Expo 2020 Dubai awards construction contracts worth US$182.41mn to Laing O’Rourke

expo2020 siteWith a diameter of 150 metres, Al Wasl Plaza will form the centrepiece of Expo 2020’s 4.38 sq km site in Dubai South. (Image source: Expo 2020)Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded two major construction contracts worth a combined US$182.41mn to international building company Laing O’Rourke

Under the terms of the agreement, the UK-headquartered contractor will build Expo 2020’s Leadership and Media Pavilions, and the event’s ‘Hammerhead’ access road to Al Wasl Plaza plus landscaping.

The company will also be responsible for carrying out associated mechanical, electrical and plumbing works.

With a diameter of 150 metres, Al Wasl Plaza will form the centrepiece of Expo 2020’s 4.38 sq km site in Dubai South. It will include a massive steel trellis dome, the contract for which was awarded to Cimolai Rimond ME in November 2017.

Ahmed Al Khatib, senior vice-president of Real Estate and Delivery at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “We are on track to deliver an exceptional site for an amazing Expo. We are delighted to announce Laing O’Rourke as the main contractor for these important two contracts. The company was selected from among strong international competitors due to its keen understanding of our technical and commercial requirements. It has a long and prestigious history within the UAE construction sector.

“These projects will be constructed in close proximity to the UAE Pavilion and other pavilions. This area is already a hive of construction activity, with all of these projects being built simultaneously. With this in mind, close collaboration between construction companies on site will be vital to coordinate logistics and ensure that work continues according to our schedule.”

UAE-based real estate developer Meraas is managing design and procurement activities for Expo 2020’s Al Wasl Plaza, which was designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

Expo 2020’s Leadership and Media Pavilions will be transformed into hotels post-Expo, as part of the District 2020 legacy development project. They are both expected to achieve four-star ratings. The Leadership Pavilion will accommodate UAE leadership during the Expo.

The Hammerhead, so called because of its distinctive shape, will house a ramped access road for Expo 2020’s truck tunnel – a subterranean road that will run underneath Al Wasl Plaza. It was designed by Pasadena-based Parsons Corporation.

Construction related to Expo 2020 is expected to reach its peak towards the end of 2018 and early 2019. There are already about 12,000 people working across all projects on the site; this figure is expected to grow to 35,000 by early 2019.

Speaking during a visit to the Expo 2020 site, Ray O’Rourke, chief executive at Laing O’Rourke, said, “The continuation of work in 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.

“We are delighted that Laing O’Rourke has been chosen to build these prestigious projects, and look forward to playing our part in the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region in 2020.”

All shell-and-core construction on site is scheduled to be completed by October 2019 – a full year before Expo opens on 20 October 2020.

Al Khatib added, “Today marks 1,000 days before Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors to the public. However, with all heavy construction activities due to be completed more than a year before the expo’s inauguration, it is essential that work continues to progress smoothly.”

In keeping with Expo 2020’s subtheme of Sustainability, Laing O’Rourke and its fellow construction companies will work together with Expo 2020 to ensure environmental, economic, worker welfare, and health and safety best practice.

Expo 2020 Dubai will run for six months, from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, and is expected to receive 25mn visits, with 70 per cent due to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion in the history of world expos.

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