US-based Hill International is the low bidder for two project management contracts for 12 healthcare projects planned in Saudi Arabia.

The firm submitted lower prices than US-based Vanir Construction Management, the only other bidder, for both contracts for the kingdom’s Health Ministry.

The first contract is for the project management of two medical cities, one planned for the northern region of the kingdom with the other planned for the southern region. The southern project, the estimated SR4bn ($1.1bn) King Faisal Medical City, will have a 1,350-bed capacity, while northern scheme the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Medical City, will have 1,000 beds. In addition to the hospitals, the medical cities will incorporate housing and other facilities for medical staff.

The second contract is for the project management of 10 new hospital projects, which will be constructed at various locations throughout the kingdom.

In January, Vanir was appointed by the Health Ministry to provide project management services for the estimated $1.2bn King Khaled Medical City , which is planned to be built in Dammam, in the Eastern Province.

The medical projects are part of the kingdom’s efforts to improve its provision of healthcare services for its rapidly growing population, which is expected to rise from 26.1 million today to 29 million by 2015. In the current budget, the government has earmarked $23bn for health and social affairs for 2012, a 20 per cent increase over the 2011 allocation.