On 22 March, the brand new Ritz Carlton in DIFC, Dubai will host the first MEED’s Quality Awards for Projects event, recognising best practice in the GCC.

The aim of the awards is to raise standards in the region’s projects sector by celebrating best practice in all branches of the Gulf’s construction industry. The awards will recognise teams that have demonstrated quality in construction, design and project delivery in schemes completed in the GCC from January 2008 until 28 October 2010.

The awards are a merit-based approach to benchmarking best practice, promoting values that lead to improvements in business, industry, social and cultural arenas. MEED’s Quality Awards are one of the only reward schemes in the Gulf based on the quality of its entrants, and the winners will be regarded as being the best of the best in the region.

Criteria

The judging criteria for MEED’s Quality Awards for Projects focuses on specific criteria relating to project development and execution in each category. But overall the judges will be looking for demonstrable examples and descriptions in the following key areas:

  •  Economic and social feasibility
  •  Architecture and design
  •  Engineering
  •  Construction procurement and project/programme management
  •  Environmental impact and sustainability

Judges

Locally appointed judges will review entries submitted in each GCC member state. The judges are experts in their field and their only motivation will be rewarding the highest quality projects within their country. Judging will take place during December. Winners at the national level will then be put forward to the next round of judging, which will select the best regional project for each of the 11 main categories.

The regional winners will be announced at the 22 March awards ceremony in Dubai. Judges will also select an overall project of the year.

Oil and Gas Project of the Year

The Middle East and North Africa region contains 60 per cent of the world’s oil and gas reserves and has become vital to global energy security over the past 50 years. The Gulf states, in particular, are spending heavily to maintain that dominance. More than $50bn-worth of oil and gas projects have been completed in the GCC over the past two years. The MEED Quality Award for Oil and Gas Project of the Year will recognise the most technically creative and sustainable projects and is open to even the smallest schemes. Projects eligible to be entered for this award include refineries, offshore infrastructure and pipelines.

Industrial Project of the Year

Aware of the dangers of over-relying on hydrocarbons revenues and keen to reduce dependence on imports, the region’s governments are ploughing billions of dollars into developing their manufacturing capabilities. Some $43bn-worth of industrial projects, including smelters, petrochemicals, fertiliser and cement plants, pipe mills and cables factories have been completed in the region since the third quarter of 2008. The MEED Quality Award for Industrial Project of the Year aims to recognise innovative and unique approaches to projects of all sizes. Projects eligible to be entered for this award include manufacturing, mining and metals schemes.

Power and Water Desalination Project of the Year

Faced with rapidly rising populations and growing industrialisation, Gulf utility providers have had to invest heavily in new power and water infrastructure. More than $30bn-worth of power generation and transmission-related projects alone have been finished in the past two years. Despite the economic crisis, demand for utilities has continued to growing, although the rate at which consumption is rising has slowed in some parts of the region. Projects eligible to be entered for the MEED Quality Award for Power and Water Desalination Project of the Year include integrated power and water projects, standalone schemes, hydro-electric projects and other infrastructure.

Water Reuse Project of the Year

Faced with a surge in expatriate arrivals since the turn of the century, the region’s authorities have been forced to improve the management of their water resources. With limited freshwater available, governments have been investing heavily in the adoption of water reuse technologies. Whereas previously, most treated sewage effluent would have been ejected into the sea, today, it is widely used to irrigate verges and golf courses in place of drinking water. The MEED Quality Award for Water Reuse Project of the Year award is for projects including public supply, waste and recycling, and sewage treatment.

Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year

In a bid to attract visitors to the Gulf region, governments are investing in cultural and tourism projects. At present, there are more than $100bn-worth of projects with a cultural emphasis planned or under way in the Middle East region. Oman, in particular, has focused on tourism development as part of its Vision 2020 plan for economic diversification. The plan sets a target for the tourism sector to contribute 3 per cent of the country’s total gross domestic product by 2020. In 2009, more than 20 hotels opened in the sultanate. Projects eligible to be entered for the MEED Quality Award Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year include cultural and heritage projects, leisure, entertainment and tourism schemes.

Road Project of the Year

Gulf governments have been using the drop in construction costs to press ahead with infrastructure schemes. In particular, investment has been ploughed into road construction, with $38.6bn-worth of schemes planned or under way in the region. The largest market is the UAE, with some $17bn of road projects ongoing or in the pipeline, about 44 per cent of the regional total. Projects eligible to be entered for the MEED Quality Award for Road Project of the Year include roads, bridges, tunnels and causeways.

Transport and Logistics Project of the Year

The past five years have seen a surge in investment in transportation projects in the GCC as governments strive to meet the logistics needs of their booming economies. Today, in the wake of the global financial crisis, those projects are playing an important role creating activity in an otherwise sluggish construction sector. There are $170bn-worth of ports, airports and rail projects planned or under way in the GCC, of which railways schemes account for some 55 per cent. The MEED Quality Award for Transport and Logistics Project of the Year aims to reward the highest quality transport projects in the region.

Mixed Development Project of the Year

The Gulf’s real-estate boom of 2005-08 brought a wave of investment in development projects that combine retail, residential, commercial, community and leisure attractions. Across the region, developers designed and built new communities on plots of land that were previously areas of barren desert. By combining residential and retail space, the planners not only maximised the profitability of the developments, but also ensured that future residents would have access to essential amenities and leisure facilities. Many of the mixed-use developments recently executed in the region also employ the latest water-reuse technologies to preserve scarce water resources. The MEED Quality Award for Mixed Development Project of the Year will recognise the best examples in the region.

Go to meed.com/awards or to meedawards.com to enter the MEED Quality for Projects awards.