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CSCEC set to hand over Abu Dhabi's City of Lights

China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Middle East) tells Construction Week about its journey towards the completion of City of Lights, despite difficult conditions during the economic crisis of 2009

CSCEC ME continued working at the City of Lights development, even at the height of the financial crisis.
CSCEC ME continued working at the City of Lights development, even at the height of the financial crisis.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Middle East) (CSCEC ME) has told Construction Week that it never halted construction at Abu Dhabi’s delayed City of Lights project, even at the height of the financial crisis.

The contractor, which arrived at the Al Reem Island project back in April 2009, was originally due to complete five of Phase 1’s 14 towers by the end of 2011.

After more than six years at the site, CSCEC ME is finally ready to hand over the towers to developer, Tamouh.

Commenting on the project during an interview with Construction Week, Chen Zhonghua, the contractor’s deputy director and chief representative, recounted: “It was a 32-month contract – from May 2009 to December 2011.”

Despite rapid progress at the beginning of the project, Zhonghua went on to explain that the effects of the global economic downturn impacted progress soon after. In early 2010, both CSCEC ME and Tamouh began to experience cash flow-related problems.

“This slowed our progress considerably,” said Zhonghua. “It meant that we could only focus on sutructural construction because, at the time, [there wasn’t] sufficient finance to support other works. We focused solely on structural works, but nevertheless, we continued.

“A client has a responsibility to its investors. There needs to be progress; they need to see movement. This is why when it comes to CSCEC ME’s operations at the City of Lights, there have been no breaks.

“Work has been continuous we never completely suspended activities at the site. Yes, we slowed down, but work has been going on throughout these past years,” he explained.

Zhonghua added that it is only by dint of the strong working relationship built between CSCEC ME and Tamouh that the City of Lights project has been seen through to completion.

“We have an excellent relationship with Tamouh, which has supported us on this project every step of the way,” he commented.

“CSCEC ME never stops working on projects. This is our intention; to work closely with clients. We appreciate that sometimes, clients encounter problems, but we don’t want to leave jobs half done. Money has been invested, so it’s important to keep going,” Zhonghua concluded.

For our full-length interview with CSCEC ME, and further coverage of the City of Lights project, check out issue 570 of Construction Week.

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