Durrat Al Bahrain project set to restart in January

Work on the US $1 billion Durrat Al Bahrain project has been put on hold until January to give global consultancy firm, WS Atkins, time to review the troubled resort project designs with the freedom to make necessary changes.

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By  Eudore Chand Published  December 1, 2003

Work on the US $1 billion Durrat Al Bahrain project has been put on hold until January to give global consultancy firm, WS Atkins, time to review the troubled resort project designs with the freedom to make necessary changes. WS Atkins will be responsible for the design and management of the whole project, Durrat Al Bahrain general manager Mahmood Abdulrahman said at a press conference in Manama last week. “That means architecture, engineering, landscaping – everything you can think of except hotels, which will be the responsibility of the people who invest in them,” the general manager was quoted as saying by Reuters. All work, including dredging and land reclamation, was stopped after Kuwait Finance House bought out a 50% stake in Durrat Al Bahrain, previously held by Saudi-based Dallah Al Baraka, in August. Over the last two months six companies have bid for the contract to redesign and oversee development of Durrat Al Bahrain. UK-based Atkins was chosen because of its track record of working on major projects around the world. A team of international experts will now be flown in specially to breathe new life into Durrat Al Bahrain. Atkins Middle East managing director Tim Askew said the company would try to stick closely to the original designs where possible, but would not hesitate to make changes, which would add to the project. “The primary thing is to review all work done to date - such as data, environmental impact studies and marine studies,” said Askew. “Then we will overlay our masterplan on the work which has already been done. “It is fair to say we want to make as few changes as possible, but at the same time we want this to be a world-class project. We want to improve the style of the project so it has more of a signature.” Atkins may even go as far as changing the shape of the islands, which make up the sprawling complex. Apart from WS Atkins, a letter of intent was signed to appoint Hisham Abdulrahman Jaffar (HAJ) Quantity Surveyors to the project. HAJ will provide survey services, project cost control and help in the preparation of tenders, contracts, estimates and job evaluation. Work on Durrat Al Bahrain is now due to resume in two months. All components are to be completed within five years. The first phase includes preparing the layout, building man-made islands and infrastructure and should take 24 months to finish. Residential units will be built a few months after land reclamation gets underway again and the first villas are expected to be ready in 18 months. Work should start again in January and new proposals may incorporate a pearl theme to match the name, which literally means Pearl of Bahrain. Preliminary work on Durrat Al Bahrain started in Janaury last year, but so far just 25% of land reclamation has been completed.

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