Can you tell about your background and your work in Serbia?
"I graduated from a five-year undergraduate program at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade in 1973. In 1982 I graduated from a two-year (4 semesters) postgraduate program, and I also defended doctoral thesis at the same university in 1990.
I got a job at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University of Belgrade immediately after graduation; initially as a teaching assistant and then as a professor, until my retirement in 2014.
During my whole working life I worked as an associate at the Institute for Materials and Structures of Civil Engineering Faculty in Belgrade, and also as a consultant or collaborator in many construction companies in Serbia and abroad (Energoprojekt, Trudbenik, Mostogradnja, Aeroinženjering, Rad, Dom, Martini etc.)."
What kind of construction projects you have worked with before?
"I have worked on designing (and sometimes on construction works) of many types of structures: bridges, hangars, warehouses, buildings, garages, water towers, tunnels, hydraulic structures and installations, as well as some special structures. My interest was mainly in construction of bridges and precast and pre-stressed concrete structures.
My most significant project was certainly being a team member on the project of Hangar II at the airport in Belgrade, being at that time the largest hangar for aircraft in the world with a concrete roof structure; all other hangars of the similar size in the world were with a steel roof structure."
How did you end up on the construction site in UAE? Is this your first visit to the Middle East?
"The first time I came to the UAE in 2014. The company Louis Berger invited me through their office in Belgrade to assist on a project performed by their new office in Dubai. This work was successfully completed after two months and the management suggested me to stay for some more time, because at that time I retired and my work at the university was finished. So I stayed (unexpectedly) in Dubai the next year and after that, through company DP World, I came to the company SHAFA AL NAHDAH, on the Project Carpark in Jabel Ali free zone."
What are the main differences you find in the construction methods between Serbia and UAE?
"There is not much difference except the fact that practically all possible mechanization and modern (and expensive) materials are available to companies in UAE, while in Serbia engineers often have to contrive in different ways to solve some engineering task."
What main tendencies do you see in the future of the construction sector?
"The future in the field of civil structures certainly lies in application of new artificially produced materials, possibly with characteristics that today are unimaginable. These materials will enable engineers to achieve, so to speak, every possible fantasy of human (engineering) imagination. However, one certainly shouldn’t ignore new construction methods that will inevitably result from all this."
In the current project you are using Peikko’s column shoes. Is this the first project that you are working with Peikko Solutions? How do you find this solution compared to other corresponding methods?
"No, in cooperation with the Italian company "Martini" I already applied Peikko system earlier. Before there were similar methods based on this principle (for example companies "Hidrotehnika" and "Rad" from Belgrade used similar method in construction of prefabricated buildings), but the company PEIKKO was the first to make extensive research and produced a SYSTEM for continuation of vertical structural elements.
The main advantage of Peikko system (with proven preservation of the capacity and safety) is that temporary supports are no longer needed and bringing into designed position is very simple and fast. It is no longer necessary to wait for the injection material to get hardened, but it is almost immediately possible to continue building (erection) of the next structural elements."