Algeria’s National Agency for Design and Management of Djamaa el-Djazair (Anargema) has delayed the completion date for the world’s third largest mosque by one year to 2014.

The delay is the latest in a series of setbacks that have beset the project at the design, site preparation and technical study stages. Experts have repeatedly claimed that problems exist with the geography of the site, but Anargema has declined to comment on the claim.

According to Bouabdallah Ghoulamallah, Algeria’s Minister of Religious Affairs, the latest delay comes after Canadian architects made changes to the early design of the Djamaa el-Djazair, unofficially known as the Great Mosque of Algiers.

Ghoulamallah says the changes have made delivering the mosque before mid-2014 impossible. Canada’s Dessau is assisting Anargema in an advisory role, but is not involved in design or technical decisions.

A consortium of German design/engineering consultants Krebs und Kiefer (KUK) and KSP Engel und Zimmerman (KSP) designed the 218,525 square-metre site and the 273,000 sq m structure in 2008, and completed technical studies in December 2009.  

Shortly after completing the studies, Anargema announced the extension of the original bid deadline from 23 February to 24 March.  

The delay of completion comes two weeks after the close of an international prequalification of contractors for the estimated $3bn main construction contract. Anargema had prequalified 21 international contractors and three local companies, but have declined to comment on their identities.

The finished project will include a 21,000 sq m prayer room, a 21,000 sq m courtyard, a 42,000 sq m esplanade and a 300-metre minaret and will be able to accommodate 120,000 worshippers.

The Great Mosque will also include a two-building culture centre made up of a 16,000 sq m auditorium and a 21,800 sq m library. A 300-student graduate school and a 180,000 sq m car park complete the development.