Construction & Real Estate
Saudi Arabia set to lead region’s infrastructure market: report
Saudi Arabia is set to take the lead in regional infrastructure investment and construction spending, a Saudi Arabian newspaper has reported. The newspaper is referring to a BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report which shows the MENA infrastructure and construction market is among the world’s most attractive owing to its sheer size, with a total of $4.3 trillion. These monies are expected to be invested in construction projects across the region by 2020 with an increase of almost 80 per cent from current levels. According to the report, 'GCC 2020: Time to Shift Gears', Saudi Arabia is expected to lead the region’s construction market. It shows that the region’s spending plans are expected to account for 12 per cent of the global emerging markets and 4.4 per cent of the world construction markets within the next decade. Merrill Lynch Kingdom Saudi Arabia CEO, Mutashar Murshed, stated that despite delays in awarding contracts in some Arab countries due to political instability, the construction and infrastructure sub-sectors in Saudi Arabia remain strong. He added that the sector amounts to 46 per cent of the 2012/13 MENA project pipeline totaling USD448 billion.
Source: Ahram Online
Bahrain road revamp work on track
The Bahrain Works Ministry has completed the revamping of Block 214 in the Muharraq Governorate and started work on Block 206 as part of a BD660,000 ($1.75 million) project to overhaul several key blocks in the Kingdom. Ministry road projects and maintenance director Raed Mohammed Al Salah said the projects include construction, improvement, and maintenance of roads, re-paving them, repairing rainwater drainage system, and developing the water network. The projects including the revamping of Blocks 205, 206 and 214 are being implemented in co-operation with the municipal councils, he added.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Architect sues Qatar over ‘forged’ street lamps
A Spanish architect, who alleges that Qatar forged nearly 1,000 street lamps she designed, has filed a lawsuit against the Gulf state. Beth Galí said she was invited to design the street lamps for a 10km stretch of road in Doha for the 2006 Asian Games. Authorities in the gas-rich state chose the ‘Latina’ design but instead of purchasing the lights from the official manufacturer, they commissioned Ashghal, the Qatari Public Works Authority, to copy the design, the architect claims. Galí, together with manufacturer Santa & Cole and the Barcelona Design Centre, this week issued a public statement confirming that after six years of attempting to reach an amicable agreement, she would press ahead with a legal case. “The case is now in the hands of the Courts of Barcelona and one of the largest acts of piracy in the history of design committed by a sovereign state is now being made public,” Galí said in a statement published on the Barcelona Design Centre website. Catalina-based Galí said Ashghal requested Santa & Cole to submit lighting designs for a lighting project for Al Waab Street in 2005. Galí submitted five designs with models and technical specifications and adapted the design of the Latina light. Ashghal installed approximately 900 forgeries of the light in 2006, said Galí. “It is unbelievable that Qatar, a sovereign nation and member of the World Intellectual Property Organization, bound by the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement, could commit such a large case of forgery, which undoubtedly shows a complete disregard for copyright,” said Javier Nieto Santa, chairman of Santa & Cole.
Basra Times Square investment project granted
Basra granted a touristic investment project with the cost of 162 million dollars. The project, Basra Times Square, shall be built on 31 thousand square meters area. The duration of the investment will be 35 years, which is one of the important touristic projects in the province. It will consist of a hotel, cultural halls, trade activities and a garage, which shall be built on top.
Source: Aswat Aliraq
Construction starts on UAE’s first nuclear plant
Construction work has officially started on the UAE's first nuclear power plant, with work expected to start on the second reactor next year. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said it has started pouring the first nuclear safety concrete for Barakah Unit 1. ENEC said it will apply for an operating license for Unit 1 in 2015 and will pour concrete for Unit 2 in 2013. ENEC is building a total of four reactors at the Barakah site, the first which will be operational in 2017, with one additional reactor becoming operational each year up to 2020. The announcement follows the receipt of the construction license from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and a No Objection Certificate from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). ENEC said it has poured more than 1,500 cubic meters of concrete to form a portion of the foundation slab of the Barakah Unit 1 reactor containment building, which will ultimately house the nuclear reactor. The next phase of construction will include an auxiliary building, turbine building, and cooling water structures. Reactor installation using a heavy lift crane will also have started by the end of 2012, ENEC said. Construction of Barakah Unit 1 will take five years, with the plant expected to become operational in 2017, subject to further regulatory review. "This has been a momentous week for the UAE's peaceful civil nuclear energy programme," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO. "As we begin construction of Barakah Unit 1, we reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the UAE's reputation for developing a world-class programme and ensuring that our work at site conforms to local, federal, and international regulations." Barakah, located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, was selected as the preferred site for the plant following a comprehensive analysis of multiple locations across the UAE. One of the most important factors in the selection of Barakah was the fact that it is in an area with a very low probability of earthquakes. Studies have shown that the site area has been tectonically inactive for nearly 100 million years. With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy is predicted to save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Korea Electric Power Corp, the country’s biggest electricity producer, won a contract in 2009 to complete four nuclear reactors in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi voted Middle East’s top city
Abu Dhabi has been voted the Middle East's top city to live in based on factors including job prospects, entrepreneurial opportunities and labor rights, according to a new survey. Neighboring Dubai was ranked the second most popular city followed by Sharjah, Manama, and Muscat, a survey of more than 9,000 people by Bayt.com and YouGov found. The majority of respondents considered job availability in 12 countries in the Middle East ‘average’, while nearly half of those polled described employment opportunities in Riyadh as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Doha was ranked the second best city based on employment prospects followed by Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. Salaries in Qatar’s capital city are considered the most competitive, closely followed by Abu Dhabi, while remuneration packages in Damascus and Amman ranked the lowest. Countries hit by the Arab Spring unrest such as Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria ranked the lowest for entrepreneurial factors such as new business finance, as well as overall quality of life. Nearly 80 percent of residents in Algiers said they would like to move to another city followed by those living in Casablanca and Tunis at 73 percent and 71 percent, respectively. New businesses operating in Damascus, Aleppo, Amman, and Cairo are also considered the most difficult cities in which to secure financial support. “When it comes to new ideas and innovations, 56 percent of respondents state that Dubai is the most receptive, followed by Sharjah (52 percent), while those cities most opposed to rocking the boat are Rabat, Amman (both with 48 percent), and Marrakech (43 percent) where reception of new ideas is bad/poor according to residents,” noted the report. Residents in the UAE claimed to have the highest quality of life, with 73 percent in Dubai and 70 percent in Abu Dhabi describing their lifestyle as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. People living in Beirut and Damascus are the least happy with their lifestyle. Despite ranking low for a series of factors such as job opportunities and wage protection, residents in Beirut consider options for education amongst the best in the Middle East. “The majority of Beirut residents (71 percent) state that the availability of educational facilities in their city is high; they also claim that the quality of education is high, with statistics ranking it the highest in the region,” said the report.
Source: Arabian Business