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Tue 20 Jan 2009 03:09 PM

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UAE construction company to create 500 jobs

EXCLUSIVE: US firm reveals plan to expand workforce in Abu Dhabi by 50%.

US consulting and construction company CH2M Hill is to employ up to another 500 staff at its Abu Dhabi operations in the next 12-18 months to manage major infrastructure projects in the emirate, according to a senior director of the firm on Tuesday.

CH2M Hill will grow its staffing levels by up to 50 percent as operations commence fully on contracts it has secured with the government, said John Parry, business development director, for the firm’s Middle East water business group. “A lot of big programmes we are involved in have just started so we only have a small team in the planning and the feasibility stage, but when they go into actual construction and development we will significantly increase resources,” he said on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

The company has three key long-term contracts with divisions of the Abu Dhabi government.

It is programme manager for the $22 billion green project Masdar City and in October 2008 won a 10 year contract from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to become the managing agent for the UAE’s civil nuclear power programme.

It is also overseeing the building of a 45km-long deep sewerage tunnel on behalf of Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.

In addition, CH2M Hill is in charge of engineering, procurement and construction of three desalination plants in Sharjah, which will produce 18 million gallons per day of potable water once complete.

It also has smaller projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Parry said the firm had for the most part managed to avoid any impact from a slow down in the private construction sector in the region by focusing its relationships and business on key clients, which were arms of governments.

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Stephen 11 years ago

This is very welcome news for those of us who are involved/working in construction. The last few months have been very tough with friends and colleagues being retrenched, and so many companies feeling the pinch of the credit crunch. It's nice to see good news for once, not all the recession doom and gloom that has been commonplace on Arabian Business.com the last few months..

Lorna 11 years ago

I agree with Stephen that this is a positive news story but it is fairly unique. Lets just temper this news with the other news today that Carillion are cutting 400 staff or nearly 20% of their workforce in Dubai and Atkins are losing 170 from Dubai or 10% of their people. Troubled times or just an indication that foreign construction companies tried to grow to big and too fast sucked along by the mirage that was Dubai?

Nita 11 years ago

All these types of positive notes are just mock. What Lorna was posted right. I belong to a leading construction company in dubai in a senior position. We had a lay off 20% last month and expecting another list by the end of this month of almost 30-40%. Media is throwing aways flattery news just to make their product sale, actual scenario and realty is a nightmare. Please media should give the news about the realty so that the public can plan for their future reasonably.

iPaw 11 years ago

Dubai's not a mirage but a test ground for Abu Dhabi. The capital let Dubai grow, try, experiment, play. Learnt from its experiences, and not gonna replay the same mistakes. It's focusing on culture, renewable sources of energy etc. etc. Basically, playing it very long term.

Paul 11 years ago

Nita, I don't doubt this story is true as I recently moved offices in Internet City and these guys were looking at taking my old office and retain their existing ones in the building. But I agree that it is probably not representative of most companies involved in construction. Maybe infrastructure is the best part of construction to be in now, as it is less dependent on the whim of the market than residential and office construction. But I don't think it is indicative that things are on the up here as the vast majority of construction has dried up and I suspect will not improve for years.

gabby 11 years ago

fair enough, hoping that the company will not give an excuse if they can't provide proper accomodation because of the credit crunch and i bet also that they will not delay the salary because of the crisis. that would be a very valid excuse again especially in this time.