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A big year for construction.

The UAE construction sector is enjoying its biggest year since 2010, with over $10 billion worth of projects awarded so far in 2013, the latest data by regional project tracking database Meed Projects has revealed.

Meed Projects also reported that it is probable that the value of projects awarded in the UAE will exceed 2012's $13 billion. This is still some way behind 2010's $19 billion, but more significant is that the value of contracts awarded in Dubai has been higher than that in Abu Dhabi for two years in a row, exceeding the $6 billion mark in 2012 and probably again in 2013 -- levels higher than in any year since 2008.

Meed Projects further revealed that the UAE's biggest single contract, worth $653 million for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, was the 14th-biggest award in the construction and transport sectors in the GCC. In a top 20 dominated by government ministries or agencies, the UAE's Mers and the Tourism Development & Investment Company are the 13th- and 15th-ranked clients respectively with $735 million and $653 million of awards, respectively.

"What the data shows is that the UAE construction sector is enjoying its biggest year since 2010. With over $10 billion worth of awards so far in 2013, this year's total for the UAE will exceed 2012's $13 billion. Even more significant is that the value of civil construction contracts scheduled for awarding over the next few years is at $250 billion -- the highest level since the 2009 crash," said Julian Herbert, director of Meed Projects.

"So Expo 2020, should it be awarded, is an international endorsement of and testament to the strength of Dubai and the wider UAE as a tourism and logistics hub, and it will surely deliver a further boost to the UAE construction sector. But irrespective of the award, the UAE construction projects market has established a clear trajectory independent of the possible award of Expo," Herbert added.

In addition, Meed Projects also informed that contracts worth $76 billion have been awarded for projects in the construction and transport sectors in the GCC in 2013 year-to-date. Over 42 per cent of this total amount was awarded by two clients, Qatar Rail and ATA for five packages of the Doha Metro and three of the Riyadh Metro projects.

These eight contracts, worth an estimated $31.5 billion, ranked ATA and Qatar Rail first and second, respectively, on the list of clients to award contracts in 2013 and makes Saudi Arabia the biggest market in the GCC for construction and transport awards this year.

The third-ranked client is the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior, with four contracts worth $6.2 billion for four packages of the King Abdullah Programme. The top 12 awards contributed 53 per cent of total awards in the GCC year-to-date.

Contracting consortiums dominate the list of the top 10 ranked contractors, reflecting the size and complexity of contracts being awarded across the region. Seven of the 10 biggest contracts were awarded to consortiums: three for Riyadh LTR and four for the Doha Metro.

All of the 10 biggest contract awards are for projects in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. The dominance of these two transport megaprojects is revealed in the contractor ranking, where 15 of the top 20 main contractors have benefitted from being part of a winning consortium on either Doha Metro or Riyadh Metro. Seventeen of the top 20 all have total contract values in excess of $1 billion.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Nov 26, 2013
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