Saudi Arabia’s Architectural Construction & Engineering sector remains one of the most important sectors in the Kingdom’s strong economy. Saudi government continues to make significant investments in construction projects that will bolster and diversify the economy.
Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the region. Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is seen growing by nearly three percent as major infrastructure projects continue to be built in the Kingdom despite the impact of the global downturns. Saudi Arabia’s construction and engineering sector is expected to be buoyed by government led infrastructure developments plans and the need for more housing. The increasing infrastructure requirements of the country’s growing population and stability of the banking sector have helped stimulate the sustained growth of construction activities in Saudi Arabia. It is expected that Saudi Arabia’s construction sector will continue to see positive growth during 2010, as the economy also continues to expand and provide liquidity. The Kingdom’s construction and engineering sector has proven far more resilient than that of its Gulf neighbors.
No reliable, published statistics are available on the ACE sector in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia stands apart from many of its regional peers as demand for infrastructure and construction projects is fuelled by domestic demand. According to industry sources, more than 285 civil construction projects, valued in excess of US$260 billion, are currently underway or under design in Saudi Arabia. Industry sources expect an investment of around US$400 billion over the next five years on various projects, seventy percent of the work is government related.
A number of airports in Saudi Arabia are set for expansion, including the Prince Mohamed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah as the Kingdom gives more attention to the upgrading airports. The transportation sector initiatives are continuing with the Kingdom’s attempt to establish three new railway lines, the North-South, the Haramain high-speed project and the Saudi Landbridge. The utilities sector has seen perhaps the latest activity. The government approved Madinah power and water plant and the tender for a 2,000MW independent power project in Riyadh. A contract was awarded for the Rabigh IWPP. The industrial construction sector received a major boost with the awarding of engineering, procurement and construction contracts of Jubail Oil refinery. Including Saudi Aramco, a total of US$9.6 billion worth of contracts to develop the refinery in 13 packages will be awarded.
The construction sector has great potential for growth, as demand rises for residential, commercial, housing and institutional construction. The housing sector, in particular, is likely to grow, as the Saudi population is rising at a rate of 2.5 percent a year. Construction will also play a large part in the Kingdom’s massive industrial expansion through the National Industrial Cluster Development Program as well as in the completion of six Economic Cities. Saudi Arabia’s government budget reflects the importance of ongoing growth in the construction sector. Government spending is likely to remain aggressive in the sector, as the prices of commodities decrease due to the global economic downturn. Furthermore, according to industry experts, a revival in the Saudi economy in general, and in the construction sector in particular, is likely, as demand for projects continues to increase and as the financial climate improves.
The following are the top ten civil construction projects in Saudi Arabia under construction or in design.
1 . King Abdullah Economic City ($93 billion) Construction is underway by Emaar Economic City Company of a city along the Red Sea between Jeddah and Rabigh including a seaport, industrial, financial, resort areas, residential and educational zones.
2 . Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mousaed Economic City ($53 billion) Work is underway at Hail on a city to include a logistics centre, airport, an agricultural and entertainment zones, a mining city, a petrochemical zone, a business centre, an educational zone and a residential area. The project is expected to be completed by 2025.
3 . Jizan Economic City ($30 billion) Construction has begun on this city in southern Saudi Arabia close to the Yemeni border and will include a port, aluminium smelter, steel and copper processing, an oil refinery, fish processing and other industries; a business district, residential areas, marina, education and hospitality facilities.
4 . Jeddah Project Mile High Tower ($10 billion) The Kingdom Holding Company is designing a 1,600-meter skyscraper to form part of the Jeddah project, north of the city.
5 . Shamieh Project ($9.3 billion) This project in Makkah (Mecca) is will include residential apartments, commercial centres, hotels, schools, mosques, hospitals and related facilities, car parks and transport corridors to carry pilgrims. The development is located north of the Haram mosque in Makkah.
6 . Medina Knowledge Economic City ($7 billion) This project is under construction for Taiba Technological and Economic Information Centre, an interactive museum on the life of the prophet Mohammed, a center for the study of Islamic civilization, and a center for medical studies, biosciences and integrated medical services. It includes hotels and housing accommodating 200,000 people.
7 . Al-Zahira City ($4 billion) Design for this development on Palestine Road in east Jeddah includes 20,000 housing units and 150,000 square metres of surrounding gardens.
8 . Jabal Omar ($3.3 billion) This project currently in the planning stage in Mecca features 39 buildings including residential towers, offices tower, commercial centre and five-star hotels. The project will have 4,500 shops, 3,000 showrooms. The residential area is planned for 34,500 people, with an open prayer space for 85,000 worshipers, and prayer places in each tower with a capacity of more of the 200,000 thousand worshipers.
9 . Injaz ($3 billion) This mixed-use Dammam project is being designed on 3.3 million square metres of land on the Arabian Gulf.
1 0. Riyadh Marriland Leisure Park ($3 billion) This project will include an animal world, an equestrian center, a family entertainment park, a scientific and historical museum, an ecological resort, a golf course, a retail park, a high-tech park, a nature reserve, a hunting zone, an exhibition center, a diplomatic area, a man-made lagoon, hotels, and a media village.