Construction work has been launched on the new Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sakhir, following the appointment of Cebarco Bahrain as the main contractor for the project.
Located next to Bahrain International Circuit – which was also built by Cebarco Bahrain in 2004 – the new expo centre is expected to be completed in two years.
His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, laid the foundation stone for the project, marking the commencement of above-ground construction works on the new expo centre.
The project comes as part of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority’s (BTEA) efforts to stay ahead of the competition and meet the kingdom’s needs in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism sector.
Cebarco Bahrain chairman and chairman and CEO of the KAR Group Dr Khalid A Rahim attributes the company’s success in winning this project to its track record in delivering projects on time and to the high construction standards expected by its clients.
“We always target the strategic jobs and work hard on securing them,” he tells Gulf Construction.
In addition, the company has a good reputation for cooperating with clients to accommodate any changes required by them, he adds.
“We are not a claim-oriented contractor and we have done a lot of good jobs,” he says.
The scope of the BD83.6-million ($220.4 million) contract entails the construction of the exhibition and convention centre that will be built on a 309,000-sq-m plot of land. The 149,000-sq-m main building will include 10 exhibition areas, totalling 95,000 sq m, along with dedicated areas for retail and events. The facility will also include a 4,500-sq-m conference hall divided into three separate hi-tech rooms, in addition to 27 small- and medium-sized conference and meeting rooms with the capacity to accommodate approximately 4,000 guests.
Two VIP majlises and a parking lot that can accommodate 1,600 vehicles are also part of the master development. In addition, the parking facility of the proposed BD165-million Sports City that will be built adjacent to it in Sakhir would also be used to accommodate the large number of visitors that are expected at the exhibition centre during the major events that it will host.
German consultants Tilke Engineers and Architects, which designed and supervised work on Bahrain International Circuit, is responsible for the design and supervision of the state-of-the-art exhibition centre.
The experience of having already worked with Tilke Engineers on two projects at the BIC as well as the Abu Dhabi racing circuit has also helped Cebarco’s approach to the project, says Dr Rahim. “Many members of the delivery team, client, consultant and contractor all worked successfully together building the BIC and it will be a pleasure to again re-establish this proven working relationship to deliver the new project. I intend to establish my office on the project as I did for the BIC so that I can closely monitor the timely delivery,” he adds.
Given Cebarco’s past experience in handling large-scale projects and the support of the KAR Group of companies of which it is a key member, the company has the wherewithal to handle the project in terms of personnel, equipment and materials.
A factor that will help the company in mobilising for the expo centre project is that Cebarco is currently working on a project at the Bahrain International Circuit, which is nearing completion.
Peter Sellers, CEO of Cebarco, explains that all the exhibition halls at the centre will be steel structures, while the conference halls and meeting rooms will be a mixture of concrete and steel structures. The company will be looking at working with a steel contractor from Bahrain or elsewhere in the GCC for the steel works, he adds.
Also, with Cebarco close to completing the concreting works on the Marassi Galleria and the Vida Hotel and service apartments and a major project at the BIC, it would free up some of its existing resources and staff for the exhibition centre project, Dr Rahim says.