The Supreme Council of Antiquities is inviting contractors to prequalify for the main construction contract on its $500m Grand Egyptian Museum, near Cairo.

Contractors will be able to collect prequalification documents between 16 May and 11 July for the museum project, which will be located at the Giza pyramids.

The client expects to issue tender documents in the second half of 2010.

The scope of the work involves the construction of exhibition galleries, a cultural and educational centre, shops and restaurants and landscaping work.

The museum project will cover a total area of 120,000 square metres.

Construction work is planned to start by the end of October this year. The client expects 15 per cent of the construction work to be completed by January 2011, with a phased handover starting in 2012.

The museum will cover 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history and house more than 100,000 artefacts.

The design team is made up of Ireland’s Heneghan Peng Architects and two UK-based firms, Arup and Buro Happold.

In early February, a joint venture of US-based Hill International and the local Ehaf Consulting Engineers was awarded the contract to provide project management services (MEED 14:2:10).

The Supreme Council of Antiquities is part Egypt’s Culture Ministry.