Revealed: Orascom-Besix's progress on Grand Egyptian Museum

EXCLUSIVE: Project director for museum's Phase 3 tells CW that JV aims to complete majority of building work by end-2019

Grand Egyptian Museum's construction site.
© AP Photo / Amr Nabil
Grand Egyptian Museum's construction site.

Overall construction progress has hit 93% at the Grand Egyptian Museum project, which is being built by Belgian construction giant Besix with its 50% owner, Egyptian contracting heavyweight Orascom Construction, the project director for Phase 3 of the project – located next to Egypt’s Giza pyramids in Cairo – told Construction Week.

Speaking during a visit to the site, Laurens Schokking told Construction Week that concrete and steel works had respectively hit the 98% and 99% progress rate.

Mechanical, engineering, and plumbing works at the museum – which includes a main building; a main square; and the Ramses hall, featuring the 3,200-year-old statue of King Ramses II, weighing 75 tonnes – currently stands at 84%.

Schokking said finishes were 96% complete, adding that the Besix-Orascom joint venture was aiming to complete “the majority of the building work by the end of this year”.

Grand Egyptian Museum is being built in three phases, with Phases 1 and 2 – which included the construction of its conservation and energy centres – already complete.

The Besix-Orascom joint venture won the tender for Phase 3 – also called GEM 3, including construction of the main museum – in 2012.

Outlining additional contract details, Schokking said: “The only thing that is not in our scope is the placement of the artefacts. This is fully done by the client and the conservation team. 

“We still have our maintenance period and defect liability period where we can do snagging work, or when something breaks down, we will then have to fix it. But, in principle, we will hand over the key, they install the artefacts, and it’s [the Egyptian government's].”

 “Our client on the project is the Ministry of State for Antiquities, but [...] Supreme Council of Antiquities is actually dealing with this project, and their representative comes from the armed forces – the Engineering Authority of Armed Forces.”

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Construction Week - Issue 765
Jun 29, 2020