Dubai’s construction sector set for the heavy lifting

Date: 23 Nov 2016

New project activity will be particularly strong during second-half 2017


The much anticipated pick-up in construction activity in Dubai next year could compensate for the slack that crept in since oil prices turned soft. Industry sources are particularly hopeful of a strong second-half 2017 with the Dubai Government as well as private sector players likely to sign off on major contracts.

“We believe the first-half of 2017 will be more or less aligned with the second-half of 2016. We should see a stronger pick up in contract awards … but not until the second half of 2017.“We are expecting to see positive growth (in the construction sector) within Dubai of 4-5 per cent towards the end of 2017 and this will continue to grow leading up to the Expo 2020,” said Niall Greene, Managing Director — Middle East at the consultancy Linesight. “There is a slowdown in activity within Abu Dhabi … however, other emirates are performing at a steady pace. We have seen a stronger activity emerging in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

The mood in the industry is certainly skewing towards the positive, and it has got more so with the hugely ambitious Dubai Water Canal development passing key milestones in recent weeks. This, more than anything else, has consolidated the belief that Dubai’s construction sector can deliver complex projects on time and with minimal disruption to the city’s pace of life. All of which bodes well for the Expo 2020 build-up, and which was in evidence at the Big 5 Show that opened in Dubai on Monday.

“We have already seen the green light given to the construction of the World Expo 2020 site in September, while city-altering projects such as the Dubai Canal, Blue Waters Island, The Tower and the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport proceed, generating jobs across the economy and helping to drive up residential demand for properties both for purchase and rent. These triggers are only just materialising.”

For an industry that relies so much on sentiments these details matter. The first-half of this year was uniformly gloomy and there was even muted talk that the industry might need to wait until 2018 before the Expo 2020 project ballast could actually lift it. The sub-contracting industry was particularly hit by job losses. And news about delayed payments affecting even some of the biggest names in the business cast long shadows across the region.


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