about the importance of our role, and I often explain situations where the role of project controllers not being established correctly can result in the failure of a project.’ 

What are your thoughts about female representation in this field?

‘In general, females are underrepresented in the industry, especially on-site, however, with the company’s emphasis on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I), I believe things will improve going forward.’

Samey is right. We’re striving to become a truly inclusive employer by weaving ED&I into all that we do. We already speak over 70 languages, represent 130 nationalities across six continents, and we're making great strides in the diversity of our workforce. Our differences are one of our greatest strengths, and this is key to understanding the needs of our clients worldwide.

What would you say to someone considering a career in project controls? 

‘I can say that I am fortunate enough to work in an environment where I am constantly mentored and encouraged to take on new challenges. I believe it is a collective effort from both the individual and the company. If you are someone who enjoys analyzing and problem-solving then I would recommend becoming a Project Controller.’

Project controls opportunities at AtkinsRéalis

Whether you're looking for your next scheduler, estimator, cost manager, or project controller job, we may have something that will suit you in the Middle East. If you want to prove your potential, provide expert services on world-class projects, and collaborate and grow with professional services experts, we want to hear from you.

Browse our available project control jobs, or sign up for job alerts to get notified about the latest roles.