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Construction in Macau: Past, Present and Future

Macau is a close neighbour to Hong Kong and shares many similarities, one of which has been the recent boom years of construction. However, as with all good things this must come to an end. So what next for Macau and its evolving construction industry?

Let’s take a look back at the most recent boom period, the current situation and what the future might hold for Macau.

Past (Boom Period)

The Cotai Strip is a term coined by American Las Vegas Sands Corporation and relates to the large strip of hotel-casinos in the Cotai section of Macau. Cotai itself was the result of a major land reclamation project which joined the two islands of Coloane and Taipa, part of a long term strategy to expand the region’s territory and boost economy in the area. If you take a visit to Cotai you will see this land is mainly used to accommodate the construction of large scale casino and hotel projects. The development of these hotels and casinos led to a construction boom period in Macau with economic benefits along with wide scale recruitment of construction professionals, both expatriate and local Chinese, to help carry out the engineering, construction, commercial and quantity surveying related work.

If you take a look at the construction of the major casino resorts in Macau you will see this boom period mainly began from 2010 onward (with the exception of Venetian, Plaza and City of Dreams resorts).



The Venetian Macao


The Plaza Macao


City of Dreams Macau


Galaxy Macau


Sands Cotai Central


Studio City Macau


Broadway Macau


The Parisian Macao


Wynn Palace


MGM Cotai


Louis XIII


Lisboa Palace


With up to 9 projects due to complete from 2010 onward and with many of these running in MOP billions there is little doubt this helped fuel a boom in the construction industry for Macau during this time.

With a limited number of locally skilled construction professional in Macau many of the contractors, engineers and consultancies involved with these projects sought to find staff from Hong Kong and other overseas locations. With generous salaries and allowances available many Quantity Surveyors and Engineers decided to move to Macau and help complete the mega scale projects. However, as this construction boom begins to slow down we are now seeing a slowdown in the opportunities available for construction professionals in Macau.

Current (Slow Down)

Many of the major casino projects are now complete and the remaining developments due for completion within the next year, this has subsequently seen a significant slowdown the Macau construction industry, indeed the casinos of Macau accounted for a significant percentage of construction activity in the region.

Although some projects are now successfully completed, others have encountered technical difficulties which have led to significant delays and subsequent claims. One such example is the Light Rail Transit System which is still under construction. Designed to help provide a quick and accessible transport link in the region, with over 20 station and several kilometres of elevated track, the project began construction in 2011. However as of 2015 a special audit was published stating that the construction was now delayed by over 800 days. These sorts of problem projects and delays help create new opportunities for delay and claims related professionals. Although there maybe still be opportunities for delay and claims related professionals in Macau, outside of this specialist role the options for other construction professionals may well be limited. So what next…

Future (Time to Move?)

After the last 2 years of continuous decline in monthly revenue many now believe the casino gaming market in Macau has bottomed out. However, Macau plays a significant role in the economy for the region which in turn affects construction output and investment in new projects. As the current wave of casino and infrastructure projects now complete there is likely to be a period of continued slowdown in the region, and for construction professional working in the region this could be the perfect time to find you next challenge!

If you’re a Quantity Surveyor, Engineer, Construction Manager or Claims professional working in Macau we’d be happy hear from you to discuss your next job move. Whether you’re Cantonese and looking to return to Hong Kong, an expatriate looking to return home or simply interested to understand what job opportunities might be available in your area of expertise please get in touch.  



Tim Cole
Senior Recruitment Consultant – Hong Kong & Asia

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