International construction companies have been advised to choose their projects in Saudi Arabia carefully to avoid the manpower and materials shortages that are currently blighting many schemes across the kingdom.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the MEED Saudi Mega Transport and Infrastructure Conference in Riyadh on 16 September, a senior construction expert said contractors need to work smart to avoid the possibility of making massive losses on megaprojects due to overextending their operations. 

“Contractors must realise that [in Saudi Arabia] you can’t bid on everything,” the executive said. “The last thing you want is to be overextended here. You need to concentrate on your core business and sometimes this means walking away and saying no.”

The expert added that other contractors need to look at the opportunities on offer in the kingdom and that many of the preconceptions are false.

“Saudi [Arabia] is a good place to live and work and there are several massive projects here at the moment,” he said. “However, the truth is that most people would choose to work on a project in Dubai for less money. We need to change this.”