There has still been no contract award on the estimated SR1.89bn ($504m) King Abdullah International Gardens (KAIG) cultural project, near Riyadh, as the government has yet to decide how to procure the scheme.

Contractors submitted bids for the garden project in the middle of 2010, with the local Saudi Binladin submitting the low bid of SR1.89bn. The KAIG committee, responsible for developing the project has received bids from eight local and international contractors and was originally expected to make the award by December 2010. MEED reported in September 2011 that the committee managing the KAIG development near Riyadh has still not appointed a contractor for the main construction package on the project.

The project has faced delays as the client held discussions on whether to change the procurement of the project from one main construction package into separate phases. It is unclear whether the project will be retendered or the client will press ahead with selecting a contractor based on the bids received in 2010, according to sources in Riyadh.

The main construction package was previously expected to include all external construction services on the 1.6 million-square-metre site, as well as a 100,000 sq m building.

The garden’s centrepiece will be a 40-metre-high crescent-shaped plant laboratory and indoor botanical garden. The building’s roof will have a span of up to 90 metres and will be one of the world’s largest tensile fabric-covered structures.

The UAE-based Al-Arif Trading & Contracting was awarded a contract in late 2008 to prepare the site and establish perimeter fencing around the project. The local Omrania & Associates is providing site management and construction supervision.

Detailed design, construction documentation and other building services were carried out by a joint venture of UK consultants Barton Willmore and Buro Happold (MEED 5:11:10).