Sources on the project say that the engineer withdrew because it was working on a fixed-fee contract that did not anticipate changes in scope. ‘It felt that its contract did not stack up commercially or financially,’ says a source. ‘There have been many changes to the scheme such as new stations, redesigned stations and changes to track alignment and it was on a fixed fee that did not cover the additional work.’

The scope of the project has changed considerably reflecting the rapid pace of development in the emirate. Project insiders say that DRL, which is also on a fixed-price contract, is concerned too about having to carry the additional costs for design changes.

‘It is normal that there will be changes on a project of this sort,’ says another source. ‘However, the changes on this scheme have been considerable. The project was designed in a very short space of time and Dubai is moving so quickly that changes are being made to reflect significant new developments, such as the Burj Dubai complex. But if they carry on like this, they will never finish the design. They need to stop.’

The project has also seen some significant changes at the client level, with the newly established Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) taking responsibility for the scheme from Dubai Municipality in November (MEED 31:3:06).