The Bechtel-led BACS consortium working on lines 1 and 2 of the Riyadh Metro project expects to start tendering subcontracts in early 2014.

“Tendering for subcontracts will start in about three months, with the early works packages and then other general packages,” says Amjad Bangash, managing director, global rail business, Bechtel Group. “The packages are not finalised, but I would expect there to be some significant packages.”

The packages will be tendered once documents have been completed. “We started the engineering phase early with Aecom and we are well advanced with that,” says Bangash.

The contracts are expected to be awarded before the end of the first half of 2014.

The BACS consortium, which also comprises the local Almabani General Contractors, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Germany’s Siemens, and US-based Aecom, was awarded the $9.45bn contract at the end of July.

The consortium is currently mobilising for the project. It is setting up temporary offices and working on leases for permanent offices, looking for compounds for staff and labour, and setting up yards for construction work.

In the coming months, the consortium will begin to engage with other stakeholders in Riyadh to ensure utility and traffic diversions are well planned and executed. “For this project, it is about starting on time and starting right, and that requires engagement with stakeholders,” says Bangash.

To support its rail projects and to promote the sector to people seeking a new career, Bechtel has created a new website called webuildrail.com. Attracting qualified engineering is one of the major challenges facing firms working on regional metro projects such as Riyadh Metro, Doha Metro and the planned Abu Dhabi Metro.

The site contains video interviews with people working on these rail projects who talk about why they believe the rail industry offers fantastic career opportunities. They also talk about the positive impact rail projects have on communities.

As well as Riyadh Metro, Bechtel is working on the Crossrail project in London and the Rio Metro in Brazil.