Contractors to invest in first 'luxury' labour camp

Acute shortage of labour camp accommodation prompts developers to target the sector.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  December 10, 2005

Contractors are being invited to invest in the UAE’s first ‘luxury’ labour camp for construction workers. Developer Tameer Holding is building what it describes as ‘plush’ accommodation consisting of 1000 rooms on a one million square foot development in Umm Al Quwain. And Construction Week has learned that other developers are also drawing up plans to build similar new camps in anticipation of a licensing scheme covering the sector. The US $27 million (AED100 million) development will offer high quality facilities, cleaning services and security to site workers — in stark contrast to the squalid accommodation typically associated with labour camps in the Gulf. The site has been chosen to service several mega-projects in close proximity. Contractors will be able to invest in 99 year leases and the minimum investment will be for nine rooms. Construction companies will also be allowed to sub-let the properties if required. Omar Ayesh, president of Tameer Holding, said: “We aim to provide high standard residential units with excellent facilities and services for construction workers and others.” He added: “There is a big shortage of labour accommodation and there is demand for more projects like this one. But it is difficult to find decent plots and the land prices make them expensive to develop.” International property consultant CBRE has received several enquiries about similar schemes at its Dubai office. And developers in Abu Dhabi are also drawing up plans for a new generation of labour camps designed to service the expected surge in construction activity within the emirate over the next five years. “We have been approached by several developers and quasi governmental organisations looking at the feasibility of developing housing compounds that enhance human rights for lower paid workers,” said Simon Townsend, director, CBRE. The housing development will be located within Tameer’s Emirates Modern Industrial Area. “We will provide all the maintenance, cleaning and security and there will be shops and all the facilities that workers would need in one place,” added Ayesh. The acute shortage of labour accommodation in Dubai has pushed up rents and forced contractors to cram more workers into dormitory-style accommodation. CW recently uncovered a family-sized villa in the Dubai suburb of Satwa where 87 Indian construction workers had been forced to live.

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