Al Fara'a, Wates spy new year Abu Dhabi schools

Joint venture keeps tabs on 15 projects after brace of contract wins

The JV will consider the full spectrum of school projects, says Gangaramani
The JV will consider the full spectrum of school projects, says Gangaramani

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Al Fara’a and Wates are eyeing the next wave of new school builds in Abu Dhabi from the beginning of next year to gain on their two projects already won as a joint venture.

Executives at the two firms, which this summer saw them snap up contracts for renovating the British School in Al Khubairet and constructing an Aldar Academy, said it is ready to broaden its options.

“We’re looking at opportunities at the full spectrum of education, from kindergarten to university,” said Chimanlal Gangaramani, vice chairman of Al Fara’a Integrated Construction Group, the UAE contractor, in an interview with ConstructionWeek.

“This is reflected in the tenders right now and the pre-tender discussion. [Developers] often want our combined expertise in discussing the design concept, discussing and materials, build-ability issues, how to construct something in a quicker, better, more efficient way.

“Abu Dhabi is due to bring out another tranche of schools for the first quarter of next year so could be another potential 15 new-build schools.”

Al Fara’a General Contracting made the initial approach to Surrey, UK –based Wates two-and-a-half years ago on the back of demands from many government projects to tender in the form of an international joint venture. Wates was registered in the emirate in October 2009 and set up its office in December.

The joint venture won its first two projects in June and July this year. The upgrade of the British School, a AED65 million contract, began in July and will continue for two years in two phases. The construction of the Aldar Academy, in Al Bateen, will be completed in a year’s time.

Gangaramani described the innovative design of the Aldar Academy – which has a central courtyard to encourage greater interaction between students – as an “engineering marvel”.

Matthew Kennedy, Wates Middle East director, added that the Aldar project increased market interest in the joint venture. “There has been reaction and we do have ‘line of sight’ on some opportunities with some very mixed clients.”

Gangaramani also revealed that Al Fara’a is bidding for two projects on the upcoming Sir baniyas Island development.

Read the full interview in the print edition of Construction Week, coming soon.

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