The two parties say the 30-month design and build contract, which covers all associated infrastructure works, is expected to top AED2bn ($540m).

The scope of works covers a series of three to eight-bedroom villas across seven gated communities on the island.

TDIC is the overall developer of Saadiyat, which aims to become a world-class cultural centre. Branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums are set to be located on the island.

In 2007 TDIC formed a partnership with Gulf Leighton to undertake contracting for civil engineering and infrastructure projects, along with project and construction management and facilities management services for TDIC (MEED 9:1:08).

In April Gulf Leighton was awarded a major contract to build a tourist village on Saadiyat (MEED 30:4:08).