We are almost exactly 6 months on from that day in November when we all celebrated the news that Dubai would host the 2020 World Expos. Most of us may not have fully understood exactly what the event was nor had anyone except the more culturally savvy among us actually heard of the World Expos until Dubai chucked its hat in the ring to host it. However, what we all were aware of was it was something else that Dubai would throw money at in order to host, therefore benefiting all of us involved in the international construction and recruitment industry.
So 6 months on and what has changed? Well.......... You'll see lots of advertising boards with the Dubai Expos logo as you travel around Dubai; and landlords are cashing in as many have already began to put rents up 6 years in advance of the Expos. In terms of specific Expo related construction projects starting or firm timescales for Expos related projects, we aren't too much further along than we were 6 months ago unfortunately.
So What's Happening?
Before any of the major construction starts on the Jebel Ali Exhibition site a dossier must be submitted by Dubai to the governing body of the Expos detailing amongst other things the master plan for this whole operation. This must be submitted by 2015 and once approved, we can expect work to begin. Once this plan has been approved, expect things to begin to happen very quickly.
Whilst the lack of current activity may be disappointing to hear for those who were expecting a quicker turnaround, the positives are that the scope of work has not changed. It just hasn't really got going at any pace yet. Rumours are that preliminary works for the exhibition site and the neighbouring Dubai World Central Airport are to begin by the end of the year. These works will last approximately a year alone before the real construction can begin.
It was also confirmed this week that plans to extend the Red Line of the Dubai Metro will be fast tracked to service to Exhibition Centre for the Expos. The cost of this is estimated to be worth $1.3Bn alone.
Plans are also becoming clearer as to what developments will spring up in and around the exhibition site as one of the largest developers in Dubai confirmed their plans to build a 13.5m meter square golf resort and residential estate adjacent to the Expos site.
The Jebel Ali site that will include the Expo area as well as Dubai World Central airport and a host of new developments is said to be 438 hectare's which I have heard to be equal to 5% of the total land space of the Emirate of Dubai.
I'm sure over the coming month's we'll begin to learn more about specific timescales for tenders and awards. There's still a lot to be excited about in Dubai but it looks to be 2015 before the real momentum begins to gather on the real exciting developments the Expos will bring.
For now Qatar's seems to be busier than the UAE with its World Cup Infrastructure work really beginning start over the last couple of months. For the more impatient of you wanting to get involved in the exciting construction work going on in the Middle East, Qatar is worth serious consideration as many construction companies are currently on recruitment drives for World Cup 2022 related projects.
With Dubai looking to have the major works for the Expo complete by 2019 and Qatar likely to be in peaking with their construction for the World Cup around 2017 - 2018, the Middle East as a whole could see a return to the boom days of 8 - 9 years ago even if only for a short time.
For those construction professionals with experience in the region and wanting to get back to Dubai, your time is just around the corner. Dubai will most certainly need you!