Jeddah Tower restart is watershed moment

15 September 2023

Commentary
Colin Foreman
Editor

The issue of the tender to complete the world’s tallest tower is a watershed moment for the Jeddah Tower and broader Saudi construction sector.

Construction in the kingdom has had a rough ride. The 2014 drop in oil prices ushered in a decade of stalled projects and spending cuts for the industry. While gigaproject announcements have pointed to a brighter future, financial concerns have stubbornly remained.

As the world’s tallest tower, the 1,000-metre-plus-tall Jeddah Tower symbolised the challenges of the past 10 years more than anything else in Saudi Arabia. As the tower restarts, the construction sector will want to finally consign the stress of the past 10 years to the history books.

While getting paid remains essential, the focus is shifting to other areas with issues such as logistics and recruitment, and for projects such as Jeddah Tower, engineering challenges are now a primary concern.

Building tall towers and other record-breaking projects are serious undertakings, but unlike chasing payments, they are challenges the construction sector should relish.

Images: Jeddah Economic Company; Dar al-Handasah

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Colin Foreman
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