Abu Dhabi government creates construction super client

11 November 2013

Musanada now responsible for all state building projects in the emirate

The Abu Dhabi government has created a super client that will be responsible for the award and delivery of billions of dollars of construction contracts each year.

Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) will now be charged with managing all government construction projects in the emirate. The decision, which was taken by Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council, means large-scale schemes that were being delivered by other government agencies will now be transferred to Musanada. These include transport, healthcare and other general building projects, and could mean that major contracts about to be awarded will face delays as the reorganisation of Abu Dhabi’s projects market takes place.

The move involves staff from organisations such as the Department of Transport (DoT) and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) transferring across to Musanada to manage schemes such as Abu Dhabi Metro, the Mafraq-Ghuweifat highway and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

The largest projects that will be transferred are in the transport sector. “We have been instructed that road projects will now be handled by Musanada,” says a consultant working on road schemes in Abu Dhabi.

The DoT is on the cusp of awarding a series of major road building contracts on two major highway schemes. Preferred bidders have been selected for the Mafraq-Ghuweifat highway project, and there is a clear frontrunner for the contract to build the first section of the new highway connecting Abu Dhabi city with Dubai.

The emirate’s proposed metro and light rail schemes are also expected to be transferred from the DoT to Musanada. “I have heard the metro might be transferred, but it’s not definitive at this stage,” says another consultant working in Abu Dhabi.

The first metro line will be an 18-kilometre link between Zayed Sports City and the Mina Zayed/central business district area. There will be 17 stations on the line, 13 of which will be elevated. Contractors are currently preparing consortiums ahead of prequalifying for construction deals on the project.

For healthcare, firms that are bidding for the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City project have been informed that the scheme will now be managed by Musanada. Seha received bids for the contract to build the hospital on Abu Dhabi Island in September. The 838-bed hospital is one of the largest upcoming building projects in the emirate.

Seha was also managing the development of a new hospital in Al-Ain. After receiving bids in 2012, it was expected to award the deal by the end of this year. A joint venture of the local Arabtec Construction and Spain’s San Jose was said to be the favourite for the contract.

Another major building scheme that will be transferred to Musanada is a new prison in Al-Ain. Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters was handling the estimated AED1bn ($272m) project that will be built at Al-Wathba, near the existing prison.

Musanada was already one of Abu Dhabi’s most active construction clients, working mostly on large-scale housing schemes. Its largest projects are the AED8.5bn Al-Wathba housing development near Al-Ain, which will eventually house 130,000 people. The company began tendering contracts for the development this year.

Another more advanced housing scheme is the AED7.5bn Shamkha South development close to Abu Dhabi city, which like Al-Wathba will house 130,000 people when compete.

Musanada is a public joint stock company backed by the Abu Dhabi government. It was established by Abu Dhabi ruler and UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan in 2007 with the passing of Law 27.

The firm was formed to provide best-in-class shared services to the Abu Dhabi government in four business areas: design and construction project management, which includes housing and infrastructure; facilities management; technology; and business support.

In late 2012, its most active business unit was construction, which was overseeing 82 projects with a total value of AED33bn. Of these, 20 are housing and infrastructure schemes, 14 are in the education sector, 12 are civic and sports projects, and 36 are special projects and office buildings.

Musanada was not able to respond by the time of going to press.

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