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Thu 6 Sep 2012 04:24 PM

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Saudi's Kingdom Tower has 'unbelievable' budget

Construction firm says considerable challenges faced in building world's tallest tower

Saudi's Kingdom Tower has 'unbelievable' budget

Australian construction company Grocon says that the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) faces a considerable challenge in meeting the timeframe and projected budget for the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah.

The proposed 1km-plus super-tall tower is scheduled for completion in 2017 at a total cost of US$1.2bn.

"I still do not understand, and I guess time will tell how they can aspire to build such a complicated building in that sort of timescale and at that price," says Grocon CEO, international, Jeremy Lester.

“We bid with Saudi Oger. The feedback we got was that our submission was the best thought-out and the most advanced. SBG then came and financed 25 percernt of the project, with a number for the construction and a timescale…" explains Lester.

"[We were told] we like this, it is really good, how do we take your technical capability and match it against SBG, and we said: well, we said: First of all, we do not believe the price and the time, and Saudi Oger is not prepared to be a financial partner in the project itself.

"We have done our best, and we are proud of that. It is just a different business. SBG is an extraordinary company and it has done some fantastic things.

They know their business. And if there was an opportunity to work with SBG in the future, we would be absolutely delighted to.”

Lester says that while Grocon is interested in Saudi Arabia as a potential market, “we just have not found the right project to get involved in.

"In Saudi Arabia, we have got to find a project and a developer as partner that shares our aspirations for doing something different and helps the industry evolve.”

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