The future of construction in Saudi Arabia is bright and will lead to economic diversification, technological advancement and change in the country dynamics as well as that of the global setting. As the country continues to undertake ambitious infrastructure, several questions will likely emerge.
- How will the country ensure sustainability of the construction technology projects in the future?
The country has been heavily reliant on oil for energy production and to ensure sustainability of the construction projects the country should diversify more towards green building practices and renewable energy. This will be beneficial given that green energy will also help address environmental concerns and will economically viable in the long run.
- How should the country address the increasing demand for affordable housing and infrastructure while also maintaining quality standards
The country should move towards cheaper construction methods like prefabricated and modular housing which have been credited with reducing construction time and costs. They are also credited with being of high quality. There should be more partnerships between the government and the private sector to pool more funds for delivering the infrastructure projects.
- What more should be done to ensure that there is no delay in delivering the construction projects in time and within stipulated budgets.
The companies need to consider embracing effective project practice like transparent contracts, having scopes and monitoring and evaluation mechanism. These mechanisms go on to assist in regulating costs and timelines. The companies also get to benefit from efficiency. Regular communication with relevant stakeholders will also help with eliminating the possibility of delays.
- What steps should the country take to tackle shortage of skilled labour in the construction industry
The country needs to move away from importing skilled labor and invest more in vocational training programs. The educational institutions should make partnerships with the construction companies and come up with programs that address the needs of the market. There should be a move towards adoption of technology driven construction methods to eliminate the reliance on manual labour.
- What role will technologies like 3D printing and robotics play in the future of the construction industry in the country
The integration of these and other technologies will improve the construction efficiency while at the same time improve on quality. There will be a need for the Saudi government to put more resources into the development of these areas and offer more support to companies that adopt these technologies.
- This nation is credited with a rich cultural heritage. How will the constructors strike a balance between cultural heritage and urban development
There will be need to do proper urban planning and enforce zoning regulations so that the historical sites become protected. The constructors should encompass traditional architecture and design elements that preserve traditions in their projects to preserve cultural identity.
- There has been reported cases of construction accidents in some areas and even the neighboring countries. What are some of the steps that can be brought on board to ensure safety of workers
There should be a strict adherence to the construction authority rules and regulations. Proper training should also be offered from time to time. Theres should be regular monitoring of risks and development of mitigation measures that will guarantee worker safety. It will also be important to partner with international organizations handling safety standards.
- How can entrepreneurship and innovation thrive in the midst of construction
The government and industry players should encourage research and development by giving incentives, adequate funding and do partnerships to promote stimulation. The regulatory processes will need to be streamlined to make it easy for startups to thrive.
- What are some of the improvements that need to be done to attract foreign investors in the construction projects.
The government should move towards making the registration process simpler by simplifying them. Incentives should be provided and transparency enhanced. The financial institutions should be encouraged to lend to the construction firms. The government should go the extra mile of organizing symposiums where the construction opportunities are marketed to attract foreign capital.
- How will the numerous construction expected become resilient to climatic change and natural disasters.
The companies involved should each be required to incorporate climate resilience and disaster preparedness as part of the programs. This will include robust infrastructure, early warning systems and other adaptation strategies.
- Being a desert country, Saudi Arabia experiences water scarcity. How will this be addressed in the construction projects.
The construction projects should be implored to implement water efficient technologies. The wastewater should be reused and also adopt sustainable landscaping practices. The workers and the general public should be enlightened concerning water conservation.
- What steps need to be taken to ensure that the construction projects benefit local communities and promote inclusive growth.
The construction companies should be asked to implement community engagement programs as well as assessment programs. This will help in a better understanding of the needs and aspirations of the locals. It is not the employees who will need training but the local community as well.
- What will need to be done to handle cybersecurity concerns in the construction projects
The companies should be asked to implement strict cybersecurity measures like secure network architecture. They should also carry out regular audits to pick out any emerging threat. They will need to do collaborations with cybersecurity experts to secure all the data involved in the projects and that it does not fall to the hands of hackers.
- Saudi Arabia is known for harsh weather. What will need to be done to ensure quality and durability of infrastructural projects to beat this weather.
The companies involved will need to do rigorous material testing and regular quality control inspections to ensure that the laid out infrastructure exists for long. The companies should also use the appropriate climatic compliant materials and designs.
- How can the country benefit from latest technologies like 5G and Internet of Things in the construction sector
The 5G and IoT technologies as well as similar technologies will help the companies to do real-monitoring, data analytics and automation. The companies will reap big when they employ these technologies successively. The construction companies should always be on the lookout for the technologies that will be of benefit to them.
- Corruption and non-transparency affects the construction industry a great deal. How can this be handled?
The companies should execute serious anti-corruption measures and work towards promoting transparency mostly through digital platforms. They should also do independent audits to reduce corruption risks. They should roll out whistle-blowing initiatives among employees whilst protecting the whistle blowers who volunteer information.
- Construction companies are notorious for delaying payments. What is the best solution towards this.
It is true that late payments disrupt cashflows to subcontractors, unpaid suppliers and the workforce. To solve this, the construction industry will need to adopt industry best practices. Other issues that need to be embraced include submission of claims and invoices on time and use of smart management systems. This among others will go a long way into addressing this issue.
- Most construction companies use old technological problems. How can they be implored to move away from this
It is with no doubt that most of these companies are using old fashioned technologies in managing onsite and administrative work. These companies need to take advantage of digital transformations to improve performance and get access to insightful statistics. They should also make use of smart systems which not only improves the administration process but also brings safety in work sites. Delays will also be delayed in the process. The companies will need to invest in future technologies and robot technologies where possible.
- Saudi Arabia is notorious for human rights abuses especially for foreign workers. There have been reports that most workers especially from Africa are mistreated by their employers. What is you take on this sensitive subject?
There have been reports of some employees losing their lives at the hands of their employers. However, these cases are rather isolated and not as rampant as foreign media normally portrays. All the construction companies work under one authority and work with the laws of the land to ensure that workers rights are guaranteed at all times irrespective of their religion and social outstanding. Those that break the laws will face prosecution.
- What other strategies can be used to manage and mitigate risks in the construction projects.
The companies involved should formulate risk management plans including contingency planning and take up insurance covers. These plans should be updated regularly.
The future of the construction industry in Saudi Arabia looks bright but it also faces a wide range of complicated challenges. These are some of the questions that emerge concerning the industry. To address them will need concerted efforts and strategic solutions in order to realize economic diversification and sustainable development as outlined in the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030. A collaboration between the government and industry players will greatly help the construction industry in the kingdom.