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News & opinion

23 APR 2018

A surveyor’s role in enhancing regional infrastructure growth

Infrastructure in the Middle East has evolved slowly but significantly to become an integral part of the economy.

According to a recent report by JLL, Dubai government passed their largest ever budget for 2018 (AED 57 billion), of which 20% will be spent on the infrastructure of the Emirate, an increase of more than 40% since 2017. 

With Dubai gearing up for EXPO 2020, which is expected to drive a construction boom in the country, particular focus has been given to the infrastructure developments, with an estimated $2-4 billion being spent on the construction of the site. Dubai has nearly 200 active transport projects in the pipeline throughout worth $34 billion, and for its 2020 Urban Master Plan $2.9 billion has been set aside for three key projects:

  • Dubai Metro Red Line extension
  • phase 2 expansion of Al-Maktoum International Airport
  • multiple road works.

It’s not just the UAE that is poised for significant infrastructure developments, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy also outlines infrastructure projects covering the power, water, hydrocarbons, construction, road, rail, seaport and airport sectors. Significant projects in the country include:

  • Riyadh Metro worth $22.5 billion, the Riyadh metro project will have six lines traveling 176km with 85 metro stations and will become fully functional by 2021
  • Public Transport Network by 2030, more than 1500km of new roads are planned which will be a part of the new, world-class public transport network, at the cost of nearly $23 billion, and once completed it is expected to become the world’s largest public transport project. 

Overcoming challenges

Large-scale infrastructure projects can be extremely complex. This is because:

  • they can take many years to complete
  • they can have a lot of stakeholders
  • they often need to be executed while connected infrastructure is still in public use  
  • they need to be on-time and on-budget to prevent major disputes between parties.                                                                            

To counteract the challenges that large-scale infrastructure projects can present, it is crucial to have good commercial management. Andrew Allen, Associate Director, Advisory, at HKA, believes that commercial managers are not only able to have situational awareness, but also an understanding of how to approach, talk about and calculate risks for project success. Their role in the industry is vital to ensure the commercial success of a project.

Attaining the technical skills

With challenges persisting, the need for qualified, skilled commercial managers who are able to manage the complex budgets and schedules of infrastructure projects has increased. In order to aid commercial managers with the practical knowledge required to successfully manage Infrastructure projects, whether they are for road, rail, energy or telecommunications, RICS has launched the Commercial Management – Infrastructure Programme. Infrastructure and construction professionals in either surveying, project management or engineering who are looking to gain commercial management skills can benefit from this six-month distance learning programme.

Focused on all major aspects of commercially managing infrastructure projects, the programme features:

  • client engagement
  • tendering, procurement and balancing the supply chain
  • cost planning and benchmarking
  • risk management.

As the industry grows, it becomes vital for commercial managers to have the ability that allows them to address the challenges presented by assessing and communicating risks at all levels in the world of infrastructure. 

Discover our distance learning courses or contact us to find out more about the programme and gain a competitive edge in the market.