Architecture, Jeddah Tower, Saudi construction, World's tallest tower

Jeddah Tower built up to 63rd floor as infra works progress

Construction on Saudi Arabia’s $1.5bn Jeddah Tower has reached the 63rd floor with shelling and cladding work to be completed next year, reported Construction Week.

A spokesperson from the project gave an update on the tower’s progress, adding that delays in some areas were inevitable because of technical challenges, according to a Reuters report.

Mounib Hammoud, chief executive of Jeddah Economic Co (JEC), said, “We have faced delays. In projects of this magnitude you always have delays — I hope we’ll recover… We will be open for business by 2020, hopefully.”

Hammoud added that the construction of the project will continue ahead despite Saudi Arabia’s purge last year to crackdown on corruption. The allegations saw the detention of several businessmen, including investors in the project.

JEC, owned by Saudi investors including Kingdom Holding Co, which has a 33 percent stake, and construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, which has 16.6 percent and is the project’s main contractor, were both affected by the corruption purge.

Kingdom’s owner, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was detained for nearly three months before being freed in January. Binladin chairman Bakr Bin Laden and some family members were also detained, and the firm said last month that part of their shareholdings in it might be transferred to the state in a settlement. Most or all of the men have now been released.

Despite these charges, construction is moving ahead, with infrastructure works to begin soon after a contract was awarded by Jeddah Tower and Jeddah Economic City in January.

Al Fouzan Trading and General Construction Company won the $165.3m (SAR620m) deal and is expected to complete the infrastructure work within 12 months.

In addition, the concrete mix is being approved by a structural engineering firm in Chicago every month, due to the effects of the regional climate, while experts must check almost every week that the tower is 100% vertical.

JEC is expected to sign a contract this week with power utility provider Saudi Electricity Co to build a 134 megawatt substation to serve the project, Hammoud said in the Reuters report.

The chief executive added that his company had also begun negotiations with investors to build hotels at the site.

Scheduled for a 2020 completion date, the Jeddah Tower is projected to be more than 1,000 metres tall, hosting residential, hotel, and retail space.