Khatib & Alami (K&A) is working on a mega housing development
project for the Ministry of Housing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
in the governorates of Assir and Baha. The ambitious undertaking
spans 30 million m² worth of sites and has an estimated construction
cost of $2 billion USD. Work started on the 23rd of October 2013 and
expected to reach completion on the 23rd of October 2018.
K&A is dedicated to improving lives through its services and this
project is no exception. It will provide housing units for
low-income Saudi families, as part of the government plan to provide
500,000. Each site is carefully planned to create innovative and
sustainable mixed-use communities. This entails providing serviced
plots for housing units where local beneficiaries can build in
addition to the allocation of plots for social facilities (schools,
hospitals, mosques etc.) and recreational areas.
The contract included around 23 sites and the scope of work
consisted of the full detailed design of the master plan and
infrastructure (from the receipt of the sites to sites’ visits were
initiated at the outset to gather information on the local
socio-economic fabric and site constraints and urban planning; the
development and finalization of roads’ design; earthworks;
infrastructure network, to be followed by construction supervision;
the preparation of the full package for tendering; and all the
processes of receiving approvals from all concerned stakeholders).
It’s worth noting that each site is designed to be fully
self-sufficient. But this was not the only challenge. Many of the
sites had plateaus and deep valleys, which made provision of optimum
and most economical design a difficult task.
Value engineering was conducted and up-to-date standardization and
cutting-edge presentations and animations were produced since this
was a key benchmark project that could pave the way for future large
scale housing projects.
K&A’s successful approach
K&A successfully overcame all the challenges by engaging several of
its in-house departments (urban planning, infrastructure and MEP).
This multidisciplinary approach gave rise to superior solutions.
Given the sheer size of the project, K&A divided the work over four
offices. Initially Beirut handled the management, concept design and
quality control, Riyadh focused on coordination and Cairo provided
professional design support. At a later stage the Khobar office also
assisted in the design. By involving four different offices in three
different countries, the firm aimed at ensuring that the massive
amount of work was delivered on-time and upheld the highest quality
This was one of the largest multidisciplinary and multi-geography
projects and hence having a proper, well-organized system was key to
fostering good coordination from office to office. It was also
primordial to ensure there was no redundant work when dealing with
such a mega-team. Regular meetings between teams from different
sectors and cities helped monitor and exchange all the project
information and requirements.
As Ms. Yusur Kutub explains, “Having worked with a high demanding
client, we aimed for perfection and this had quite an impact on the
quality of the works produced, raising our internal standards.”