Construction on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea project aims to minimise environmental impact

Construction on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea project aims to minimise environmental impact
Published: 14 April 2019 - 7:35 a.m.
By: Michael Hasenstab

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince HRH Mohammed Bin Salman, through the Public Investment Fund, is driving gigaproject development in the kingdom and construction has already progressed on one such scheme, the Red Sea Project.

According to Arabian Business, in February 2019, it was revealed that pre-construction work started on the 28,000km2 Red Sea Project, with the enabling stage of the scheme set to deploy modular and prefabricated engineering techniques.

The project’s ‘Base Camp’ marks the first of “numerous enabling works” that will be implemented in 2019 to deliver essential infrastructure for the scheme, according to The Red Sea Development Company, or TRSDC, which is wholly owned by Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF.

60 people were living and working within Base Camp at the time, with this number including project and construction managers, government affairs specialists, and health, safety and environment specialists.

TRSDC’s chief executive officer, John Pagano, said the “remote nature of the site” is likely to present some logistical challenges, which will be addressed by the work that gets under way at Base Camp.

Among Base Camp’s top priorities is the development of Construction Village, a compound that will house around 10,000 staff in Phase 1. Work on the Red Sea Project’s Construction Village will begin in Q2 2019.

Another project that will be developed within the scheme is Management Village, as part of the Red Sea Project’s Phase 0 works. Management Village will replace Base Camp as the centre of TRSDC’s operations, as well as “project management and corporate functions”, when it is complete, with work on the hub due to begin in the second quarter of 2019 as well.

A temporary bridge will be developed to connect the shore to a hub island that will be the Red Sea Project – Phase 1’s “focal point”. The bridge will facilitate the transportation of materials, and allow jetties to access more remote islands within the Red Sea Project.

In a statement, TRSDC said enabling works will adopt prefabricated and modular construction “where appropriate” to minimise the environmental and social impact on the natural site in Saudi Arabia.

Buildings and structures will be manufactured both within Saudi Arabia and abroad, and later shipped to be placed as “large prefabricated elements, thereby reducing the demand for onsite labour and temporary utilities”.

Base Camp includes a prayer hall, a dining room, a gym, and other residential amenities, with solar heaters used for hot water provision.

Commenting on Base Camp’s launch, CEO Pagano said the development took TRSDC “another step closer” to the gigaproject’s progress.

He continued: “The Base Camp is an essential first step in preparing the destination for construction.

“As with every aspect of the project, we are working hard to ensure that our operations have minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable environment for our people to work in.

“As work progresses on the destination, we will be carefully monitoring our environmental impact.”

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