China contractors quit KSA: attitude too different

Industry representatives question Sino-Arabian compatibility

High profile Sino-Arabian talks in January between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the Speaker of the Majlis Ash-Shura Council Abdullah Al-Sheikh
High profile Sino-Arabian talks in January between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the Speaker of the Majlis Ash-Shura Council Abdullah Al-Sheikh

A number of Chinese contracting companies have pulled out of the Saudi construction market and quit government and private construction projects, after facing difficulties executing construction projects in accordance with the Kingdom's rules and regulations, according to the Dammam-based Al-Yaum news.

“The style of construction in China is vertical whereas here it is horizontal," said Abdullah Al-Ammar, deputy chairman of the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI), adding that Chinese contractors have failed in a number of projects and delayed others due to the difference between projects in Saudi Arabia and China.

“Recent events have shown us that Chinese contractors were not serious in implementing high-quality buildings,” said Abdullah Al-Sayed, a member of EPCCI's Environment Committee and CEO at Arabian Fal, attributing the failure to updated systems and the high quality building materials now being used in construction projects.

Al-Sayed said that when Chinese contractors were asked to improve the quality, they argued that the costs were too high and asked for amendments to be made to their contracts. "This put their prices on par with their American and European counterparts, which are far more experienced and produce high quality buildings. They also offer superior after service sales."

Asked about the substitutes for the runaway Chinese contractors, Al-Sayed said Saudi construction companies had taken over most of the projects.

"We have to restore confidence in our own companies which are capable of carrying out high quality construction projects. It is our duty to support Saudi construction companies on condition that they totally commit themselves to industry standards and specifications," said Al-Sayed.

Abdullah Al-Hazza, a member of EPCCI's Contracting Committee, said low cost leads to low quality and called for more support to be extended to national construction companies.

"If you want high quality, you have to pay for it. Our national companies have a lot of experience and better knowledge of the construction industry, which is a great contributor to GDP," said Al-Hazza.


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