Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Corporation (TDIC) has received bids from contractors for the piling and foundations works for the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum on Saadiyat Island.

The bidders include three local companies: Middle East Foundations, NSCC, and Sharaf Foundations.

At least six international companies also bid: France’s Soletanche Bachy; Swissboring, which is part of Italy’s Trevi Group; the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty; the local/Turkish Al-Habtoor STFA Soil Group; and German firms Bauer and Keller Grundbau.

The tourism corporation appointed Bauer to carry out enabling works on the project in mid-July.

In early October, the real estate developer prequalified contractors to tender for the estimated $1bn main construction contract. Firms expect the developer to issue tender documents before the end of 2009.

The UK’s Buro Happold is the engineer, France’s Jean Nouvel is the architect and US-based Aecom is the programme manager.

The governments of Abu Dhabi and France signed a 30-year cultural accord in 2007, enabling Abu Dhabi to build a museum using the Louvre name.

The Louvre is one of five schemes planned for Saadiyat Island’s cultural district. The others are the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, a performing arts centre and a maritime museum.