MEED takes Top 100 from MEED Projects database

22 July 2010

With a combined value of almost $1.3 trillion, the GCC’s 100 biggest projects are reshaping the region’s economy for future generations

On 22 March 2011 at Bahrain’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, MEED will present its first ever Quality Awards for Projects. The aim of the awards is to celebrate best practice and raise standards in the region’s projects sector.

The GCC’s projects industry is the single most important segment of the region’s economy today, with a combined value totalling almost $1.3 trillion, more than the combined gross domestic product of all six GCC states.

It is an impressive figure and the number would be even larger but for the impact of the global financial crisis on the real estate sector.

The MEED Projects Top 100 is a ranking of all active projects in the GCC based on the budget value of each project. An active project is any that has been under way or completed in the GCC from January 2008 up to 28 October 2010. Between them, the MEED Projects Top 100 represents a good summary, both of where the Gulf economies have come from and in what direction they are now heading.

Key results:

  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have long been the economic powerhouses of the GCC, account for the bulk of the plans, with 35 projects being based in the emirates and 31 in Saudi Arabia.
  • Real estate developments account for about half of the total value of all projects in the Top 100, at $761bn. This is at least partly a result of inertia – clients may not like to formally cancel their schemes which were launched when optimism over the rising value of property was at its height, but many still have scaled them back significantly or slowed work to a virtual standstill. Indeed, some projects on this list may never be completed, at least in their originally envisaged form. But for now, there is still at least some progress being made.
  • Across the GCC, governments are seeking to diversify their economies to reduce their dependence on oil and gas in the future. They are also desperate to create jobs for their fast-growing and largely young populations, and both of these policy aims are clearly evident among the Top 100 projects. Many of the largest Saudi schemes, for example, are for projects designed to create jobs and nurture new industries. These include the four economic cities led by King Abdullah Economic City (Rank 1), but also Sudair Industrial City (Rank 18) and others.
  • There are some innovativeprojects elsewhere, notably the Masdar City (Rank 12) initiative in Abu Dhabi, which aims to create a zero-carbon city close to the UAE capital and could help the emirate to develop expertise in environmentally friendly technologies.
  • Education projects also have a significant presence on the list, with projects including the $5.2bn Sabah al-Salem New University Campus (Rank 84) in Kuwait, the $6bn Education City (Rank 75) on the outskirts of Doha, and the $11.5bn Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University for Women (Rank 28) in the Saudi capital. This university-building programme holds open the possibility of a local workforce emerging with a far wider and deeper range of skills in the coming years which should, in turn, help to attract international investment to the region.
  • Such investment will also be attracted by the planned improvements to the Gulf’s transport networks. This area includes the GCC railway network (Rank 9) running from Kuwait along the Gulf coast into Oman and possibly on to Yemen. But there are also a series of urban and suburban domestic rail schemes in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, designed to deal with inner-city traffic congestion, as well as the Saudi Landbridge (Rank 61), which will connect the kingdom’s Gulf and Red Sea ports.
  • Making it easier for people and goods to move around the region is one of the principles that underpin the GCC club, and should boost trade for everyone’s benefit. The improved airport facilities will also bring in many more tourists, which is another key area of growth targeted by many countries. There are, however, some notable differences in approach between different governments. While many of the developments planned for Saadiyat (Rank 7) and Yas (Rank 4) islands in Abu Dhabi will no doubt appeal to visitors from Europe or the Far East as much as Gulf nationals, Saudi Arabia is taking a different tack, by targeting schemes such as the Al-Uqair Tourism Development (Rank 35) squarely at the GCC market.

If the Gulf countries are to diversify their economies it is important that they do so in a range of areas – one reason why intra-GCC trade has been relatively low over the years is the close similarity of all the economies. The ambitions evident in these 100 projects offer some hope that that too is set to change in the coming decades.

The MEED Projects index is rich in project data and will ensure that you remain one step ahead of your competition.

MEED Projects is the most in-depth project tracking database in the market.

You will benefit from:

  • Reliable and in-depth project data - where all progress is updated
  • Contact details for key players - the right information at the right time
  • Archive of completed projects (dating back to 1999)
  • Both budget and contract values listed
  • Full visibility on cancelled/on hold projects
  • Extensive project fields including subcontractor data
  • The ability to contact a researcher with your project queries
  • Access to a personal Account Manager
  • And much, much more…

For further information or to find out how MEED Projects can help you access and take advantage of unrivalled project data, please submit your details on our contact form:


  • Email
  • Telephone: +971 (0) 4 367 1302

Entry for the MEED Awards starts now.

The awards recognise teams that have demonstrated quality in construction, design and project delivery. Winning an award sends a message to the market that quality is essential in all parts of the project management process, from health and safety to training, and from innovation to sustainable development.

The winners will be the teams behind major projects completed in the GCC from January 2008 up to 28 October 2010.

The awards provide a multinational, merit-based approach to benchmarking best practice in the region’s project market, promoting values that lead to improvements in business and industry, social and cultural arenas.

MEED’s Quality Awards are one of the only reward schemes in the Middle East purely based on the quality of its entrants, and the winners will be regarded as being the best of the best in the region.


The MEED Quality Awards for Projects is accepting entries in the following categories:


The judging criteria for MEED’s Quality Awards for Projects 2011 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

A project can only be entered once into any category. However, any project can also be entered in to the sustainability category.

As well as a winner for each of the 11 main categories, there will also be an overall winner, as well as a personality award that will recognise an individual within the region who has strived for higher standards and greater quality.

How to enter

  • Visit
  • View the ‘How to enter’ guide and click on the category of your choice
  • Fill out the quick and easy registration form. This will allow you to generate a unique username and password
  • You will be able to manage your submissions using your unique log-in details
  • Once the category has been chosen, view the online entry form and complete the questions in the fields provided
  • An option to upload supporting material is available for images, drawings, accreditations and testimonials
  • An entry can be saved at any point to be completed at a later date
  • The automated system will send out a confirmation once an entry has been submitted


Locally appointed judges will review entries submitted in each GCC member state.

The judges are experts in their field and their motivation will only 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 Bahrain.

Judges will also select an overall project of the year, and recognise the individual that has made the most outstanding contribution to the pursuit of quality and best practice in construction in the GCC.

Key dates

  • 28 October: Entry deadline
  • December: Judging
  • January: The Winners’ Supplement – full detail of the Quality Award winners in each of the six GCC nations
  • January to March: Book your table
  • 22 March: The MEED Quality Awards for Projects. A gala evening comprising dinner, entertainment and awards presentation of the overall winners from each category

Further information


Sponsorship opportunities

  • Call Meryem Sardogan on +971 4 390 0971/ +971 (0)50 558 8395 or email

The winners’ supplement

In January, MEED will publish a special Quality Awards for Projects 2011 supplement showcasing the winning projects at the national level.

It will be divided by category and will feature the national winners in each country.

In addition, it will contain information on the projects, accrediting the clients and contractors, and be supported by comment from the judges as well as analysis from MEED.

The awards ceremony

The final stage of the process will be the announcement of the overall winners of the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2011 at a lavish awards ceremony held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manama, Bahrain on 22 March.

The winning project team of client and providers will be presented with a specially designed trophy in front of an audience of key decision-makers from the GCC construction industry.

The awards will be widely covered in MEED and in the regional trade and national press.

Five reasons to attend the awards ceremony

  1. Network with winners, judges and VIPs
  2. Meet key decision-makers in the region to raise your company profile
  3. A prestigious gala dinner with entertainment and a high-profile host
  4. Celebrate and reward the best clients
  5. Regional and media coverage with follow-up interviews with attendees and VIPs

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