UAE resumes work on $12bn stalled construction projects

New research by Deloitte also says a total of $83.5bn worth of projects will be delivered in 2014
UAE resumes work on $12bn stalled construction projects
GCC construction, Middle East construction
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 17 May 2014 10:22 AM

About $12bn worth of previously stalled construction projects have restarted in the UAE amid a strong sense of optimism across the Gulf region, Deloitte has said in a new report.

It said a total of $83.5bn worth of projects are set to be delivered in 2014 in the GCC - up from $70bn last year.

The figures, by Ventures Middle East, feature in the report on the market by accountancy firm Deloitte, which said that the regional construction industry is now valued at $1.3 trillion, with $938bn of projects in the pipeline and the remainder either already tendered, in design phases or under study.

Residential developments account for just over 43 percent of total completed projects, which is expected due to the region's rapid population growth and thus the governments' increased social infrastructure spends, the report said.

It added that the UAE and Saudi Arabia ranked in the top two positions for all construction sub-sectors apart from education and healthcare where Qatar held the top spot.

The report said the rail industry alone in the GCC could create 50,000 jobs with most nations creating or upgrading their rail networks. These consist of the multi-nation interconnected railway network along with metro and tram projects of which there are many, including the Riyadh Metro project, Etihad Rail, Qatar Rail and the upgrades to the Dubai metro.

Cynthia Corby, head of Deloitte's construction industry team for the Middle East, said government-led spending is likely to continue shaping the market due to a greater focus on infrastructure projects.

"With all this extra infrastructure spend, jobs will be generated, with some estimates claiming 30 percent of the potential 300,000 jobs created by Expo 2020 in the UAE alone is expected to be in the construction sector," she said.

"The Dubai government has also announced that all new and existing construction projects are going to be fast-tracked to be ready for 2020.

“The demand for skills and resources will, of course, increase and we would hope that a well-planned and phased development strategy will prevent the price for these resources and for talent from becoming disproportionately expensive,” she added.

The report said the UAE market is on track to reach the levels of investment last seen before the global recession, with 246km of new major roads scheduled for completion in 2017.

In Saudi Arabia, Deloitte said a large proportion of the high-value construction contracts awarded in Saudi Arabia in the last three years have been in the transport sector, particularly aviation and rail, and is set to award further substantial contracts in the transport sector over the next five years.

Deloitte's report said the Qatar government is preparing to spend in excess of $70bn, mainly on infrastructure and transport but also on hotels and stadia, in anticipation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Qatar Vision 2030.

Elsewhere, Deloitte said work is picking up in Kuwait and Bahrain but Oman is the one to watch after announcing $15.5bn of spending on rail at the end of 2013 as well as the construction of a new town in Duqm.

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