Saudi plans to speed up ongoing educational project timelines from five to three years

Posted on 4th December 2014

Saudi Arabia is looking to cut the timeframe of its already ambitious five-year King Abdullah Education Programme for building more than 3,000 new schools from five years to three.

saudi univ

The programme is being delivered by Tatweer Building Co - a relatively new agency set up to take charge of school building and maintenance. It is being advised by Aecom.

Thomas Donovan, an Aecom executive working on the Tatweer Schools Programme, told Construction Week's Social Infrastructure Conference that Saudi's "incredibly aggressive" school building programme has an overall budget of around US$ 21.9 billion (SR 82 billion) and will see 10,000 schools built over the next decade.

Some US$ 11.2 billion (SR 42 billion) of this is allocated under the King Abdullah Education Programme, which is scheduled to deliver 3,200 next-generation schools over a five-year period.

“There is a lot of pressure on the programme to compress that to a three-year period,” Donovan says. “That would be more than 1,000 schools per year.”

Currently, the programme involves a spend of SR 8.5 billion (US$2.26 billion) per year to deliver 640 schools a year.

“But there is pressure to do that over three, so that will change to probably SR 12 billion (US$3.2 billion) next year and SR 18 billion (US$ 44.8 billion) the year after. We're looking to ramp up this programme significantly, dependent on our ability to align ourselves to contractors who can deliver.”

It is planning to create a number of framework agreements where prequalified contractors can join a panel of firms to deliver schools, which range in size from four to 56 classrooms. The size of contract packages will vary from from SR 15 million (US$ 4 million) to over SR 1 billion (US$ 266 million)

“We're evaluating now the first phase of a framework strategy for 1,050 sports halls spread across the Kingdom. We've pre-qualified a good suite of contractors.”

Contracts for these are expected to be tendered this month. The first framework agreement for new schools, which will require 300-500 units to be built, will be tendered "early next year", he added.

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