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Sat 30 May 2009 12:32 PM

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Hospital builds total $14bn across Gulf despite crisis

Projects resume with cheaper materials after 2008 slowdown - conference organisers.

More than 100 hospitals are currently in the planning stages across the Middle East and Africa with an estimated $14bn being spent on healthcare projects in the Gulf alone, it was revealed on Saturday.

Building on healthcare projects had slowed towards the end of 2008 as the global crisis hit the region.

But, they have now resumed as a result in the fall in price of raw materials, according to the organisers of the upcoming Hospital Build conference in Dubai.  "Approximately US$14bn is being spent in the Arabian Gulf countries alone on new hospitals and healthcare facilities," said Simon Page, Group Director for Life Sciences at IIR Middle East.

"Towards the end of 2008, it was reported that some medical projects were postponed as a result of an increase in the cost of building materials.

"Now, however, the cost of steel and cement have tumbled - approximately 70 per cent and 22 per cent respectively - and many projects, such as the $1.9bn first phase of the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi and the $572m Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Academic Medical Centre in Dubai Healthcare City are progressing well," he added.

Environmentally–friendly projects are also going ahead, such as the redevelopment of Al Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi to offer 690 beds by architects Burt Hill.

Once complete the hospital will recycle waste water, use fibre-optic interior sun-lighting instead of electrical lighting, and generate electricity from solar panels.

"Burt Hill's position in markets such as healthcare, education and infrastructure has offered us a degree of stability during these economically challenging times," said Norman Soto, director of healthcare for the UAE, Burt Hill.  

Seven comprehensive conferences will run alongside the exhibition, 4-16 June 2009 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, including the Hospital Design and Upgrade event.

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