Construction consultancy WSP may open offices in Saudi Arabia this year to address capacity needs for social infrastructure projects, the company's client director, Gurminder Singh Sagoo, told Construction Week.
WSP plans to develop client-facing offices in Riyadh and Jeddah in 2019 due to a rise in the volume of work in the kingdom, particularly in terms of construction management.
Work is already under way on an office refurbishment programme for WSP's local presence, with the consultancy buoyed by booming construction activity in Saudi Arabia, Sagoo said.
With Saudi investing billions of dollars into infrastructure modernisation, WSP is keen to get involved in the kingdom's future building programmes, and is eyeing social infrastructure projects across the housing, healthcare, and road sectors.
The company is already working alongside the Public Investment Fund on an unnamed project and hopes to win more work in the future.
“We know that the landscape of Saudi Arabia needs [housing, hospitals, and schools], and all of that needs to sit on the ground, which needs wet utilities, roads, bridges, connections – that’s what we’re looking at,” said Sagoo.
Thanks to a combination of acquisitions and organic growth, such as its takeovers of Louis Berger and Parsons Brinckerhoff, WSP has bolstered its programme management credentials over the years, and plans to draw on these capabilities to support social infrastructure initiatives in the kingdom.
While specific project details could not be discussed due to commercial sensitivities, Sagoo said the business was capable of supporting a surge in social infrastructure projects in Saudi.
“If you’re looking to deliver major housing infrastructure in Saudi, you need to understand how to deliver the infrastructure that allows you to build 10,000 or 35,000 housing units.
“We need to build on our strengths,” Sagoo continued. “Our strength here in Saudi Arabia is programme management and, as such, we need to build on that capacity.”
Bringing its design expertise to Saudi Arabia is the next part of WSP’s growth strategy.
Having delivered 14 high-rise towers in Dubai alone, Sagoo said the firm had a good reputation in the UAE for high-end property and building work.
“We have a huge skillset that understands how to deliver projects like that,” he said, adding that WSP was now working on ways to deploy its “great design expertise” in Saudi Arabia.