News about Saudi Arabia’s construction industry is making a lot of headlines recently, but that’s not to say the kingdom hasn’t been breaking records for some years.
Below are 10 facts about the country’s construction sector (some more closely related than others), which we found interesting.
1. King Fahd International Airport is bigger than Bahrain.
Completed in 1999, King Fahd International Airport is located to the northwest of Damman and at 780km2 is the largest airport in the world in terms of land area. It is also larger than Bahrain, which has an area of 665km2. The airport mainly serves Damman, Dhahran, Khobar, Oatif, Ras Tanura and Jubail.
2. Jubail is the largest ongoing civil engineering project in the world today.
Work began on Jubail city more than 30 years ago. In 1983 the city was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest engineering and construction project ever attempted and with work still ongoing it’s still breaking records today.
3. Saudi Arabia has the world’s second longest causeway.
The King Fahd Causeway, linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, is fifteen and a half miles long and is the second longest causeway in the world.
4. The KSA aims to become one of the world’s best investment destinations.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) has ambitions for the country to become one of the world’s top ten competitive investment destinations by 2010. The construction of the kingdom’s economic cities are an integral part of this plan.
5. Saudi Arabia has a huge shortage of housing.
The kingdom’s population of 25 million people is growing at a rate of 2.5% a year and is set to double its population in 28 years. Already there is a drastic shortage of housing. According to Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry the kingdom must build at least one million new homes in the next five years to address this growing need.
6. The KSA plans to spend US $35 billion on construction.
In total, current infrastructure and public sector building programmes are valued at some $35 billion. Plans include building 600 new factories, schools, doubling desalination capacity, increasing electrical generation and distribution.
7. The authorities are planning to make the Grand Mosque into one of the largest buildings in the world.
Makkah is home to the Masjid Al Haram, the largest mosque in the world, also known as the Haram or the Grand Mosque. It is considered by Muslims to be the holiest place on Earth. Saudi authorities have said they are considering renovating the mosque to triple its capacity, which currently stands at 900,000 people, making it one of the largest buildings in the world.
8. Saudi Arabia will be home to the biggest (not tallest) building in the world.
The Abraj Al Bait Towers, when complete, will be the largest building in the world by mass. It will also be the tallest building in the kingdom and the second tallest building in the world, standing at 485m.
9. Jeddah is home to the tallest fountain in the world.
The King Fahd`s fountain, also known as Jeddah fountain, is one of the most famous landmarks of Jeddah. It was built in the 1980's and is listed by the Guinness World Records organization as the tallest fountain in the world. The water shoots up to 312m high and at speeds of up to 233 miles per hour.
10. Jeddah has 50 slums.
Saudi Arabia's property shortage, especially affordable homes, has led to the creation of 50 slums in the city, housing 1.2 million people. The Jeddah Municipality plans to reduce this number of people to 300,000 by building more high density developments in the city as part of its Jeddah Strategic Plan.