The committee managing the King Abdullah International Gardens (KAIG) development near Riyadh has delayed the award of the main construction contract, as it is still deciding how to procure the project.

MEED reported in November 2010 that the local Saudi Binladin Group had submitted the low bid of SR1.89bn ($504m) for the main construction package on the gardens development. The committee received bids from eight local and international contractors and was originally expected to make the award the same month.

Saudi contract awards*
2006 $5bn 5
2007 $8.2bn 8.2
2008 $8.5bn 8.5
2009 $12.5bn 12.5
2010 $10.1bn 10.1
&=Construction. Source: MEED Projects

“The committee is not negotiating with any contractors yet, as it still discussing whether to build the project in one or in a number of phases,” said a source close to the project.

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 client is also currently discussing whether the project should be completed in 24 or 26 months. “Because of the complex nature of the work, setting a time frame for the construction work is not that easy,” adds the source.

“But the project is still going ahead and it is hoped that contractors will be on site in June or July.”

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.

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 (O&A) 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).