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Middle East's top 10 construction stories of 2015

Construction Week rounds up the GCC's top 10 events and stories from 2015

Saudi Arabia cancelled a $201m Spanish rail contract.
Saudi Arabia cancelled a $201m Spanish rail contract.
Abraj Kudai was announced to be built in Makkah.
Abraj Kudai was announced to be built in Makkah.
Doha Metro formed part of Ashghal's 2015 plans.
Doha Metro formed part of Ashghal's 2015 plans.
A roof collapse incident at Doha Mall sparked HSE concerns.
A roof collapse incident at Doha Mall sparked HSE concerns.
The UAE confirmed an updated labour law to take effect in 2016.
The UAE confirmed an updated labour law to take effect in 2016.
Qatar delayed the Sharq Crossing project in 2015.
Qatar delayed the Sharq Crossing project in 2015.
A video highlighted the dangers of construction.
A video highlighted the dangers of construction.
Construction teams for 2022 FIFA World Cup were revealed.
Construction teams for 2022 FIFA World Cup were revealed.
The Makkah crane collapse was attributed to SBG.
The Makkah crane collapse was attributed to SBG.
Kingdom Tower was confirmed to comprise 252 floors.
Kingdom Tower was confirmed to comprise 252 floors.

The year 2015 witnessed phenomenal construction growth in the GCC and wider Middle East region, even as oil prices tumbled to drastically low levels during the year. 

Qatar ruled the headlines with its consistent updates about the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup and supporting infrastructure development. 

Saudi Arabia was also in the news in light of its response to fluctuating oil prices. 

Construction Week Online rounds up the top 10 events and stories the region witnessed in 2015.

This list has been compiled based on the total page views accrued by each story between 1 January and 20 December, 2015, across Construction Week Online's web and mobile platforms. 

10. Saudi Arabia cancels $201m Spanish rail contract

Spanish train manufacturer Talgo announced Saudi Arabia has cancelled a contract for six high-speed trains, which it had signed with the manufacturer in February 2015 for $201m.

It is likely that Saudi Arabia is scaling back on its infrastructure projects in light of global fluctuating oil prices and uncertainties in its contracting market.

Talgo had been handed the contract following a feasibility study into building a high-speed rail line between Riyadh and Dammam.

Next page: A hospitality marvel under construction in Makkah

9. World's biggest hotel to open in KSA

Abraj Kudai was revealed as the world's biggest hotel in May 2014. 

Upon construction, the hotel will offer 10,000 rooms in 12 separate towers.

The Saudi Binladin Group holds the main construction contract, and work on the $3.5 billion hospitality project has already started.

Next page: Qatar's 2015 contract record

8. Qatar's record $30bn construction projects in 2015

Contracts worth $30bn were reportedly set for announcement in Qatar during 2015. 

National authority Ashghal led the way with the highest valued deals planned for the year.

Included within Qatar's contractual remit were projects such as the $5bn-plus Al-Karaana petrochemical complex and the $2bn-plus rolling stock and systems contract on the Doha Metro.

Next page: Mall roof collapse sheds light on HSE

7. Doha mall roof collapse sparks security concerns

A shopping centre’s ceiling caved in in Doha, Qatar, hurting at least two shoppers and raising concerns about mall security in January 2015. 

The mall’s head of security, Ahmed Hassna, said that two people, including a baby, had been hurt in the incident.

A shopper added: “The security were great, they got everyone away from the area and were quick in doing so. Then the alarms went off and everyone was ushered out of the mall.”

Next page: Labour law updates announced

6. New UAE labour rules to be implemented Jan 2016

Three new labour rules are set to be implemented by the Ministry of Labour - and will take effect as of January 1, 2016.

The new rules relate to the application of ministry-approved contracts, conditions for terminating employees and granting workers labour permits to work for new employers, Gulf News reported.

Saqr Ghobash, UAE's labour minister, underlined that the new changes will enhance the labour market across the country by encouraging more flexible labour mobility for workers.

Next page: Qatar's big construction delay

5. Qatar: $12bn Sharq Crossing programme delayed

After reducing the number of stadia for the World Cup 2022 down from 12 to eight, Qatar revealed the first major delay to its massive infrastructure program, supposed to be completed in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to local sources, the $12bn Sharq Crossing Programme has been put on the back burner and is not included in the government’s recently released priority list for the next seven years.

Next page: Watch construction risks in action

4. Video: Crane collapse shows construction dangers

A video released in September 2015 showed motorists taken by surprise as a building is demolished within close proximity of their vehicles.

This footage highlights the dangerous lack of security precautions adhered to during demolitions in the region.

Next page: Building a world cup 

3. Who's building Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums?

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) announced in August 2015 that it would decide how many stadiums it intends to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in, by the end of this year.

In the meantime, Construction Week rounded up the contracting and consulting firms picked to construct the five stadiums Qatari organisers had announced already

Next page: Crane collapse conclusion

2. Probe implicates SBG in Makkah crane collapse

Incorrect positioning by operator, Saudi Binladin Group (SBG), has been cited as "part responsible" for the Grand Mosque crane collapse in Makkah which killed 109 pilgrims in September 2015.

Investigations into the fatal incident ruled out mechanical fault.

In the event, the manufacturer dispatched both “local Liebherr experts and experts from the Ehingen manufacturing plant [to assist] on site”, Wolfgang Beringer told PMV Middle East, noting: “As the manufacturer, Liebherr will do everything in its power to help bring the accident investigation to a speedy and logical conclusion.”

Next page: A kilometre high in the sky

1. Saudi's 1km-high Kingdom Tower to have 252 floors

The 1km-high Kingdom Tower is an engineering feat that, according to project’s handlers, “has challenged mankind to outdo himself” - and calls into question whether it really is possible to build even higher in the future. 

An official told Construction Week in March 2015 that the tower will have approximately 89 more floors than the 163-floor Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and will also offer the world’s highest observation deck.

 

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Construction Week - Issue 747
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