At least half of the major construction contracts awarded in Dubai from now on are unlikely to be completed in time for the 2020 Expo.

According to data from regional projects tracker MEED Projects, contracts completed in Dubai over the last five years with a contract value of more than $100m took an average of 1,492 days or 4.1 years to complete. The median, or midpoint value of the data, was 1,399 days, or 3.8 years.

 Dubai contract completions

Dubai contract completions

These two statistics mean that a contract awarded from now on is unlikely to be delivered in time for the Expo event, which will start on 20 October 2020 and will finish on 10 April 2021.

Although the average completion time is over 4 years, Dubai has completed major contracts quicker on major projects such as Dubai International airport and the Dubai Water Canal, suggesting a shorter completion time for projects that are considered critical by the government.

The emirate has several major projects to complete in time for the Expo. At the Expo site there are the exhibition areas and main pavilions, along with residential areas, and a retail-led mixed-use development known as Project Star. There is also a 15 kilometre-long metro link known as Route 2020 connecting to the Expo site from the existing Nakheel Harbour and Tower station of the Red Line of Dubai Metro.

Construction work on some of these components, notably the metro, has already started. Most of the other work is expected to be awarded and starting later this year.

Other projects, which are not directly connected to the Expo are also scheduled to be completed before 20 October 2020. The most high profile is the world’s tallest tower project. Contractors have submitted bids for the contract to build The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour and an award is expected to be made during the first quarter of this year. Piling work for the tower has already started.