5 Construction Mega Projects to look out for in 2016
Construction mega projects, especially those related to infrastructure, play a crucial role in shaping the future of individuals, cities, and states. They have the potential to transform entire countries, and have done so; the Panama Canal, for instance, today is responsible for much of the country’s GDP. Another mega project which springs to mind is Dubai International Airport, which contributes around 25 percent of both Dubai’s employment and GDP. These and many more mega projects have achieved their initial purposes, seen expansion and have inspired plans and construction of new mega projects. As 2015 draws to a close, we consider what will happen in the construction industry in 2016 and beyond.
1. Panama Canal Expansion
Since 1914 the Panama Canal has allowed ships to pass from the Atlantic through to the Pacific Ocean. In over 100 years of existence, this mega project continues to enjoy great success. However, increasing ship sizes and transport volumes, competition through the Northwest passage or Suez Canal, and significant water loss in the oceans at Lake Gatun have necessitated an expansion of the canal – even if it means cutting out more of Panama. Set to finish in 2016, the expansion project will make the existing canal wider and deeper. A 6.1km long channel will be carved out for new floodgates. The whole process is going to consume over 4.4 million cubic metres of concrete and cost more than US$5.25bn.
2. Gujarat International Finance Tec-City
To grow its financial industry and become a global financial hub, India commissioned the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) mega project. Upon completion, it rival with Paris’ La Défense, Tokyo’s Shinjuku, and the London Docklands. As a construction model in India, GIFT will advance the idea of sustainability in the country. Following the construction of basic infrastructure and development of services, the third phase of constructing the fully built city is scheduled to begin in 2016.
At a planned cost of US$20bn, the city will stretch over 5.8 square kilometres of real estate and residential space, including over 200 skyscrapers upwards of over 80m height. This mega project has dedicated some 35 percent to green areas, and about 25 percent to infrastructures like roads, parking, and grass strips.
3. Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project
This mega project creates a city-within-a-city idea in the west of New York. The project is the biggest real estate development in U.S. history and the largest in New York since the Rockefeller Centre. The site will stretch over more than 1.6 square kilometres, comprising an equal share of residential and commercial space, and open spaces. It is not just its vast size within the world’s most famous metropolis that makes this mega project so remarkable.
The real highlight lies in its concept. Built above one of the world’s busiest railway yards that will keep running uninterrupted, the mini-metropolis will float over the streets of Manhattan. The whole site will rest on a technically highly sophisticated network of steel beams, concrete, and tunnels. Finding the space for and building a structure that can carry the enormous weight of a city of high-rises and luxury spaces poses a huge challenge, one that is being tackled jointly by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. While the eastern platform is to be completed this year, the western platform will reach construction end in 2016. Construction on the upper levels will begin thereafter, set for completion in 2024. The total budgeted costs for this project add up to US$20bn.
4. Riyadh Metro
In 2014 construction giants Bechtel, FFC, Strukton, and many more, came together to start building the new infrastructure backbone of Saudi Arabia’s capital, after having been awarded contracts adding up to over US$23.5bn. As Riyadh’s population is expected to grow by 25 percent until 2030, the new metro system is designed to cater to the demand of an ever-growing population, reduce street congestion, and improve air quality. Over 176 kilometres of the railway line, combined with 85 kilometres of bus rapid transit, make the Riyadh Metro the biggest mega project of its kind in the world. Many of its stations will be designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The technologies necessary to that end include heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning efficiencies, and installations that conserve energy and water. Additionally, the structures take advantage of Riyadh’s environment, generating electricity through photovoltaics.
5. Khazar Islands
While most mega projects have the purpose of advancing society, or at least to cater to the needs of a growing world economy, Azerbaijan’s Khazar Islands has a different focus. The centerpiece of these islands, the creatively named Azerbaijan tower, will be the world’s newest tallest building. Construction kicks off in 2016. The tower will rise over 41 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea, requiring the demolition of a mountain nearby. The islands are to feature at least eight hotels, an airport, a yacht club, and a Formula 1 racetrack. Estimated construction costs for the tower and the rest of the site are US$2bn and 100bn respectively.
Apart from the inherent environmental destruction, such a mega project would hardly raise any eyebrows if it were to be constructed elsewhere, like the United Arab Emirates. Locating such a mega project in a country like Azerbaijan, a nation at the lower end of the Human Development Index, can only be called lunacy. The project is the brainchild of project developer and billionaire Ibrahim Ibrahimov, and his ties to the corrupt and newly oil-rich government of the country.
Outlook for the next year
With an anticipated growth of around 3 percent in 2016, the global construction industry is continuing an upward trend. Therefore, staying up to date with the latest megaprojects is happening is crucial for (aspiring) global players in the construction industry. To help you with lead generation, you can find more detailed information on each of the mega projects described above and many more, on the Building Radar platform.
Author: Laurenz Kalthoff