Kuwait University (KU) receiving bids for its $473m College of Engineering and Petroleum (Coep) offers some fresh optimism to the region’s contractors in what has been a tough year for the region’s construction sector.

While the recession has put a halt to much of the large-scale real estate development that became synonymous with the Gulf during the boom years, Kuwait is pushing forward with its plans to build its new $3bn Sabah al-Salem University Campus.

The low bid of $473m submitted by Malaysia’s Pembinaan and the local Al-Sager General Trading & Contracting for the Coep conveys the large scale of the project. In addition to the large size of the project, the tender results revealed a competitive bidding process, with many of the contractor’s submitting similar prices.

The Coep is the first of several faculty buildings that are expected to be tendered in the coming months. The University is also currently tendering a contract to build a faculty of arts and a faculty of education and the $400m College of Business, the $500m Women’s College and the $140m College of Science are expected to be tendered later this year.

These large government backed projects will offer some much needed work to the region’s contractors, which have been hit hard by the collapse of the Gulf’s real estate market. With the new Sabah al-Salem campus scheduled to have 25 new faculty buildings when complete, Kuwait University’s new project is one that the region’s construction market will be watching closely over the next few years.