Builders cheer Abu Dhabi’s development plan

Construction companies are reacting with cautious optimism at news
the Abu Dhabi Government is ready to restart billions of dollars worth
of projects.

Dozens of projects in the pipeline were under review for most of last
year, leaving builders in limbo. Many shifted personnel and resources
to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where work was going forward.

“The indication of pushing ahead is a positive message,” said Chris
Gordon, the group general manager of Habtoor Leighton Group. “There is
quite a backlog of work that would have been awarded in the second half
of 2011.”

The Executive Council confirmed funding for a wide variety of
projects, primarily focusing on infrastructure, health care and
education. Big-ticket items included a 700,000 square metre terminal for
the Abu Dhabi International Airport, and a budget and timetable for
construction of the three primary museums on Saadiyat Island, including
the Louvre, which is now scheduled to open in 2015.

Construction companies were already engaged on most of the projects; many had already been put out to bid.

“There were no projects that we didn’t know about,” said David
Barwell, the chief executive, Middle East, for Aecom. “I’m pleased to
see now there is some financial commitment going toward them.”

But there were some notable omissions in the Executive Council’s
announcement, including any mention of the Capital District, a central
element of the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030.

The Capital District is intended to cover 45 sq kilometres and serve as the centre for the federal government.

“I thought we’d be hearing something about the Capital District,” Mr Barwell said.

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Article by Links Group on Jan 29th 2012

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