The UAE has potential for solid economic growth over the next few years. According to investment bank specialist Arqaam, Dubai’s role of host for The World Expo 2020 can boost the UAE’s GDP by up to 5%.
The ‘Expo’, a massive international exhibition, will attract millions of people to Dubai to share industrial insight and innovation under a “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” theme.
The event will take place in the Al Wasl Plaza in South Dubai in 2020. Most of the action will happen in a conference and exhibition centre: a major event dome-shaped venue operated by Dubai World Trade Centre. The dome will act as a gigantic 360° projection screen, and will feature “top-class” audio-visual systems.
Some of the inventions shown at previous world expos include the telegraph in London, 1851, the typewriter in Philadelphia in 1876, the diesel engine in Paris in 1900, the colour TV in New York in 1964, IMAX film in Osaka in 1970, and wireless trams in Yeosu in 2012. The last expo held in Milan in 2015 prioritised products and services for “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, with featured inventions such as solar trees and energy saving elevators.
Dubai’s expo will showcase a combination of organisations, including but not limited to: strategic industries, specialised technology companies, social entities and education facilities. Expo Dubai will become UAE’s gateway into new markets for all businesses, offering them a chance to develop relationships with more than 200 participating nations and organisations. The Managing Director of Dubai Expo 2020 Bid Committee, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimi, said:
“For six months in 2020 the UAE will have the power to convene the world; to bring people together, forge new connections, and share new ideas that have the potential to help improve the future for everyone, from everywhere.”
“That’s a great responsibility for us, as the first nation from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region to host a World Expo. It is a fitting tribute to the vision of our Founders that the nation they created will celebrate its Golden Jubilee during the period of the Expo.”
A public tender will soon be released for Al Wasl Plaza.
The location for the expo site has been strategically placed next to major transportation infrastructure for great access. Ahmed Al Khatib, Vice President of real estate and delivery at Expo 2020 Dubai, has praised the strategy. He said:
“Our site is very well located from all perspectives.”
“We have huge interchanges and road networks that connect to our site, both for the event and the legacy stage. We are located next to what is set to become the largest airport in the world, Al Maktoum International Airport, and we are a 45 minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport. Also, we’re about 20 minutes’ drive from Jebel Ali Port.”
The Dubai Metro Route 2020 will take 46,000 passengers per hour to and from the Expo site in under 16 minutes from Dubai Marina.
Transportation infrastructure is therefore under great reform. According to business partner and Managing Director of Shapoorji Pallonji International Property Developers, Cyrus Engineer, said:
“To handle such a large number of visitors, there will be a huge requirement for infrastructure development in Dubai. The government has already started investing in four main areas – public transportation and transit, accommodation, a strategically-positioned site and a highly scalable supply chain. It will not be wrong to say the momentum has already started picking up.”
Transportation links have been included in the emirate’s reuse plans. Dubai will continue using 80% of Expo 2020’s site infrastructure after the event has ended. Her Excellency, Reem Al Hashimi, explained:
“His Highness Sheikh Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, instructed us to build a site for a permanent legacy and, therefore, we had to think of ways to capitalise on what was being built for Expo, as well as for post-Expo”
“We have created District 2020 to achieve that goal. It has been a key part of our planning from the very start, not just for our legacy team, but the entire Expo organisation.”
The work has already sparked enormous interest. Thousands of local people have been invited to gather together on October 20, 2017 to mark the three-year countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai. The free celebration will take place on Jumeirah Beach Residence beach, where visitors will enjoy a glimpse of what the Expo will hold in 2020. There will be an array of Expo-themed activities based around innovations first showcased at previous World Expos such as the gramophone, telephones and ice cream cones. In addition, a large television set has been erected in time to broadcast talks about Expo Dubai 2020 (including opportunity, mobility and sustainability).
Visitors can expect to see a fitness challenge, live local and international music and a variety of food and drinks. There will also be a six-metre high zip line, suitable for all people between age seven to seventy. An ‘Expo-vation’ will take place on the beach, where the desert discovery of the jewellery that inspired the Expo logo will be recreated.
Speaking positively of the celebration, Reem Al Hashimi said:
“We hope everyone will accompany us on a journey that will be shared by the nations of the world and treasured by the people of the UAE.”
Back in construction news, the site is developing at a promising rate. Management teams have now employed over 8,000 workers to bring the infrastructure to completion. Once finished, the venue will be 65 metres tall with a diameter of 150m, and it will hold up to 10,000 visitors at one given time.
Ahmed Al Khatib, Vice President of real estate and delivery at Expo 2020 Dubai, has spoken to Construction Weekly about the progress, outlining how he and his colleagues work to help the emirate’s ambitious vision. He said:
“We are ahead of schedule in some areas and, in other areas, we are on schedule”
“From a timeline perspective, we started the early works back in 2015, and they completed in 2016. We have moved approximately 5,000,000m3 of sand. Just to give some perspective, Dubai Water Canal required the excavation of 3,000,000m3, so we’ve moved almost double that quantity.”
“By the end of this year, we’ll have 100% detailed designs for all components.”
The 4.38 sq km site has four main entrances. It will be filled with fountains, waterfalls, parks and palm-lined courtyards, underneath a partially open top dome. Interestingly, the high dome found inspiration from the Expo 2020 Dubai logo: a 4,000-year-old gold ring which was discovered during excavations in the Sarouq Al Hadeed archaeological site.
In total, District 2020 will feature 135,000m2 of commercial space, 65,000m2 of residential space, 45,900m2 of parkland, and 10km of cycling tracks. The entire site is expected to house about 1 million residents and create 500,000 new jobs. All of its buildings will meet or exceed LEED Gold standards.
In July, a contract worth Dh353 million was awarded to Arabtec to build the UAE Pavilion. At a similar time, Al Futtaim Carillion won a Dh2.2bn contract to create the event’s Theme Districts; three central pavilions representing sustainability, opportunity and mobility. “The master plan is divided into three areas, which follow the sub-themes,” said the Vice President. He explained:
“We have the mobility district, the sustainability district, and the opportunity district. Each district has its own pavilion. All three districts are connected to Al Wasl Plaza, which will be the main event area.”
With a theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and promoting sustainability, mobility and opportunity, Dubai’s Expo 2020 will be hosted on a purpose-built site in unique pavilions of outstanding architectural design. The 15,000m sq. UAE Pavilion is a truly impressive focal point for the 6-month event, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to represent a falcon in flight and providing exhibition spaces, auditorium, cafés and VIP lounges. Around 200 participants are expected to contribute to Expo 2020, which in particular will address sustainable solutions to global issues and leave a lasting economic and social legacy for Dubai and its communities.
Omnium is delighted to be appointed on this unique project of exceptional design and prominence, in addition to Expo 2020’s further Signature Pavilions, to deliver full pre-contract quantity surveying services. Expo 2020 is of national and international significance, and building a sustainable and long-lasting legacy which will create opportunities for the UAE, participants, visitors and the wider community was central to Dubai’s bid to host the event. Omnium’s value engineering, strategic advice and Gulf-based, director-led expertise will ensure that the client’s budget is maximised to deliver this important project which will be enjoyed by future generations.
Led by Branch Director Kieran Duckworth, Omnium’s work on the UAE Pavilion has been, and will be, undertaken in close partnership with architect Santiago Calatrava, ensuring that the values and ultimate results of the project are consistently shared throughout. Thier team understands the importance of this project to Dubai, the UAE Pavilion sitting at the heart of global sustainability discussion and providing a unique collaborative space in the coming years. Supported by our UAE-based cost planning and head office team, as the project moves onsite they look forward to continuing to deliver trusted QS and contract management expertise that will bring Dubai to the world stage in 2020.
$3bn (AED11bn) worth of construction contracts and $98m (AED360m) of non-construction contracts have been set aside for use in 2017. These will be issued to businesses of all types and all sizes.
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) beat global competition to win the contract for the plaza. Adrian Smith was a design partner on the team that designed the Burj Khalifa.
In the run up to Expo 2020, Dubai invited 115 firms with expertise in facilities management services, such as landscaping, maintenance and cleaning to a
‘Meet the Buyer’ event. According to the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Integration at Expo 2020 Dubai, the event is “important to us as it offers a chance for us to find out about the many opportunities at Expo 2020 Dubai and what organisers are looking for from potential contractors.”
A special effort was made to attract small scale to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In September, business councils were invited from 13 countries including Australia, France, India, Oman and the UAE to attend the showcase. Such partnerships benefit both the expo host country and the small businesses. The Meet the Buyer event was the latest Expo initiative to work with businesses before 2020 by facilitating networking through opening its supply chain, encouraging interaction, exchanging ideas, sharing expertise and enabling SMEs to sell and deliver the best solutions. Manal AlBayat, the senior vice president of Business Development and Integration at Expo 2020 Dubai, said:
“Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to building a long-lasting and sustainable economic legacy, not just for the UAE but the wider region.”
“Companies of all sizes are recognising the opportunities for them to be part of the Expo journey, and the benefits and long-term value that participation has to offer”
On a larger scale, entire countries, such as Luxembourg and the UK, have started to sign Expo Participation deals. Participation at Expo 2020 Dubai is “in line with the continuing excellent relations between the UAE and Luxembourg”. By promoting innovation and sustainable development, the profile of Expo 2020 fits perfectly with UAE national policies towards economic diversification. This is largely in regard to the space sector, clean technologies, and information and communication technologies. Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg said:
“Our participation at Expo is big opportunity for making the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and all its economic advantages even better known on the international scene, and more particularly in the Middle East”
With construction making good progress, the prospect of a popular celebration around the corner, and a series of national and international trades being signed, Expo Dubai 2020 is bound to bring economic prosperity and the birth of new deals to the emirate.