Kuwait plans to complete $8bn of hospital construction projects by 2016 as it tries to meet the healthcare demands of its growing population.

For the first tender the country’s Health Ministry has prequalified contractors for its estimated $513m programme to renovate and expand eight existing hospitals.

“The ministry prequalified about 10 companies for the main construction package three weeks ago. We expect tender documents to be released in the next month,” says a source close to the project.

The winning contractor will carry out the renovation work and build additional new facilities at eight hospitals across Kuwait.

In October, the ministry awarded a KD1.8m ($6.2m) contract to the US/local team of Hill International and System Development & Project Management (SDPM) to provide project and construction management services for the programme.

As the Health Ministry prepares to tender the construction package for its renovation programme, the country’s Public Works Ministry has approved plans to build eight new hospitals by 2016. The new hospitals will add 5,000 beds to the current capacity of the state’s hospitals.

All of the eight new hospitals planned will be tendered as design and build projects, and the main construction packages are scheduled to be tendered in early 2011.

“We hope to tender these projects early next year, the maternity hospital is the first in line,” said Faisal al-Ostad, acting director of consultant department, ministry of public works, speaking at MEED’s Kuwait Projects Conference 2010 on 30 November.

The ministry is planning to build four hospitals at the Al-Sabah medical area in Shuwaikh, which is located just west of Kuwait City. The Al-Razi hospital, the Physical Medicine hospital and the Ibn Sina hospital will each have 500 beds, while the planned maternity hospital will have 600 beds.

As part of its plans to improve the provision of public health services in Kuwait, the ministry is also planning to build an 800-bed hospital at Al-Jahra, a 600-bed unit at Al-Ameeri and a 1,000-bed hospital at Al-Adan.

In addition to the new healthcare projects planned by the ministries, Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC) recently approved the award of a KD86.4m ($306.6m) contract to the local Syed Hamid Behbani & Sons to build the new Ahmadi hospital and surrounding residential buildings.

The hospital development will be located in the Ahmadi township, which is located about 40 kilometres south of Kuwait City. The client for the project is Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). The scope of the project includes the construction, operation and maintenance of the hospital and residential buildings, associated buildings and utilities. The project will have a total built-up area of 74,000 square metres.