| 13 August, 2017

Aecom teams up with Red Sea on affordable Saudi housing

Firms look to identify ways of fast-track delivery of new schemes

A view shows newly constructed residential buildings in Riyadh

A view shows newly constructed residential buildings in Riyadh

13 August 2017
Red Sea International (Red Sea), the Saudi Arabian modular buildings specialist, announced on Sunday its Dubai-based subsidiary Red Sea Housing Services has signed an agreement with Aecom Middle East to potentially pursue housing projects in Saudi Arabia.

In a statement issued to the Saudi stock market, Tadawul, Red Sea said that the firms would co-operate over a 12-month period "to explore housing opportunities presented by the Ministry of Housing and identify ways to deliver innovative affordable housing solutions that meet the expectations of the stakeholders and can be delivered on fast-track basis".

If projects can be identified, Aecom will take on a number of responsibilities, including project and construction management, master planning of sites and infrastructure, buildings and landscape design and cost consultancy/value engineering.

“We are delighted to have signed this MOU with Red Sea Housing Services,” Hamed Zaghw, chief executive, AECOM Middle East, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“By combining our knowledge of the local market, solutions for affordable housing, and our design and program management expertise, we will explore opportunities that support the priorities of the Ministry of Housing and local real estate market.”

The company, which last week reported a 95 percent drop in profit for the six months to June 30 to 3.1 million Saudi riyals ($3.03 million) on the back of a 21 percent drop in revenue to 426.1 million Saudi riyals, already has an agreement in place with Brazilian firm Direcional Engenharia to share technical expertise for potentially developing affordable housing schemes in Saudi Arabia. The agreement was first signed in 2015 but was renewed in June for a further two years.

Saudi Arabia's housing ministry has been set some ambitious targets to grow the number of affordable homes in the country under the National Transformation Programme. It is attempting to double the contribution made to the kingdom's economy through real estate to 10 percent by 2020 and to improve the real estate sector's growth rate to 7 percent (up from 4 percent last year) by encouraging more private sector developers to build affordable homes.

The kingdom has also set the ministry a target of reducing the amount of time it takes to approve and licence new housing schemes to 60 days, down from 730 days when the transformation programme was announced last year.

The ministry has recently signed deals with six private developers in the kingdom in a bid to address the growing demand for affordable homes.

© Zawya 2017