A source familiar with the project stated: “The tower, exceeding 1,000 metres in height, is now in full swing.”
The developer has initiated the process of soliciting bids from contractors for the project’s completion, with a deadline for bids set for the end of this year. Kingdom Holding Company CEO Talal Ibrahim Almaiman confirmed the issuance of the official tender when contacted by MEED.
The companies invited to bid for the contract include:
China Harbour (China)
China State Construction Engineering Corporation (China)
Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC – Lebanon)
El-Seif Engineering Contracting (local)
Hyundai Engineering Construction (South Korea)
Mohammed Abdulmohsin al-Kharafi & Sons (Kuwait)
Nesma & Partners (local)
Samsung C+T (South Korea)
Saudi Freyssinet (local)
Contractors have been granted a three-month window to prepare their bids, with the expectation that these firms will establish partnerships involving both local and international participants. Notably, site visits have been conducted by the contractors.
Before issuing the tender, JEC took the initiative to commission an impartial assessment of the structure. The foundational and piling work for the groundbreaking tower has been successfully completed.
The construction of the tower’s superstructure, which commenced in the early 2010s with the local Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) as the contractor, has now achieved one-third completion. The piling work for the tower was skillfully executed by Germany’s Bauer.
JEC has initiated the process of invoking the performance guarantees or bonds provided by SBG, with these bonds totaling $174 million (SR653 million), as confirmed by a source closely connected to the project. Almaiman, the developer, has also confirmed the exercise of contractual rights after granting the contractor a five-year window for re-engagement.
Although SBG is no longer the project’s contractor, the consulting team remains consistent. The architect is Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill, headquartered in the United States, and the engineering consultant is Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) from Lebanon.
JEC’s shareholder makeup includes the Kingdom Holding Company, holding a 40% stake, the Bakhsh Group, also with a 40% stake, and the Sharbatly Group, possessing a 20% share.
Jeddah Tower is on track to exceed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa by an impressive 172 metres in height, making it the centerpiece of the Jeddah Economic City development. The initial phase of the project, encompassing the main tower, spans an expansive 1.5 square kilometres.
We Expect A Lot From Our Buildings — How Do International Codes Assure Sustainability?
Today, society faces 3 major challenges in the built environment: ensuring building safety, improving sustainability, and addressing our affordable housing crisis.
May is Building Safety Month. Up-to-date international codes can make communities more equipped to endure increasingly frequent and severe weather events, improve sustainability, and address the affordable housing crisis. This year, innovation and collaboration are evolving due to the increasing frequency and severity of global weather events. All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events, and structural collapse.
It seemed to make sense to learn more about how modern and innovative international building codes address these imperatives, how code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe, and how the International Code Council is enabling the flow of innovative policies and practices around the world to improve the built environment.
Q: Thanks for making yourself available to answer some questions. For those unfamiliar with the International Code Council, why is it in existence, and what effect has it had on cities and towns across the globe?
Dominic Sims, CEO of the International Code Council, Photo provided by International Code Council
The International Code Council was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated model building codes. The mission of the Code Council is to steward the development process for model codes that benefit public safety and support the industry’s need for one set of codes without regional limitations. We are a member-focused association with members from across building industries who come together to participate in our democratic and transparent process to develop the most widely used set of building safety codes and standards in the world – the International Codes® (I-Codes®).
Our technical staff works closely with legislators and code officials to help jurisdictions implement the most appropriate set of codes for their specific regions.
Q: I’m struck by the call for reciprocity toward improving sustainability and addressing the affordable housing crisis. These 2 objectives seem not to be related. Might you offer some insights into their symbiosis?
We expect a lot of our buildings. They are complex systems that have broad ranging impacts on our lives and communities. They protect us from hazards, influence our health, and impact our environment. Finding the balance across all these expectations while maintaining affordability is challenging, but the Code Council and governments must navigate these complexities.
Housing affordability is particularly important for low and moderate income households. These households are often the hardest hit by disasters — many of which are exacerbated by climate change — and lack the resources for post-disaster recovery. At the same time, they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on utility bills — in some places 3 times as much as the average household. When we talk about housing affordability, it’s not just whether we can get someone in a house but whether they can afford to stay there.
The International Code Council is currently the only code development organization that actively considers cost as an element of the code development process. Through the code development, process stakeholders from across the building industry come together to identify the best practices for safety and sustainability while ensuring the resulting buildings remain affordable and accessible to broad populations. Naturally, individual communities have their own perspectives on priorities for their building stock. The Code Council provides communities with tools to achieve those priorities from model codes that capture the current consensus to stretch codes that can assist communities in going beyond minimum-level requirements.
Q: May is Building Safety Month. What should our readers know about the need to adopt modern, regularly-updated building codes?
Today, society faces 3 major challenges in the built environment: ensuring building safety, improving sustainability, and addressing our affordable housing crisis. Modern and innovative international codes are society’s first line of defense to address these imperatives. One of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard communities against natural disasters is to build using hazard-resistant building codes.
FEMA studies show that every dollar invested in the adoption of modern building codes provides 11 times more in savings by reducing casualties, lowering the cost of building damage and helping communities get back on their feet faster by minimizing indirect costs such as business interruptions and lost income. We want to emphasize to all communities the importance of adopting modern building codes and stress the critical importance of continued inspection and enforcement to keep buildings and their occupants safe and healthy. We also encourage local governments to fund their building departments to support the needed level of maintenance inspections.
The formula for success in implementing and supporting modern building codes and inspections is simple: staff, train, and finance.
Q: How is the building industry working to increase water efficiency through innovative practices and technologies — not just domestically but worldwide?
Logo provided by ICC
Innovation and collaboration must evolve due to global weather events’ increasing frequency and severity. There are many examples of countries in water-scarce areas that are innovating to increase water efficiency. Those involved in the code development process can draw best practices from the following examples across the globe:
Israel is leading the world through its policies, practices, and technologies for its water resources and conservation, most notably through reclaiming over 80% of its wastewater and stormwater for agricultural operation.
Saudi Arabia boasts the highest production of desalinated water worldwide (the country removes salt out of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf) and is in the process of converting its desalination plants to solar.
Cape Town, South Africa is incorporating automated domestic water metering installations to set a target water usage for each resident per day, leveraging alternative water sources, and updating their supply network infrastructure.
The United Kingdom is cutting water use through water metering, incentives for water-saving technologies, hosepipe bans, and investing in updating the country’s water supply equipment.
The North China Plain has addressed increasing agricultural demands on water through increased monitoring, institutionalized water conservation practices, ground leveling, and more efficient drainage and irrigation sprinklers.
Q: How does Building Safety Month address some of the issues that we face as a global community, including extreme weather events and water scarcity?
Clean water is the world’s most precious commodity, and public health depends on safe and readily available water. The World Health Organization estimates over two billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to worsen in some regions due to a changing climate and population growth. Water conservation and efficiency issues have become crucial conversations amongst building safety professionals in recent years. Building Safety Month raises awareness about these issues by reinforcing the need to adopt modern, regularly-updated building codes, and helps individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.
Q: What additional details or insights might you provide on how we can institute these best practices in the US?
There is currently no national standard on maintenance and inspection. Individual states follow their own enforcement procedures to seek out, modify, adopt and enforce their own building codes and standards. Currently adopted codes, which local jurisdictions can, and do, modify on a case-by-case basis, may or may not include provisions for building re-inspections and maintenance requirements. The International Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC®) established minimum requirements for the maintenance of existing buildings through model code regulations that contain clear and specific maintenance and property improvement provisions. The latest edition is fully compatible with the International Building Code® (IBC®).
Every jurisdiction needs to understand what their specific regional needs are so that their building, maintenance, and re-inspections codes have appropriately specific provisions for the natural, environmental, and emergency conditions more prevalent in their area (e.g., Florida hurricanes, Kansas tornadoes, California earthquakes and wildfires).
The building sector can address pressing environmental problems by leveraging two major trends: circular economy and digital technologies. Circular building practices emphasize restorative design principles, which can significantly reduce the amount of virgin material used and the environmental footprint of buildings. When combined with digital technologies, circular practices can achieve even higher environmental benefits. Such technologies enable visualization of the environmental impact along the entire value chain, facilitating smart design, production, and use to increase material- and eco-efficiency. However, realizing the full potential of these trends requires more than just technological advancements. Institutional, behavioral, and socio-economic system changes are essential to effect a transition towards a circular and digital economy. To facilitate such a transition, a new form of governance is needed, in which network governance complements conventional public governance. Network governance fosters the formation of coalitions of willing partners that jointly strive towards the goal of system change, creating a fertile ground for a new economic paradigm, behavioral change, government regulation and innovation. The effectiveness of network governance in supporting public governance depends on the specific socio-cultural and political context of a country. However, a thoughtful application of this governance model can facilitate the building sector’s journey towards greater material- and environmental efficiency.
The building sector is confronted with the imperative of accelerating its environmental performance. Currently, building and construction generate 36 percent of global energy consumption, produce 40 percent of waste and account for roughly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide1. To tackle these environmental challenges, the building sector must capture the opportunity that two major trends provide: digital technologies and the circular economy. This article explains why these trends can be critical for mitigating the environmental impact of the building sector and outlines strategies for how their implementation can be achieved and accelerated.
The application of digital technologies can benefit the building sector by making the building process more material- and eco-efficient2. A broad field of digital technologies are available and continuously scaling, including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, cyber physical systems, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality3. However, the building sector has just begun to adopt these emerging technologies. Integrating these technologies into daily work processes would significantly add value to the sector4. For instance, data management tools—such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), material passports, lifecycle analysis and material flow analysis—can enhance transparency about the environmental performance of the entire building chain and provide insight into how the chain can become more eco-efficient5.
The broad field of virtual and augmented reality can provide a 3D understanding of how a building is constructed, with what materials, and how this can be attuned to the needs of the customer. In addition, it can optimize resource use during the construction, maintenance, and end-of-life phases. An example is the use of digital twins6. This is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and attendant reasoning to help decision-making, also about material-efficiency7. In addition, 3D printing offers a greener building technique that eliminates a great amount of CO2 emitting and energy-consuming processes compared to conventional building techniques8. Thus, digital technologies can help improve the environmental performance of buildings, particularly when combined with the circular economy.
The concept of the circular economy is simple yet urgent. It highlights the fact that we are overconsuming natural resources, some of which are scarce, on a global scale. In 1970, we only needed one earth to provide mankind with the necessary resources; nowadays we need 1.75 earths. If we continue on our current path, we will require 3 earths by 20509. The Circular Gap Report has revealed that our world is still largely linear10, as we only bring 8.6% of what we use back into the cycle, resulting in a Circularity Gap of over 90%. To address this issue and become more prudent with raw materials, energy, and water, pleas are made to move to a circular economy11. There have been various definitions for the term ‘circular economy’12. However, the common denominator is that it is restorative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles13. This notion is particularly significant important for the building sector because of the high percentage of waste produced. However, this sector is characterized by strong project-based institutionalized practices and market mechanisms, which in many aspects do not facilitate the inclusion of circular economy principles14.
Technically, it is possible to consume far fewer raw materials in the building sector and drastically reduce CO2 emissions. We can extend the lifespan of buildings, redesign them with circularity in mind, reuse parts of them and recycle their materials15. Three Dutch examples serve to illustrate the benefits of building with circular economy principles. For instance, the distribution system operator Alliander—an entity responsible for distributing and managing energy to final consumers—opened its new office in 2015 in Duiven. Although everything about the building exudes style and newness, almost nothing in it is actually new. In fact, 83% of the materials used in the building are recycled. Similarly, in the new Venlo town hall (established in 2016 in the Netherlands) all the raw materials used in the construction can be fully reused with no loss of value. Moreover, the town hall building is entirely energy neutral, thanks to features such as solar panels, thermal energy storage, and solar boilers. The Green House pavilion is the final example, designed to be temporary, as the municipality of Utrecht has plans to redevelop the area in 15 years. The construction used as many recycled materials as possible, which will also be reused when the building is removed. And ultimately, when that happens, there will be no trace left of The Green House in or on the land. The building’s construction is designed to ensure that no pipes, cables, or sewage will remain in the soil under the pavilion, thus minimizing its impact. However, scaling up such iconic projects and making circular building mainstream remains a significant challenge. It requires system innovation, in which technological change goes hand in hand with a socio-economic and behavioral change. The main obstacles to realizing this system change include a focus on short-term goals, complex supply chains, a lack of collaboration between stakeholders, and the absence of a commonly agreed definition of the circular economy within the industry16.
Experiences in circular economy have demonstrated that the aforementioned obstacles can be overcome with effective governance during the transition to a circular system17. This shift requires a fundamental departure from the current linear system in which products are carelessly discarded after use. No single entity, whether it be a company, local government, or NGO, can undertake such a comprehensive system change on their own. Collaboration among partners who are committed to contributing to the change is necessary to establish a robust network. To ensure its efficacy, this network should be orchestrated through a concept known as ‘network governance’. Network governance is not meant to replace conventional public governance, but rather to complement it. It facilitates the attainment of circular objectives and strengthens societal support for more stringent government measures.
A comparative study encompassing 16 countries has illustrated that network governance can offer substantial added value18. However, the extent to which network governance can support public governance is contingent upon specific socio-cultural and political contexts19. For instance, in countries where the government takes a strong leadership role in circular economy and receptivity towards network governance is high, the conditions for initiating and accelerating circular economy are propitious. The Dutch circular building examples mentioned above serve as a case in point. In contrast, where both forms of governance are weak, it is more arduous to launch circular initiatives. Nevertheless, opportunities for developing circular economy can be identified in all 16 countries studied. In Australia, for instance, industry, government, and NGOs exhibit a rather antagonistic attitude towards one another. However, this does not preclude cooperation among these actors in sectors such as building; it simply necessitates additional incentives. For example, when commissioning parties cooperate in restructuring an urban area and implementing circular strategies, they can urge the network of contractors to exchange data and adopt an integrated circular approach. Digital technologies can reinforce such cooperation.
Hence, the building sector worldwide can make substantial strides on the path to circular economy when new forms of network cooperation among pertinent actors are implemented in conjunction with government leadership. Individual actors frequently hesitate to assume leadership roles in system change, as they do not perceive it to be their core business and await others to step forward. To resolve this predicament, independent intermediaries, known as transition brokers, can play a pivotal role in orchestrating the change process. They can align actors with divergent interests around a shared vision and resolve impasses. To be effective, transition brokers must possess a specific set of competencies and acquire the mandate to function as intermediaries. Once accepted, transition brokers can accelerate the process significantly.
Researchers can also contribute to the transition towards a circular building sector. However, to render their research socially relevant, individual projects should be clustered around themes that collectively portray the broader picture of transitioning to a circular economy. In this way, research can be mobilized that centers on fundamental solutions confronting society today. Generalists with sufficient knowledge about the variety of innovations and the specifics of the building sector are certainly equipped to bundle research and highlight the most promising innovations. These knowledge brokers can facilitate the utilization of research in practical applications in the building sector, in the short or long term20. This would enhance the value of the arduous work undertaken by numerous researchers in the field of the built environment.
How did early humans first learn to build? It’s quite possible that it was by observing animals that had already mastered the art. Indeed, when you look at the animal world many birds, insects and mammals are excellent architects and builders.
Beavers are quite literally landscape engineers – they’re being reintroduced in the UK to help fight against the increased incidence and severity of flooding caused by climate change.
Social insects like bees, wasps, ants and termites construct what many have described as the animal equivalents of human cities.
Then there are the animals that carry their homes on their backs – the shells of snails and turtles, for example, are both extensions of and protection for their vulnerable soft bodies.
We might admire and even imitate animal architecture, but when it comes to human-designed buildings, we are usually extremely selective about what kinds of creatures we allow in.
In general, animals are only ever designed for when they are of use to humans – whether as livestock, domestic pets, spectacles to consume in zoos and aquariums, or objects of scientific manipulation in laboratories.
If animals can’t be put to use, they’re usually ignored. And if those animals take it upon themselves to inhabit buildings, they’re invariably regarded as pests and dealt with accordingly.
Examples in the book include spiders spinning their webs in the dark corners of rooms. Swallows finding ideal purchase on brick walls for their saliva and mud-based nest cups. Rats making their homes in the subterranean spaces of the city. And cats and dogs appropriating our furniture and fittings as their own places of rest.
There’s hardly any part of the human-built environment that can’t be inhabited or changed by insects, animals and birds. It’s easy enough to understand how this works in relation to animals that are classed as pets. It’s generally taken for granted that pet owners know how to care for their animals. But it’s much harder to care for animals that are mostly regarded as unwelcome intruders into buildings.
A powerful example of the potential breadth of such interspecies awareness is artist Fritz Haeg’s Animal Estates project, which ran from 2008 until 2013. In nine different cities, Haeg organised events to encourage participation in creating structures that would be attractive to a variety of native species, including bats, birds and insects.
As well as building structures for animals to inhabit, the project also hosted events designed to stimulate interest and knowledge about native animals (and, in many cases, to encourage urban dwellers to make structures themselves). This holistic approach to ecological design aimed to foster more care for animals in cities – animals that would probably otherwise go unnoticed.
Other wildlife-inspired architectural projects include the non-profit organisation The Expanded Environment, which provides helpful online resources on how to care for a much wider range of animals in relation to architecture – most notably in their collaborative design proposals and annual competitions for novel types of animal design.
The material on their website expands ideas about what might be considered appropriate animals for designers to work with as “clients”. Insects appear alongside dogs and cats, birds with lizards and bats with oysters.
Housing the non-human
Ultimately thinking beyond just people is important because all lifeforms create their own environments – and what humans generally call “the environment” is in reality the sum of these creations. Why then does the idea that humans live outside of the environment persist so strongly?
Perhaps, as any therapist will likely tell you, losing a fantasy is always much harder than losing a reality. Yet, as is all too obvious, the persistence of the fantasy of human exceptionalism is now endangering all life on the planet.
It is humans, and humans alone, who dominate every corner of the environment, while at the same time asserting they are actually removed from that environment. If my book has one core aim, it is to encourage readers to think beyond humans in the way we imagine, design and live in our buildings and cities.
The Middle East seems to be facing the heaviest delays in construction and infrastructure, or so it is held in Consultancy-me.
There is still much construction left in the gleaming steel and glass building of Qatar’s Doha Corniche (Google Maps street view picture above), which has stood incomplete and abandoned since 2010. The reasons should not be very different from those elaborated on below.
Middle East faces heaviest delays in construction and infrastructure
23 November 2022
Major construction projects in the Middle East run the highest risk of overruns in costs and delivery, with claims on derailed projects now averaging $154 million per project.
Now in its fifth edition, HKA’s annual CRUX Insight Report sheds light into the state of disputes in the major capital project and infrastructure sector. For its analysis, the global consultancy analysed claims and disputes on 1,600 projects in 100 countries for the period up to July 2022.
The analysis paints a worrying picture for project owners, contractors and other stakeholders. Globally, the combined value of claims stood at $80 billion, while cumulative delays added up to a staggering 840 years.
On average, costs claimed in disputes amounted to $98.7 million per project and more than a third of their capital expenditure (35% of CAPEX). From a time perspective, losses faced are even heavier. Claimed time extensions averaged 16.5 months – equivalent to 69% of the original planned project duration.
“Based on first-hand investigations by our expert consultants around the world, the report puts a number on the huge toll of project overruns on the global economy, our industry and project stakeholders,” said Renny Borhan, CEO of HKA.
The Middle East
According to the report, the Middle East is the world’s most challenging region for realising construction projects, with delays averaging 22.5 months or 83% of schedule duration. The average sum in dispute ($154 million) was more than a third of project expenditure (36% of CAPEX).
In the region, HKA’s experts assessed 380 projects in 12 countries, with the majority of projects in three segments: commercial buildings, onshore oil and gas, and transportation infrastructure.
The prime causes of claims and disputes in the Middle East have been relatively steady for years. Since the first edition of HKA’s CRUX Insight Report, change in scope has topped the list.
“This chief cause is one seen in all regions. Projects are tendered and launched when designs are still immature. Change is inevitable in major construction projects and unless managed, inexorably leads to a wave of claims mounting into disputes,” explained Toby Hunt, a partner at HKA.
Scope change is followed by design information that was either issued late or incomplete, contract interpretation issues, and failure in contract management and/or administration.
Hunt: “Many of the dominant causes of claims and disputes in the region are design-centric and stem from lower levels of maturity in the construction and engineering industry.”
“The high-risk, low-margin contracting model rules in most parts of the Middle East. Risk allocation is skewed by heavily amended standard forms of contract with onerous terms on payments and liability. Often poorly drafted, they tend to include additional bespoke clauses that may have been designed to address problems that arose on previous projects, but conflict with other provisions of the current contract. Claims and disputes over contract interpretation ensue.”
Issues more specific to the region include foreign contractors’ reliance on (poorly) translated versions of Arabic contracts, and a relatively high competition for prestige projects – which results in over-ambitious bids.
Meanwhile, the growing skills deficit (exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic) is putting pressure on delivery, with builders and contractors struggling to recruit skilled employees. However, across the board, deficient workmanship was a far more significant cause of contention in Europe and the Americas than in the Middle East and other regions.
With construction and capital infrastructure activity buoyant in the region as national economies drive their diversification and investment visions, Haroon Niazi, co-leader of HKA in the Middle East, said that lessons being learnt from overruns should be captured and shared among the construction and engineering community across the region.
“Understanding the multiple reasons for distress on capital projects can help project promoters and the construction and engineering industry better mitigate problems on projects, and ultimately help them achieve better project outcomes.”
Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
Traditional construction methods were no match for the earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday night, an engineering expert says, and the area will continue to see such devastation unless updated building techniques are adopted.
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