Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway has been named Project of the Year 2019 at the MEED Projects Awards 2019, in association with Mashreq Bank.

The $13bn inter-city high-speed railway project also won the award for Transport Project of the Year 2019.

The MEED Projects Awards recognise the best projects delivered in the GCC judged on a range of criteria that include social impact, sustainability, innovation, technical achievement and project delivery.

The judges praised the 450-kilometre-long Haramain High-Speed Railway for its social impact and for its technical achievements.

As well as praising the project’s outstanding civil and mechanical engineering, the judges were impressed by the design of its state-of-the-art stations.

The design of the stations focuses on streamlined passenger flow through departures and arrivals lounges to deliver a smooth and safe user experience. The highly efficient structures incorporate innovative prismatic daylight collectors on their roofs to reduce energy consumption.

Now in their ninth year, the 2019 awards considered all projects completed in the GCC in the two years up to 31 December 2018.

The MEED Projects Awards 2019, in association with Mashreq Bank, honoured national winners from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in a gala awards ceremony held on 24 April at the Conrad Hotel, Dubai.

READ: MEED reveals national winners of prestigious projects awards

“The GCC is home to some of the world’s most high-profile projects, known worldwide not just for their engineering and construction brilliance, but also for being beacons of the region’s economic progress,” said MEED editorial director and chairman of the MEED Projects Awards judging committee Richard Thompson. “We are delighted to honour their commitment to the highest quality standards for projects excellence.”

The headline sponsor of the awards is Dubai-based Mashreq Bank, which has sponsored the awards since 2013.

“This is our way of putting a spotlight on these projects for not only upholding quality standards, but also in improving the standard of living in the Gulf through their invariable impact on the socio-economic aspirations of the region,” said Mashreq Bank senior vice-president Mohammad al-Shouli. “We are honoured to be a partner with MEED in recognising projects excellence in the GCC.”

Winners_RCP4046_MEED Projects Awards 2019

UAE makes a mark

The UAE had the most winners at the 2019 awards with seven, followed by Oman, which scooped four GCC awards.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain each collected three awards, while Kuwait had one regional award.

The UAE’s winners included Warner Brothers World, Abu Dhabi, which won the Tourism & Leisure Project of the Year 2019, and Bluewaters Mosque, which bagged the GCC Small Project of the Year 2019.

The project ‘Improvement of Mafraq to Al-Ghweifat Border Post Highway – Section 4A from Himeem Interchange to Abu al-Abyad’ secured the Road Project of the Year 2019. Sheikh Shakbout Medical City was declared the GCC Healthcare Project of the Year 2019, and Offices 4 and Offices 5, One Central won Commercial Project of the Year 2019.

Khalifa University bagged the Education Project of the Year 2019 award, while Dubai American Academy won the Innovation Medal, sponsored by China State Construction.

Regional excellence

The Haramain railway was not Saudi Arabia’s only winner; the Titanium Sponge Plant project in Yanbu was named Industrial Project of the Year 2019.

In Oman, the projects honoured for excellence included Diyar al-Salam, which won the Residential Project of the Year 2019. The Suhar Refinery Improvement Project secured the Oil and Gas Project of the Year 2019, while the Salalah 2 Power Project was announced as the Power Generation Project of the Year 2019. Muscat International airport was declared Mega Project of the Year 2019.

Bahrain’s Madinat Salman Sewage Treatment Works, Long Sea Outfall & Irrigation Network made history by securing three awards, including Water Project of the Year 2019, Engineering Project of the Year 2019 and the Sustainability Medal (sponsored by China State Construction).

Kuwait’s regional winner was The Ministry of Education Headquarters Project, which received the Social, Culture and Heritage of the Year 2019 award.

Special awards

For his commitment to using his engineering talent and experience to support communities, Maher Habanjar, senior director of the water and environment division at Khatib & Alami, was honoured as the Engineer of the Year 2019. In a career spanning 32 years, Habanjar has worked on several renowned projects, including the Al-Wajeed Water Project to provide water supplies to remote communities in Saudi Arabia’s empty quarter.

The Founder’s Memorial bagged the MEED Editor’s Award for Special Achievement 2019, while the Al-Karamah School, Abu Dhabi won the MEED Editor’s Award for Contribution to Community 2019.

Commercial Project of the Year 2019
Offices 4 and Offices 5, One Central
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What the judges said:

“The project is a high-quality commercial space, compliant with the LEED Gold Standard and delivered ahead of schedule. The project acknowledges the lifecycle cost of an asset. It boasts a good public realm that encourages condensate recovery, has clean air, natural sunlight and is chemical free arising from a good mix of natural components being used combined with efficient architecture.”

Education Project of the Year 2019
Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi
What the judges said:

“The project achieved the Estidama Design stage 2 Pearl and effectively used BIM tools, enabling the saving of 25 per cent of time on the total design development and design coordination process.”

Engineering Achievement of the Year 2019
Madinat Salman Sewage Treatment Works, Long Sea Outfall & Irrigation Network
Engineering Achievement of the Year_RCP3738_MEED Projects Awards 2019_small
What the judges said:

“The project successfully combined multiple issues of engineering and environmental protection, using innovative techniques to provide maximum protection to the Alat Aquifer. We also commend its use of solids for agriculture fertiliser and its timely discharge to a location that allows rapid recovery.”

Healthcare Project of the Year 2019
Sheikh Shakbout Medical City
Healthcare Project of the Year_RCP3748_MEED Projects Awards 2019_small
What the judges said:

“The project used many cutting-edge construction technologies including a full-level BIM model, laser scanning to develop an as-built model to compare with the BIM model, which included data on all insulated elements to facilitate optimum operational and maintenance management, plus drones both internally and externally.”

Industrial Project of the Year 2019
Titanium Sponge Plant Project in Yanbu
What the judges said:

“We congratulate the project for the accumulation of 7 million safe man-hours, and attaining mechanical completion ahead of schedule. The project has also been selected as one of the important projects in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which is planned to reduce dependence on oil.”

Innovation Medal sponsored by China State Construction
Dubai American Academy
What the judges said:

“Dubai American Academy is special because it represents a new building method as HVAC paradigm allows projects to achieve a quadruple bottom line.  Dubai American Academy’s design integrates the structural and mechanical elements into one singular “envelope + HVAC” design in an innovative manner.”

Mega Project of the Year 2019
Muscat International Airport
What the judges said:

“There is an outstanding approach to minimise carbon footprint and the utilisation of local firms to reduce imports. The state-of-the-art technologies installed have resulted in systems that are more cost-effective and efficient, delivering a better experience for stakeholders and passengers.”

Oil and Gas Project of the Year 2019
Suhar Refinery improvement Project, Oman
What the judges said:

“We acknowledge the complex engineering on the project and praise the innovation on the existing facility. The project also provided development for young Omani engineers with support of technical expertise of PMC.”

Power Generation Project of the Year 2019
Salalah 2 Power Project
What the judges said:

“The project was completed in 2.5 years, which is rare for a project of this nature. We acknowledge the high ratio of Omani employees working on the project and the use of air-cooled condensers, which avoided the need for expensive seawater systems and associated onshore and offshore civil structure.”

Residential Project of the Year 2019
Diyar al-Salam
What the judges said:

“We enjoyed that Diyar al-Salam combines a forward-thinking design aesthetic with respect for traditional values. We especially appreciate the elevated garden, which creates balance and symmetry.”

Road Project of the Year 2019
Improvement of Mafraq to Al-Ghweifat Border Post Highway – Section 4A from Himeem Interchange to Abu al-Abyad
What the judges said:

“We congratulate the project for successfully elevating its profile through the use of LED lanterns resulting in a 60 per cent consumption reduction. Being the main connector to Saudi Arabia, we also praise the project for its two to four lane increase and for being a safer road.”

Small Project of the Year 2019
Bluewaters Mosque by Meraas
What the judges said:

“The advanced building envelope produces a singular, sacred environment, but also allows a very high level of environmental performance that lowers the building’s energy use. We also appreciate the use of innovative devices that have reduced water use, installed instead of traditional ablution area taps.”

Social, Culture and Heritage Project of the Year 2019
The Ministry of Education Headquarters, Kuwait
What the judges said:

“The headquarters have been designed with environmental considerations woven into every aspect of the project. The building’s form, inspired by the sails of a dhow, celebrates the history of Kuwait while looking forward through the incorporation of sustainable building practices into its design.”

Sustainability Medal sponsored by China State Construction
Madinat Salman Sewage Treatment Works, Long Sea Outfall & Irrigation Network
What the judges said:

“We are impressed by the social and environmental benefits of waste being transformed into useful resources. This is also the first plant in Bahrain to provide a facility for the recycling of biosolids for use in agriculture. The product water meets requirements for discharge to Gulf, conserving marine life.”

Tourism & Leisure Project of the Year 2019
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
What the judges said:

“We are impressed by the sustainability credentials held by the world’s largest indoor theme park, which are in line with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and that the project is pursuing a 2-Pearl rating under the Estidama Pearl Building Rating system.”

Transport Project of the Year 2019
Haramain High-Speed Railway Project, Saudi Arabia
What the judges said:

“The project’s impressive engineering and social impact alongside the efficient station design improves passenger flow and comfort and minimises energy use with innovative prismatic daylight collectors in the roofs of four of the terminals.”

Water Project of the Year 2019
Madinat Salman Sewage Treatment Works, Long Sea Outfall & Irrigation Network

Engineer of the Year 2019
Maher Habanjar, senior director of the water and environment division at Khatib & Alami

What the judges said:

“Our winner has a commitment to using his engineering talent and experience to support communities that really goes to the essence of what civil engineering is all about. He is also committed to nurturing and developing new engineering talent in this region.”

READ: Universities must do more to help young engineers in the Middle East, says award-winning engineer Maher Habanjar

MEED Editor’s Award for Special Achievement 2019
Founder’s Memorial, Abu Dhabi

What the judges said:

“This award is being made for a project that was so original and so innovative that it had to be recognised, but which is so unusual that it defied our ability to judge in our regular criteria. We were impressed by the precision engineering and the use of new digital technologies, without which this project could not have been delivered.”

MEED Editor’s Award for Contribution to Community 2019
Al-Karamah School, Abu Dhabi

What the judges said:

“In order to deliver this unique school in Abu Dhabi for children with autism, the team behind this project put the needs of its users at the very heart of the project, resulting in a triumphant new facility with a beautiful and well-thought-out design that creates a safe and nurturing environment for pupils and staff.”

2019 MEED Project of the Year
Haramain High-Speed Railway Project, Saudi Arabia

The MEED Projects Awards 2019, in association with Mashreq, thanks its sponsors and partners – Mashreq, China State Construction, Heriot Watt University, CIOB and Grant Thornton – and congratulates all the winners.