Five groups pre-qualified for Dhs14.3b rail project

Tender submission date is fixed for 31st January 2005; decision on main contractor likely by first quarter

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By  Eudore Chand Published  September 4, 2004

Five civil works consortia have been pre-qualified for the region’s single biggest upcoming tender package relating to the estimated Dhs14.3 billion Dubai Light Rail project. An announcement to this effect is expected within days from promoter, Dubai Municipality. The tender documents have already been released as had been scheduled for early August. The shortlisted majors will need to submit their final tender bids by 31st January 2005. Evaluation is expected to fairly quick and the main contractor is likely to be announced by the end of the first quarter. Site preparation and ground works are scheduled to start soon after, likely by the middle of 2005 for the initial segments of the project to be fully operational by 2009 as scheduled. Construction Week was told by industry experts that the five pre-qualifiers are: Bilfinger Berger/Taisei/Besix/Orascom/Alstom/Al Habtoor; Boygues/Vivier/Hochtief/ CCIC; Obayashi/Yapi Merkazi/ Mitsubishi; Odebrecht/Bombardier/Parsons; and Saudi Bin Laden/ Siemens. No formal confirmation was forthcoming from Dubai Municipality, which is overseeing the project. Its director general, Qassim Sultan is expected to announce the pre-qualifiers in another week or so. In its Issue 34, Construction Week had reported that six joint ventures out of a field of about 60 were leading in the race for the ambitious project. The Dubai Municipality had issued the request for pre-qualification on 3rd May 2004 and had closed acceptance on 1st June 2004. Civil works companies were invited for the final design and construction of the Dubai Light Rail project that consists of two transit lines of around 70 km, out of which 30% is underground and includes two Dubai Creek crossings. The remaining sections are elevated. The Dubai Light Rail project is to be executed in stages. The works as outlined in the invitation included heavy civil engineering, including tunneling works, line, station and depot facilities, provision of electro-mechanical equipment such as elevators, escalators and air conditioning etc. and possible public utilities relocation. The project requires a very high degree of specialisation and expertise, even on an international scale. The pre-qualifiers are among the best in their field, said an industry expert. The municipality too drew the attention of the applicants to the magnitude of the project and pointed out that specific selection criteria was applied with respect to technical and financial capabilities to carry out the works. Some of the conditions that applied to the applicants included a minimum annual turnover of Dhs4 billion of which half was attributable to similar works, expertise in construction of tunnels of not less than 8.5 m diameter and of bored tunnels under the water, of pre-stressed and precast viaducts/bridges and of carrying out successful air conditioning projects in severe climate similar to that of Dubai. The pre-qualifiers will need to join up with pre-qualified rail system suppliers. They would need to arrange financing for the project implementation cost.

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