ZAWYA‘s INVESTMENT on 13 May, 2020 reports that Egypt presses on with new capital in the desert amid virus outbreak. Officials see mega-projects as key source of jobs .
By Aidan Lewis and Mahmoud Mourad, Reuters News
CAIRO- While Egypt’s economy has stumbled due to the coronavirus outbreak, construction at a new capital taking shape east of Cairo is continuing at full throttle after a short pause to adjust working practices, officials say.
The level of activity at the desert site – where trucks rumble down newly built roads and cranes swing over unfinished apartment blocks – reflects the new city’s political importance even as the government grapples with the pandemic.
Known as the New Administrative Capital, it is the biggest of a series of mega-projects championed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a source of growth and jobs.
Soon after coronavirus began to spread, Sisi postponed moving the first civil servants to the new city and moved back the opening of a national museum adjoining the pyramids to next year.
Productivity dipped as companies adapted to health guidelines and some labourers stayed home.
But officials have sought to keep the mega-projects going to protect jobs, and after 10 days of slowdown construction had fully resumed at the new capital with a shift system, said Amr Khattab, spokesman for the Housing Ministry, which along with the military owns the company building the city.
“The proportion of the labour force that is present on site doesn’t exceed 70%, so that the workers don’t get too close,” he said as he showed off the R5 neighbourhood, which includes about 24,000 housing units. “We work less intensively, but we do two shifts.”
Sisi, who publicly quizzes officials responsible for infrastructure projects about timetables and costs, launched the new capital in 2015.
Designed as a high-tech smart city that will house 6.5 million people and relieve congestion in Cairo, it includes government and business districts, a giant park, and a diplomatic quarter as yet unbuilt.
One senior official said last year the cost of the whole project was about $58 billion. While some Egyptians see the new capital as a source of pride, others see it as extravagant and built to benefit a cocooned elite.
‘RUNNING ON TIME’
“We have clear instructions from his excellency the president that the postponement of the opening is not a delay to the project,” said Khattab. “The project is running on time.”
Disinfection and other protective measures were visible at the construction site 45km (30 miles) east of the Nile, though some workers were only ordered to don masks when journalists started filming and others drove by crammed into a minibus. Egypt has confirmed more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, but none at the new capital.
Delays in payments to contractors and to imported supplies were additional risks, said Shams Eldin Youssef, a member of Egypt’s union for construction contractors. Khattab said the government had contractors’ payments in hand.
The Housing Ministry expects to deliver two residential districts by late 2021, while the business district should be finished by early 2022, said Ahmed al-Araby, deputy head of the new capital’s development authority. Private developers and the army are building six other neighbourhoods.
In the government district, which Khattab said was 90% complete, ministry buildings fronted with vertical strips of white stone and darkened glass lead to an open area being planted with palm trees and mini obelisks in front of a domed parliament building.
To one side a large, low-rise presidential palace is under construction.
Sisi has urged people seeking work to head to new cities being built around the country, including the new capital, which Khattab said employs some 250,000 workers.
Critics have questioned the diversion of resources away from existing cities, including Cairo, parts of which are in slow decay.
“The question about how rational this is – whether it makes sense economically, whether it is doable, whether it’s the best course of action – this question is not even asked,” Ezzedine Fishere, an Egyptian writer and senior lecturer at Dartmouth College in the United States, said by phone.
On the other side of Cairo at the new museum next to the Giza pyramids, work has also been continuing at a slower pace.
In mid-April staffing levels sank to about 40%, with plans to recover gradually to 100%, said General Atef Muftah, who oversees the project.
Construction is the well-known process for men of building houses with some unskilled labours. Thank you for reading the misconcepted sentence. Yes, It’s often seen with an eye of simplicity and frivolous job, which isn’t. We are in much of society’s mindset that a myth is more nurtured than a fact.
Call me old fashioned, but I believe there’s something to be said for doing good, honest work. Construction is sort of the unsung hero of our culture; vital to our infrastructure. Skilled tradesmen build the places we work in, the homes we live and play in, the roads we commute on, and more. Economy’s strength is tightly linked to the construction industry keeping country to move forward. A construction site is moreover different from a person sitting in front of laptop obeying a 9 to 5 cubicle job; it’s an area of daily new challenges to pass on to the next level. It requires a diversity of skills employing everyone deserving to choose as a career.
This is a technical journey of any structure or thoughts right from the foundation to finishing and external works. In building construction, we study how the civil works are carried out in the field after they have been planned by an architect and structurally designed by an engineer. A toddler whenever points his finger towards the swinging tower crane enjoying like the dance of a robot, it’s the duty of the project team to work successfully building block by block over heights.
As we are talking about the heights, so let me take you to the most heighted man-made structure! No required nominees, it’s Burj Khalifa, Dubai (or you can even argue with one of the most famous buildings because 830 metres is really a good number).
Heard about World One? A structure finding it’s place to be the tallest residential skyscraper, yet under construction of Lodha group, Mumbai.
I’ve my stomach full with all these heights as you will mostly get in my next blog; until then let’s see some amazing constructions. The great man-made river project in Libya has listed as the biggest irrigation project in the world. Underneath of the Sahara Desert, it consists of 2800 pipes carrying 6.5 million cubic metres of freshwater every day.
The most beautiful building in Jakarta, Regatta Hotel complex was designed by Atelier Enam. The project’s centrepiece is the aerodynamic hotel itself that overlooks the Java sea. Now wondered that struggle to be in top 10 beautiful buildings!
But, who knew that continuous endless building of structures would permit to cease for a no while. Because of the nature of his projects, all industries and companies are surged down to a force majeure. The workers are avoiding the work at construction sites due to fear of coronavirus infection. Threatening situations are discovered due to this pandemic endangering future of the construction world.
People are particularly trying to reach out finding alternatives as I mentioned in my previous blog (A virus outside the computer). Also, many cities have adopted a definition of essential construction that allows any work necessary to build, operate, maintain or manufacture essential infrastructure without limitation construction or the constructions required in response to this public health emergency, hospital constructions, etc.
According to the industry body, there are around 20,000 ongoing projects across the country and construction work is being undertaken in around 18,000 of them i.e. involvement of workforce of about 8.5 million in construction work alone! These numbers are breath-taking when health concerns. The scenario implies that the construction work will be slow, pushing costs upward given the interest and debt servicing needed for that extra period. Definitely it will have its own consequences but would be better far than doing nothing. Hoping the same as everyone to defeat this monster, hiding myself from the fact that I’m bored writing about it ; )
HOTEL BUSINESS on February 17, 2020, informs that MENA to see $23B in Hotel Building by 2023, mostly in the Gulf region. A region that still knows a significant construction boom despite inevitable volatility in its primary revenue would be hosting crowds of visitors soon to two major international events. These are the International Exhibition of 2020 and the Football World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The other regions of the MENA, whether North African or of the Levant that mostly preoccupied with their respective geostrategic concerns, have smaller demand for hotels buildings.
INTERNATIONAL REPORT—The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2020 has released the third annual AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast, which reveals that more than $23 billion worth of hotel construction contracts are scheduled to be awarded in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) between now and 2023.
According to research conducted by regional project tracking service MEED Projects in Q4 2019, the hotel development sector will be most active in Oman, Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia, making these the markets to watch in 2020.
“On the back of the more than 700 new hotels worth in excess of $53 billion having been built over the past seven years, the Middle East is rightly viewed as a high-growth region for tourism,” said Ed James, director of content and analysis, MEED Projects. “Growing economies, enhanced infrastructure and the opening up of the sector have acted as catalysts for development.”
He continued, “In terms of the hotel pipeline, Saudi Arabia is the leading future market with just under $9 billion worth of projects planned to be awarded over the next four years. This includes a minimum of 21,500 rooms, across 36 individual hotel, resorts and master-planned tourist destinations. The Kingdom has made tourism and the opening up of its cultural heritage and pristine Red Sea coastline key components of its 2030 Vision. Self-styled ‘gigaprojects’ like The Red Sea Project, Amaala, Neom and the Qiddiya entertainment hub are set to transform Saudi Arabia and the region over the next few years.”
The UAE is in second place, with $7.6 billion worth of hotel construction contracts on the four-year horizon. Oman has hotel developments worth more than $2 billion in the pipeline, while Egypt has some $1.9 billion worth of projects set to be awarded by 2023.
The levels of investment revealed by the AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast over the next four years are testament to an incredibly buoyant market, according to forecasters. “New hotel resorts like Jebel Sifah and the St. Regis Muscat in Oman, the Ritz-Carlton in Sharm el-Sheikh and the MGM Resort and Bellagio Hotel in Dubai are set to continue to make the Middle East one of the most vibrant and diverse tourism destinations in the world,” said James.
The regional hotel pipeline and the future outlook for hotel investment in the Middle East will be discussed in depth at the 16th edition of AHIC, which returns to Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from April 14-16.
“The AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast is an incredibly valuable piece of research that clearly demonstrates that the Middle East still has so much to offer when it comes to future hotel expansion and investment,” said Jonathan Worsley, chairman, Bench Events, and founder, AHIC. “We’re especially excited to see markets such as Oman and Egypt, which offer incredibly rich and diverse tourism landscapes, return to the forefront of development in the region.”
At this year’s Light+Building trade fair, Siemens will showcase its vision for transforming today’s passive buildings into learning and adaptive environments that intelligently interact with people. The company’s focus at this year’s show is “Building the future today”, outlining the innovations that will make this possible. These include cloud-based technologies, digital planning, occupant-centric building automation and services. New solutions for smart electrical infrastructure that seamlessly connects to the Internet of Things (IoT) are also at the core of this transformation.
„Building the future today”: Siemens at Light+Building 2020 in hall 11, booth B56“Around 99 percent of today’s buildings are not smart. Digitalization has the power to transform buildings from silent and passive structures into living organisms that interact, learn from and adapt to the changing needs of occupants. This is a significant leap in the evolution of buildings where our technology plays a vital role,” said Cedrik Neike, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “This transformation is already becoming a reality. We expect to see the first entirely self-adaptive buildings in three to five years from now.”
Digital solutions for the entire building lifecycle
Globalization, urbanization, climate change, and demographics are changing the way people live and work. At the same time, digitalization is ubiquitous. With some 10 billion building devices already connected to the IoT, buildings are ready to leverage the potential of digitalization. People spend an estimated 90 percent of their lives indoors, so ensuring buildings meet the broad range of individuals’ needs is crucial. On one hand, smart buildings actively contribute to occupants’ enhanced productivity, wellbeing and comfort. For operators and owners, they help them collect and analyze data to create actionable insights, boosting buildings’ performance and therefore revenue.Siemens will showcase the smart buildings suite of IoT enabled devices, applications and services. At the core of the suite is the “Building Twin” application, which will be on display at the booth. It provides a fully digital representation of a physical building, merging static as well as dynamic data from multiple sources into a 3D virtual model. With real-time understanding of how a building is performing, operators can immediately make adjustments to boost efficiency as well as extract data to improve the design of future buildings. One of the new IoT-enabled applications is “Building Operator”, which allows remote monitoring, operation and maintenance of buildings. Available as Software as a Service (SaaS), it provides real-time building data as the basis for predictive and corrective maintenance.
Smart electrical infrastructure
Given that buildings account for more than 40 percent of electricity consumption in cities, building efficiency is crucial in the battle towards decarbonization. Electrical infrastructure lays the foundation for safe, reliable and efficient building operations, while delivering essential data for a holistic, cloud-based building management. This is made possible by communication-capable low-voltage products, power distribution boards and busbar trunking systems that enable the measurement and wireless transmission of energy and status data. To illustrate this, Siemens will exhibit a unique end-to-end solution for cloud-based power monitoring in buildings. Electrical installations can now be supplemented with digital metering without additional space requirements or wiring outlay. This makes it easy for electrical installers to start using digitalization to their benefit. With “Powermanager”, a power monitoring software, now fully integrated into the Desigo CC building management platform, all building and energy data can be managed, monitored and analyzed from one single platform.Siemens will also display its electromobility ecosystem, including battery storage and charging systems for residential buildings. In a parallel show, “Intersec Building 2020”, in hall 9.1, booth B50, the company will exhibit integrated and networked systems for safety and fire protection.
The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry was the introduction to an article of The Guardian. A less partial response to that would definitely that of Seyed Ghaffar, Brunel University London proposes here below to how we can recycle more buildings.
More than 35 billion tonnes of non-metallic minerals are extracted from the Earth every year. These materials mainly end up being used to build homes, schools, offices and hospitals. It’s a staggering amount of resources, and it’s only too likely to increase in the coming years as the global population continues to grow.
Thankfully, the challenges of sustainable construction, industrial growth and the importance of resource efficiency are now clearly recognised by governments around the world and are now at the forefront of strategy and policy.
A critical component of the UK government’s sustainability strategy concerns the way in which construction and demolition waste – CDW, as we call it in the trade – is managed. CDW comes from the construction of buildings, civil infrastructure and their demolition and is one of the heaviest waste streams generated in the world – 35% of the world’s landfill is made up of CDW.
The EU’s Waste Framework Directive, which aims to recycle 70% of non-hazardous CDW by 2020, has encouraged the construction industry to process and reuse materials more sustainably. This directive, which favours preventive measures – for example, reducing their use in the first place – as the best approach to tackling waste, has been implemented in the UK since 2011. More specific to the construction industry, the Sustainable Construction Strategy also sets overall targets for diverting CDW from landfill.
Policies worldwide recognise that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a circular economy approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.
Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimising waste.
It would change economic logic because it replaces production with sufficiency: reuse what you can, recycle what cannot be reused, repair what is broken, and re-manufacture what cannot be repaired. It will also help protect businesses against a shortage of resources and unstable prices, creating innovative business opportunities and efficient methods of producing and consuming.
Changing the mind-set
The mind-set of the industry needs to change towards the cleaner production of raw materials and better circular construction models. Technical issues – such as price, legal barriers and regulations – that stand in the way of the solutions being rolled out more widely must also be overcome through innovation.
Materials scientists, for example, are currently investigating and developing products that use processed CDW for manufacturing building components – for example, by crushing up CDW and using it to make new building materials.
Technical problems around the reuse of recycled materials should be solved through clever material formulations and detailed property investigations. For instance, the high water absorption rate in recycled aggregates causes durability problems in wall components. This is something that research must address.
Moreover, it is illegal in the EU to use products that haven’t been certified for construction. This is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the more widespread reuse of materials, particularly in a structural capacity. Testing the performance of materials for certification can be expensive, which adds to the cost of the material and may cancel out any savings made from reusing them.
For the construction, demolition and waste management industries to remain competitive in a global marketplace, they must continue to develop and implement supply chain innovations that improve efficiency and reduce energy, waste and resource use. To achieve this, substantial research into smart, mobile and integrated systems is necessary.
Radically advanced robotic artificial intelligence (AI) systems for sorting and processing CDW must also be developed. Many industries are facing an uncertain future and today’s technological limitations cannot be assumed to apply. The construction industry is likely to be significantly affected by the potential of transformative technologies such as AI, 3D printing, virtual/augmented reality and robotics. The application of such technologies presents both significant opportunities and challenges.
A model for the future
As the image below shows, we have developed a concept for an integrated, eco-friendly circular construction solution.
Advanced sensors and AI that can detect quickly and determine accurately what can be used among CDW and efficient robotic sorting could aid circular construction by vastly improving the recycling of a wide range of materials. The focus should be on the smart dismantling of buildings and ways of optimising cost-effective processes.
The industry must also be inspired to highlight and prove the extraordinary potential of this new construction economy. We can drive this through a combination of creative design, focused academic research and applied technology, external industry engagement and flexible, responsive regulation.
Only through a combination of efforts can we start to recycle more buildings, but I’m confident that with the right will – and the right investment – we can start to massively reduce the amount of materials we pull from the ground each year and move towards a truly sustainable future.
Aurecon’s Daniel Borszik shares insights on modular buildings “clipped together like Lego” and IoT-integrated buildings.
The building industry, which has historically lagged in terms of technology adoption, is beginning to have a dialogue on shifting from projects to products, with a particular focus on modular construction.
Speaking at the 40th edition of the region’s largest and most influential event for the construction industry The Big 5, Aurecon MEP associate, Daniel Borszik, said: “Modular construction could scale easily to an industry worth $100bn in the US and Europe alone. Even though that’s quite a large number, the industry could deliver about $20bn in annual savings.”
During his talk at The Big 5, Borszik shared details on the various methods of modular construction from modular 2D panels in high-quality single-family housing units that permit for design flexibility and optimised logistics; to 3D volumetric modular systems that create standardization, repeatability, and cost reduction in low- and mid-rise apartment buildings or hotels.
Borszik also elaborated on the combination of automated fabrication with what he called ‘buildable tech’, which called for new materials and fabrication methods that might initially attract a premium but will result in cost savings in the long run.
He pointed to a construction industry where future building parts are printed using cutting-edge 3D printing technology; where these building parts are then “clipped together like Lego”; where machine learning technology and Internet-of-Things (IoT) is integrated into these buildings; and where the completed buildings will be able to self-manage, and fix themselves.
“What I find exciting about the buildings of the future is that you will see a lot more of integration of technology in our buildings. Sooner or later, if the air conditioning has an issue in your house, the air conditioner itself will be able to send an email to the maintenance team to come and fix it, without the need for a human to raise a complaint, and all you get is a notification on your phone that maintenance has been scheduled,” Borszik said.
This will disrupt every player in the construction industry from developers, architects, and designers to contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, consultants and others. Borszik stated that all stakeholders in the industry need to prepare for the disrupting shifts in value pools.
“From engineers to designers, city planners to politicians, it will take all hands on deck to turn a truly transformative design into the city’s new normal,” Borszik concludes.
The Planning and Statistics Authority’s recently released data shows 51% general increase in July 2019 in the number of building permits issued when compared to June this year.
The Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) published the fifty-fifth issue of the monthly statistics of Building Permits and Building Completion certificates issued by all municipalities of the State.
According to PSA data on building permits issued during July 2019, Al Rayyan comes at the top of the municipalities where the number of building permits issued were 188, i.e. 27% of the total issued permits, while Doha municipality comes in second place with 151 permits, i.e. 22%, followed by Al Wakrah with 131 permits (19%), then Al Da’ayen with 85 permits, i.e.12%.
The rest of the municipalities are as follows: Umm Slal 58 permits (8%), Al Khor 39 permits (6%), Al Sheehaniya 31 permits (4%), and Al Shammal 15 permits (2%).
In terms of type of permits issued, data indicates that the new building permits (residential and non-residential) constitute 50% (352 permits) of the total building permits issued during the month of July 2019, while the percentage of additions permits constituted 48% (334 permits), and finally fencing permits with 2% (12 permits).
New residential buildings permits data indicates that villas top the list, accounting for 68% (198 permits) of all new residential buildings permits, followed by dwellings of housing loans permits by 24% (71 permits) and apartments buildings by 7% (20 permits).
On the other hand, governmental buildings were found to be in the forefront of non-residential buildings permits with 29% (17 permits), followed by industrial buildings e.g. workshops and factories with 27% (16 permits), then commercial buildings with 25% (15 permits).
Comparing the number of permits issued in July 2019 with those issued in the previous month a general increase of 51% was noted. The increase was noted in all municipalities as follows: Al Shammal (150%), Al Wakrah (68%), Al Sheehaniya and Al Khor (63%) each, Umm Slal (61%), Al Rayyan (50%), Al Doha (41%), Al Da’ayen (25%).
The press release added that a quick review of the data on building completion certificates issued during the month of July 2019, according to their geographical distribution, showed that Rayyan municipality comes at the top of the municipalities where the number of building completion certificates issued were 125 certificates, i.e. (33%) of the total issued certificates while municipality of Al Wakrah came in second place with 81 certificates, i.e. (21%), followed by municipality of Al Doha with 74 certificates (19%), then Al Da’ayen municipality with 53 certificates, i.e.(14%). The rest of the municipalities were as follows: Umm Slal 23 certificates (6%), Al Khor 11 certificates (3%), Al Sheehaniya 9 certificates (2%), and finally Al Shammal 7 certificates (2%).
In terms of the type of certificates issued, data indicates that the new building completion certificates (residential and non-residential) constitutes 76% (291 certificates) of the total building certificates issued during the month of July 2019, while the percentage of additions certificates constituted 24% (92 certificates).
Comparing the number of certificates issued in July 2019 with those issued in the previous month we noted an increase of 38%. This increase was clearly noted in most municipalities: Al Shammal (250%),Al Wakrah (103%), Al Doha (76%), Al Rayyan (25%), Al Da’ayen (18%), Umm Slal (5%), On the other hand, there was a clear decrease in the municipality of Al Khor (35%), while Al Sheehaniya municipality maintained the same number of issued certificates.
Ivy Heffernan is a student of Economics at Buckingham University. Junior Analyst at HeffX and experienced marketing director.
The real estate market in Egypt’s capital Cairo continues its rapid growth with the construction of large-scale projects stimulating economic expansion and driving demand for Grade A office projects, according to Savills, a leading real estate services provider in the Middle East.
There is a systematic shift of tenants towards newer developments away from the erstwhile central business hubs in Central Cairo, towards modern speculative and purpose-built developments across New Cairo in the East and Sheikh Zayed City in the West, stated Savills in its latest report that analyses the Cairo Metropolitan Area (CMA) office market for the first half.
Demand is also driven by new market entrants – both domestic and global – along with expansion and consolidation exercise, it stated.
The city’s strong demographic vantage in terms of young, educated and comparatively low-cost workforce and a further improvement in global investor confidence towards the economy in the medium-to-long term will continue to drive demand for office real estate in the city, it added.
Head of Egypt Catesby Langer-Paget said: “As Egypt’s macro-economic situation continues to improve on account of prudent policy measures, our recent research shows that the demand for office space in Cairo has increased, driven by a mix of relocation, expansion and expansion led consolidation exercise.”
The sustained demand for office space has led to a spurt in project launches and completions over the past few quarters. This increase in the availability of Grade A options has created a short-to-medium term pressure on rental values across most markets.
However, headline rental values continue to remain stable but we have noticed enhanced flexibility among landlords with regards to incentives and lease terms. During H1 2019, rents for Grade A stock across Heliopolis ranged between E£300 – E£350 / sqm / month while in New Cairo and Sheikh Zayed City it ranged between E£350 – 400 / sqm / month.
“We noticed strong interest from the pharmaceutical sector, technology, banking and financial services and media firms to occupy Grade A space within the city,” stated Langer-Paget.
“In terms of new supply, no new projects were completed during the current review period. However, to meet this growing demand, we anticipate approximatively 155,500 sqm of Grade A space to be handed over across key areas such as New Cairo and Nasr City over the next six months,” he added.
While most of us are not aware of it,
sand is – after air and water – the third most used resource on the planet.
Every house, dam, road, wine glass and cell phone contains it. Even a seemingly
endless resource like sand cannot keep up with current demand.
“Sand is not infinite,” says Kiran
Pereira, founder and chief storyteller at SandStories.org and one of the experts participating in the very first round-table
focusing on sand, organized by UN Environment, GRID (Global Resources
Information Database )-Geneva and the University of Geneva in mid-October.
Various stakeholders from the
industrial, environmental and academic sector came together in Geneva on 11
October 2018 to discuss the emerging issue of sand extraction and solutions to
address potential environmental impact. “It is extraordinary that so little
attention has been given to this problem,” says Bart Geenen, head of the
freshwater programme at the World Wildlife Fund – Netherlands.
Fifty billion tons of sand and gravel
are used around the world every year. This is the equivalent to a 35-metre-high
by 35-metre-wide wall around the equator. Most sand goes into the production of
cement for concrete (which is made of cement, water, sand and gravel). Cement,
a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the
world, is a major source of greenhouse gases, and accounts for about eight per
cent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent Chatham House report.
Sand is, essentially tiny grains of
rock, is also used to replenish retreating beaches and extending territories
through, for example, constructing artificial islands (think Palm Islands and
The World, in Dubai) or infilling on the coast (Singapore). It is taken from
rivers, beaches and the ocean floor. Desert sand, due to its smoothness, cannot
be used for concrete.
If not managed correctly, sand
extraction from places with fragile ecosystems can have a huge environmental
impact. Extraction on a beach may, for example, not only lead to the
destruction of local biodiversity but can also reduce the scope for tourism.
Furthermore, huge demand for sand may
lead to illegal sand extraction, which is becoming an issue in many places.
“Sand mafias” in India, for example, threaten local communities and their
livelihoods as well as the environment.
“Sand is used by everybody. We are not here to halt the sector, but work
together with all stakeholders on sustainable solutions,” notes Pascal Peduzzi,
director of GRID-Geneva at UN Environment, who first raised the sand issue in a
2014 report titled Sand, rarer than
Innovative solutions being tested
However, innovative solutions are
being tested to replace sand in the construction of roads and buildings.
Recycled plastic, earth, bamboo, wood, straw and other materials can be used as
alternative building materials. The key seems to be to blend other materials
with the all-encompassing concrete to give the mixture the necessary stability
for a building.
Several countries have already been
experimenting with plastic composite roads. The first ever cycle path made
completely out of recycled plastic was opened in Zwolle, Netherlands, in
Recycled plastic has the potential to
become a serious alternative to sand in road-building. Plastic roads are
estimated to be three times more durable than traditional asphalt roads.
However, they are still in their testing phase as their longevity as well as
their environmental impact need to be studied further: small particles of the
plastic could eventually find their way into the soil and water through heat,
wear and tear, and run-off.
While there is no magic bullet, the
Geneva meeting agreed that it is important to raise awareness of the fact that
sand is not a limitless resource and that there are possible negative effects
of sand extraction. Good practices must be shared and the communication gap between
policymakers and consumers overcome.
UNEP-GRID (United Nations Environment
Programme-Global Resources Information Database) is working with the University
of Geneva to raise awareness. “We are working on finding innovative solutions
for sustainable resource consumption and connecting them to impactful
awareness-raising at multiple levels,” says Anna Cinelli from the University of
Geneva. Her fellow student Rebecca Jimenez adds: “At the end of the day it’s
about finding sustainable solutions that are workable and are accepted by
society at large.”
The Geneva meeting concluded that the
way forward is to collect more data, and to work on implementing policies and
standards to protect delicate ecosystems from illegal and environmentally
harmful sand extraction. The search for sustainable solutions should start now,
the meeting concluded.
TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialized service provider of cutting-edge information on the hospitality industry, produced this article of great significance on the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction, specifically in the GCC countries. These are for all who know what is planned for this region of the Gulf, amongst many other things, no less than a Dubai Expo in 2020 and the next Football World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.
A free report is available on the same website and is full of interesting details of the region’s dynamics in the hotel development business.
A Look at the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotel Pipeline
The Middle East region is a true modern success story within the hospitality industry.
Led by the glittering tourist paradise of Dubai, the region has arguably done more than any other to improve its appeal to international tourists over the past two decades. Whereas some years ago it was basically an afterthought for most global hospitality companies, these days it is becoming an increasingly vital region in the plans of many famous hotel brands.
The Middle East’s Hotel Project Pipeline
With that in mind, we recently took a look at the project pipeline for the Middle East by drawing information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database. What we found was no surprise: the hospitality market in the region continues to grow. In fact, within its pipeline right now there are currently some 618 projects that once completed will yield a total of 178,288 new rooms for guests. This puts the Middle East as the fourth biggest hospitality market on the planet, behind the likes of the Asia/Pacific region, North America, and Europe, all of which cover a substantially larger geographic space than the Middle East.
For the savvy hotel owner or operator, it is increasingly imperative to know about some of the marquee projects that are headlining development trends in that region. To learn more, we again turn to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database.
This hotel will offer a wellness and fitness center once it is completed in the third quarter of 2019, as well as an all-day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant, ultra-lounge / lobby lounge, pool bar / wellness and fitness cafe, retails outlets including the Paramount Hotels & Resorts boutique, swimming pool, work and play suites, screening room, kids club, meetings and events facilities, and much more. Located in Dubai, it will have 442 new rooms for guests.
Slated to open in 2018 with 360 new rooms for guests, this property is located in Qatar. It marks Thai hotel operator Centara Hotels & Resort’s first hotel in the Middle East, and it will be located in the capital city of Doha, with easy access to the Corniche and to the airport. The property will also feature family-friendly accommodations options such as multiple bedroom units, as well as club level business rooms and a club lounge. In terms of food and drink offerings, the hotel will boast four dining outlets, including a rooftop dining and entertainment venue for guests.
As a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world, cement is a major contributor to climate change . The chemical and thermal combustion processes involved in the production of cement are a large source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Each year, more than 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced, accounting for around 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions.
Per Middle East Magazine and according to Citi’s MENA Projects Tracker, $2.5 trillion of projects are under development or actually under construction across the MENA region. Of these, 90% are in the Gulf and 60% are in just two countries: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. By sector, just over $1 trillion of this total is being invested in MENA real estate projects and $812bn in infrastructural schemes. The scale of this investment can be seen in comparison with the $376bn that is being spent on the lynchpin of the regional economy: oil and gas. The report’s author, Farek Soussa, commented: “There is a heavy bias in the UAE towards real estate projects, while infrastructure projects dominate in Qatar. The oil and gas sector is of greatest significance in Algeria, while Jordan is spending most on power and water.” Cement is of course the main ingredient that is an absolute must in any building and / or infrastructure development.
Shifting to a Paris-compliant pathway, with net-zero CO2 emissions by around 2050,7 will require going further and moving faster on all available solutions, as well as making sure that the next generation of innovative technology options is ready as soon as possible.
To illustrate the scale of this challenge, Figure 1 shows the decarbonization pathway set out by the IEA and CSI’s 2018 Technology Roadmap.8 This scenario shows action on four mitigation levers – energy efficiency, fuel switching, clinker substitution and innovative technologies (including CCS) – to achieve CO2 reductions consistent with at least a 50 per cent chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Figure 1: Towards a Paris-compatible pathway
Source: Authors’ analysis of scenario set out in International Energy Agency and Cement Sustainability Initiative (2018), Technology Roadmap: Low-Carbon Transition in the Cement Industry, Paris: International Energy Agency, https://www.wbcsdcement.org/index.php/key-issues/climate-protection/technology-roadmap (accessed 24 Apr. 2018). The B2DS is based on data in International Energy Agency (2017), Energy Technology Perspectives 2017.
Note: RTS stands for ‘reference technology scenario’, 2DS stands for ‘2°C Scenario’ and B2DS stands for ‘Beyond 2°C Scenario’. For descriptions of each model, refer to the original source. The ETP B2DS and roadmap models are not directly comparable as they are based on slightly different assumptions as to future demand for cement but they are shown together here as an indicative comparison.
As recognized in the 2018 roadmap, there is a considerable gap between this scenario and a scenario consistent with countries’ more ambitious aspirations in the Paris Agreement of limiting the temperature increase even further, towards 1.5°C. The IEA’s Beyond 2°C Scenario (B2DS) indicated earlier is only an illustration of the challenge such an emissions reduction would represent in relation to current industry ambitions.
Shifting towards B2DS will require more ambition across each of these levers, particularly in the short term:
·Although many of the relatively straightforward gains have already been made, there is still scope for improvement in energy efficiency. Europe and the US now lag behind India and China on energy efficiency, due to the continuing use of older equipment, and will need to at least close this gap in the next decade if they are to meet industry targets. The key challenges will be the capital investment required and the fact that action on other levers such as alternative fuels and CCS may slow progress on energy efficiency.
·Shifting away from the use of fossil fuelsin cement production will also be key. China and India, in particular, have significant potential to switch to sustainable lower-carbon fuels. In Europe, cement plants have been shown to run on 90 per cent non-fossil fuels. A key challenge will be to ensure the availability of biomass from truly sustainable sources. Currently, the sector relies largely on waste-derived biomass; however, shifting towards a majority share of alternative fuels may eventually prompt the sector to turn to wood pellets.
·Clinker substitution involves replacing a share of the clinker content in cement with other materials. This could play a greater role than currently anticipated. Achieving an average global clinker ratio of 0.60 by 2050, as set out by the 2018 Technology Roadmap, has the potential to mitigate almost 0.2 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2 in 2050.9 The share of clinker needed can be reduced even further in individual applications, with the potential to lower the CO2 emissions of those applications by as much as 70–90 per cent. At the very ambitious end of the scale, if 70 per cent replacement was achieved on a global scale, this could represent almost 1.5 GT of CO2emissions saved in 2050.10 Clinker substitution is not only a very effective solution, but also one that can be deployed cheaply today, as it does not generally require investments in new equipment or changes in fuel sources. It is, therefore, especially important to scale up clinker substitution in the near term while more radical options, such as the introduction of novel and carbon-negative cements, are still under development. The greatest constraints are the uncertain availability of clinker substitute materials and the lack of customer demand for low-clinker cements.
·Many experts are understandably sceptical about the potential to rapidly scale up CCS. Although other technologies are included in this lever, as presented in Figure 1, in practice hopes are currently pinned on CCS. This is reflected in both the 2018 roadmap and other major modelling exercises today. Even if hopes for CCS prove optimistic, carbon-capture technology could still prove critical in moving to B2DS. Moreover, CCS could complement the development of some novel concretes, which rely on a source of pure captured CO2 for carbonation curing. One of the key challenges facing CCS is the cost of the technology versus that of other levers.
However, it will be impossible to even get close to B2DS without also achieving radical changes in cement consumption and breakthroughs in the development of novel cements:
·Most cement emissions scenarios depend on projections of consumptionthat deserve far greater scrutiny. Concrete demand can be reduced, sometimes by more than 50 per cent, by taking a new approach to design, using higher-quality concretes, substituting concrete for other materials, improving the efficiency with which it is used on construction sites, and increasing the share of concrete that is reused and recycled. Deploying an array of such demand-side approaches in key growth markets such as China, India and African countries will be essential if the sector is to reach net-zero emissions. Action on material efficiency will, however, depend on the cooperation and motivation of a host of actors beyond the cement sector.
·Moving towards net-zero emissions for all new construction will require a rapid scale-up in the deployment of novel cements. Some can achieve emissions reductions of more than 90 per cent. Others can sequester carbon, theoretically capturing more carbon than is emitted in their production, rendering them carbon-negative. So far, however, the majority of these products have failed to achieve commercial viability. Achieving breakthroughs in this area will require concerted investment in research and large-scale demonstration projects, as well as education and training of consumers to build the market for novel products.
Even with ambitious projections across all mitigation levers to meet the B2DS, more than o.8 GT of CO2 would still be emitted in 2050. These ‘residual emissions’ would need to be offset by other means. Achieving zero CO2 emissions, therefore, needs to remain an objective beyond 2050. Failure to do so will imply a greater reliance on negative-emissions technologies that have so far failed to scale.
Jeddah Tower: In an attempt to promote development and tourism in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jeddah, a mega-tall skyscraper is now in the processing to become the tallest building on the planet. The creator and sponsor of the project is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in the Middle East and a member of the Saudi royal family.
The designing architect of the world’s first 1-kilometer high skyscraper is none other than Adrian Smith, from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Smith was also the designer of the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and he is, generally, known for his soaring towers in the US, South Korea, and China.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
The idea of this architectural marvel in Jeddah was not enthusiastically received all the way long, as some Saudis contemplate the possibility that it would have a negative financial effect on the kingdom. With a budget nearing $2 billion, its opening date was pushed till 2020 due to difficult economic circumstances in the country.
Here are some interesting facts you should know about Jeddah Tower:
1. The aerodynamic triangular shape and the sloping exterior of the tower help in reducing the wind load. Its tri-petal-shaped plan is inspired by the leaves of desert plants.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
2. The multi-use tower will house the Four Seasons Hotel in addition to serviced residential apartments and office spaces, with transportation routes all around it.
3. Jeddah Tower will have the highest observatory deck and hanging balcony, about 652 meters above the sea level.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
4. The sleek skyscraper will be the core of Jeddah Economic City project and will be surrounded by houses, schools, universities, malls, and hospitals.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
5. One rendering will not be realistically able to enclose the whole colossal edifice. Only elevations and birds-eye views can do the job.
6. If you are sitting in a small room right now with a width of 10 feet, have a look around you, this is the diameter of one foundation pile; each pile is 360 feet in length. Concrete in some parts of the core is a few meters thick.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
7. It will have 59 elevators. However, due to the extreme height of the tower, which is over one kilometer, elevators are made to move at a speed lower than ordinary lifts to avoid nausea due to the change in air pressure.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
8. With the sizzling temperature in Jeddah which could reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, the exterior wall system of Jeddah tower comprises glass of low conductivity to reduce power use for air-conditioning.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
9. Wonderful views of the city and the sea can be seen from the outdoor terraces. The three-sided building has magnificent patios as well as shaded pockets in each of the three sides.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
10. A structure of such height requires a huge amount of steel for construction which can reach up to 80,000 tons.
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