Everything you need to know about Expo 2020 Dubai

The following feature contains full details of the in-depth progress report delivered by Expo 2020’s Paul Stevens at CW: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2016

The following feature contains everything you need to know about the development of the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South, UAE.
The following feature contains everything you need to know about the development of the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South, UAE.

With just over four years to go before Expo 2020 kicks off, work is now well underway at the event’s site in Dubai South, UAE.

Paul Stevens, vice president for delivery at Expo 2020, presented an in-depth progress report for attendees of Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2016, as part of his keynote speech.

During the course of his presentation, Stevens revealed numerous details, including the current state of construction, the future development timeline, health and safety, procurement activities, and the event’s long-term legacy.

In the following feature, Construction Week outlines everything you need to know about progress at the future site of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Located in Dubai South, the future site of Expo 2020 occupies an area of 4.38km2 – equivalent to Disneyland California.

Approximately 4.6 million cubic metres of sand have been excavated so far – the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors to Dubai – the population of Australia. 70% of these visitors will be international, making this the most global World’s Fair in history.

At peak, the Expo 2020 site will be able to accommodate 300,000 people per day, including event staff.

The site will provide a showcase for more than 200 countries, companies, and non-government organisations (NGOs).

The initial development of Expo 2020’s Dubai South site began in September 2015. Preparation activities at the site have already been completed, as have early works.

The first infrastructure package for Expo 2020 has been awarded, and is currently being mobilised. This initial package is scheduled to complete by April 2018.

Expo 2020’s second infrastructure package is due to be awarded in October 2016.

The final infrastructure package, to be awarded in mid-2017, will include the venue’s surface road network.

Commenting on Expo 2020’s development timeline, Stevens commented: “2016 is a year of design, including the public realm, specialist sideline elements, and the three thematic districts. [Work is] well underway; an effort led by a team of both international and local consultants.

“In addition, [base] procurement packages will be awarded in 2016 to support the development of the exhibition centre and [its structure].”

Stevens added that 2017 will be the year in which “construction momentum really builds”.

In 2018, exhibitors will be able to begin working on their pavilions within the Expo 2020 site.

The majority of construction works will complete in 2019 and, in early 2020, the site will be opened up for test events and training activities.

The Expo 2020 site will open its doors on 20 October, 2020.

The procurement process for companies wishing to bid for work on Expo 2020 has been designed with transparency in mind.

In order to bid for work at the Expo 2020 site, businesses must register via the event’s online procurement portal.

The Expo 2020 team uses this portal to host an up-to-date list of upcoming tenders. This approach allows the team to notify interested parties about relevant opportunities, and how work is progressing.

So far, more than 8,000 local and international companies have registered on Expo 2020’s procurement portal.

More than 3,000 of the businesses registered on the portal are small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

To date, approximately 40% of Expo 2020’s orders have been awarded to SMEs – a trend that Stevens described as key to his team’s expert engagement strategy.

Around one fifth of Expo 2020’s total direct and indirect spend, representing a figure of more than $1.36bn (AED5bn), will be allocated to SMEs, both local and international.

Legacy – infrastructure
Expo 2020 will leave a lasting legacy for the UAE and the wider Middle East, according to Stevens.

“We aim to foster innovation and to create meaningful partnerships that will live far beyond 2020, not only for the UAE but for the region as a whole,” he told attendees.

To achieve this goal, his team will use a series of programmes, including Youth Connect, Business Connect, and Expo Live. The latter – a collaborative entrepreneurship initiative – will make use of a $112.3m (EUR100m) fund to promote global innovations with the potential to improve lives.

More than 80% of Expo 2020’s investments will be retained following the event. Aspects of the infrastructure, buildings, technologies, and transport systems that will be necessary for the event will all be used once the exhibition has concluded.

Expo 2020 legacy planners have identified four high-priority strategic industries [for the project]: education, transport and logistics, travel and tourism, and real estate. These sectors were selected due to their potential to facilitate the UAE’s long-term economic diversification.

Following the event, Expo 2020’s thematic districts, which will host the majority of country pavilions, will become collaborative workspaces for companies of all sizes, along with social and cultural institutions.

Expo 2020’s themed pavilions, the designs of which were unveiled earlier this year, will also be reused. The conference and exhibition centre will become a major event venue operated by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Legacy – economy
Expo 2020 is forecast to contribute approximately $19.1bn (AED70.15bn) in gross value to the UAE’s economy during the course of its development and operational phases.

The event is expected to sustain more than 207,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.

Commenting on additional benefits that will result from Expo 2020, Stevens said: “Beyond the direct and indirect benefits of delivering the mega event, and attracting tourism, Expo 2020 Dubai will support the UAE economy over the long term,

“Our plan is for the Expo 2020 site to become an anchor for Dubai’s developing knowledge economy.

“Secondly, the [event] will bring together more than 200 countries and companies here in the UAE, stimulating inward investment.

“Thirdly, the Expo 2020 development is an important part of Dubai South, an entirely new city.

“Finally, projects like Expo 2020 are part of the creative conditions required for an innovative, modern, diversified economy,” he added.

Stevens summed up by alluding to some of the cultural benefits that Expo 2020 will deliver.

“This is a project like no other; an opportunity not only for Dubai and the UAE to show the world what they’re capable of, but for the world to come together in Dubai to glimpse the future,” he explained.

“We live in a highly connected world, and change is almost constant. Today, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no hotels; the largest software providers do not write the apps that they sell; the number-one retailer stocks no products; and the most popular media organisation in the world creates no content.

“The first World Expo in London in 1851 marked the culmination of the industrial revolution. Expo 2020 Dubai will mark the culmination of the connection revolution: connected minds creating the future together.

“It’s a huge privilege and responsibility to be working with a dedicated team to deliver a site that reflects the vision and continues to play a role in realising the UAE’s aspirations for years after Expo 2020 has finished. I’m excited and proud to be part of Expo 2020,” Stevens concluded.

Most popular


Deadline approaches for CW Oman Awards 2020 in Muscat
You have until 20 January to submit your nominations for the ninth edition of the


CW In Focus | Inside the Leaders in KSA Awards 2019 in Riyadh
Meet the winners in all 10 categories and learn more about Vision 2030 in this
CW In Focus | Leaders in Construction Summit UAE 2019
A roundup of Construction Week's annual summit that was held in Dubai this September

Latest Issue

Construction Week - Issue 765
Jun 29, 2020