Middle East's top 10 construction stories of 2015
Construction Week rounds up the GCC's top 10 events and stories from 2015
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.
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.
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
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
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
A shopping centre’s ceiling caved in in Doha, Qatar, hurting at least two shoppers and raising concerns about mall security in January 2015.
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
Three new labour rules are set to be implemented by the Ministry of Labour - and will take effect as of January 1, 2016.
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
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
A video released in September 2015 showed motorists taken by surprise as a building is demolished within close proximity of their vehicles.
Next page: Building a world cup
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.
Next page: Crane collapse conclusion
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.
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
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.