Construction projects are notoriously difficult to get right. They commonly involve companies and individuals coming together for the first time to build something using designs that have never been built before.

It is therefore hardly surprising that construction companies talk constantly about risk, and how to mitigate it.

Some projects are more risky than others. If a company has built similar projects before, then it should be able to complete another without too many problems.

The problem for Abu Dhabi’s $22bn Masdar development is that the scheme is a world first, and so presents some unusual difficulties for those involved.

Traditional methods of measuring performance such as the volume of concrete poured, or the number of floors completed within set time periods are not relevant for a project as unconventional as Masdar, so different ways of judging success must be employed.

Companies that have bid for work on the project say they have learnt new concepts, techniques and solutions for building more sustainably. That can’t be a bad thing, especially if those companies take that experience and apply it elsewhere.

Ultimately this is good for the broader construction industry. The Masdar project may continue to face difficulties but the long-term benefits that flow from over-coming them will benefit the UAE and wider region.

Masdar: New techniques are proving a challenge