Saudi Arabia 2012
During January 2012, the GLCM team traveled to Saudi Arabia to visit a variety of companies such as Saudi Binladin Group, Platinum Construction Company, and Dar Al Handasah. At Saudi Binladin Group, the team was introduced to three of the company's divisions - the Architectural and Building Construction Division (known as ABCD), the Public Buildings and Airport Division (PBAD), and the Al Haramain Division. These companies provided insight into the local construction market and the group had the opportunity to explore various projects with these companies.
The projects visited during the GLCM team visit to Saudi Arabia included:
1. Al-Shamiyah Haram Extension Project: The main aim of this project is to increase the capacity of pilgrims visiting the Holy Mosque in Makkah from 600,000 to over 2,000,000 people. This project is considered a landmark project for the Muslim world. Started at the beginning of 2011, it is expected to be finished by 2020. The allocated budget for this project was initially set at $30B, but the cost is expected to exceed $40B.
2. Madina Haram Extension Project: This project is expected to increase the existing size and capacity of the existing Holy Mosque to more than 5 times its current size. This project was planned to start in 2013 and end in 2020 as well. The allocated budget for this project is $40B.
3. Development of King Abdulaziz Endowment: This Project consists of 5 towers centered around one larger clock-tower with a face 42M in diameter, making it the worlds largest clock. This project started in 2007 and was to be finished in 2012. The allocated budget for this project was $8B.
4. King Abdulaziz International Airport: This new airport is intended to replace the oldest airport in Saudi Arabia. It is considered one of the most technologically advanced airports in the world. This project started in 2010 and is intended to finish in 2018. The allocated budget for this project is $7B.
5. Haramain Highspeed Railway Makkah Station: This project is a part of the first public transportation system to connect the country together. The railway goes through more than 8 major cities with the project starting in 2012 and projected to end in 2018.
6. Abraj Kudai Project: This project will be the largest hotel in the world consisting of more than 12 towers. The project is still in the design phase estimated to start in 2014 with no end date yet.
7. Kingdom Tower: This masterpiece is designed to be the world's longest tower. Initially, it was designed to be a mile-high tower, but the final design is for 1,008 meters (this is more than twice as high as the Empire State building). This project started at the beginning of 2011 with no end date for now.
The GLCM visit to these companies and projects provided insights into current and future country conditions. Saudi Arabia’s construction economy is based on Mega Projects, a system not typically found in any other country. It was also noted that this construction industry has progressed ahead of its time, using engineering techniques not yet globally adopted, such as BIM.