Expo 2020 awards $182m contract for two pavilions, access road

Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded two major construction contracts worth AED 670 million ($182.4 million) to UK-headquartered international building company Laing O’Rourke to build two pavilions and an access road.

Under the terms of the agreement, Laing O’Rourke will build the Expo’s Leadership and Media pavilions, as well as the ‘Hammerhead’ access toad to the Al Wasl Plaza plus landscaping. The company will also be responsible for carrying out the mechanical, plumbing and engineering works associated with the projects.

“We are on track to deliver an exceptional site for an amazing Expo,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, senior vice president of Real Estate and Delivery at Expo 2020. “We are delighted to announce Laing O’Rourke as the main contractor for these important two contracts.”

Al Khatib added that Laing O’Rouke was selected “due to its keen understanding of our technical and commercial requirements” as well as its considerable previous experience working within the UAE’s construction sector.

With a diameter of 150 metres, the Al Wasl Plaza forms the centerpiece of the 4.38 square-metre Expo 2020 site. The plaza includes a large steel trellis dome, the contract for which was awarded to Cimolei Rimond ME in November.

Following the Expo event, the Leadership and Media Pavilions will be transformed into hotels as part of the Expo’s District 2020 legacy development project. During the Expo itself, the Leadership Pavilion will be used to accommodate UAE leaders at the site.

The Hammerhead access road – so called because of its distinctive shape – will house a ramped access road the Expo’s truck tunnel, an underground road that will run beneath Al Wasl Plaza. It was designed by the California-based Parsons Corporation.

“These projects will be constructed in close proximity to the UAE Pavilion and other pavilions. This area is already a heavy of construction activity, with all these projects being built simultaneously,” Al Khatib said, adding that “close collaboration” between companies at the site will be vital to coordinate logistics and ensure the work remains on schedule.

Speaking during a visit to the Expo site, Laing O’Rourke CEO Ray O’Rourke said that the work at Dubai South “is a great opportunity to showcase the strength of our Middle East team on Expo 2020.”

“We are committed to local employment in the region, and innovation, through our approach to offsite manufacturing, building on the knowledge and experience we have gained in the Emirates over the past decade,” he added.

Laing O’Rourke is scheduled to commence work on January 28, with all shell-and-core construction on site scheduled to be finished by October 2019 – a full year before Expo opens on October 20, 2020.

Expo-related construction is expected to peak towards the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019. There are already about 12,000 people working on projects at the site, a figure expected to grow to 35,000 by early 2019.

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