Focus on Sustainability in Construction

February 12 , 2015
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There will be twice as many green buildings in Saudi Arabia by the end of the year, according to a new report. 

The country was slow to embrace sustainable building technology but now it is set to become one of the region’s leaders, says the report by Ventures Middle East in the run up to The Big 5 Saudi 2015 International Construction Show in Jeddah on March 9-12.

The report Focus on Sustainability in Construction in the GCC says: “The rise in green buildings has resulted in an increased demand for green building materials. It has also resulted in the creation of new and unconventional building materials, which are in line with new building specifications.

“The market requirements for greener projects primarily come from the client and project consultants, however, regulations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi make it compulsory. However, the GCC market still needs more building product options, with sustainable solutions, in order to meet the upcoming demand. 

Green buildings occupy 20 million square metres of land in Saudi Arabia and Ventures ME forecasts that that figure will double by the end of this year.

The report looks at the whole GCC with a focus on each country individually: “Green buildings witnessed a slow take off in the GCC due to three main reasons: lack of legislation, absence of visible financial incentive and limited awareness of environmental issues."

And Saudi is one of the countries that has made significant strides: “Saudi Arabia has made significant efforts at keeping up with the green building trend with its share of regulations. The Saudi Green Building Council, formed in 2009, is expected to finish its own draft of LEED-like regulations and ratings in a period of three or four years.

 “The area occupied by the green buildings in the Kingdom exceeded 20 million square meters by the end of 2014 but is expected to double in 2015, most of which are located in Riyadh with investments of around $53.3billion (SR200bn). 

“This will be an important move for Saudi Arabia, as it is regarded as one of the largest environmentally challenged countries, thanks to its large scale ongoing development programs. The Kingdom accounted for 15 percent of the green building projects in the Middle East in 2015 according to figures quoted by Faisal Al-Fadl, head of the Initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Green Building, with more than 300 projects out of the 2,000 ongoing across the Middle East.”

During the 2010 Saudi First Green Building Forum, Saudi invited GCC countries to suggest QSAS to be adapted to regional conditions and used as the region’s green building code. The first green building forum was the setting for the launch of the King Abdullah initiative for Green Buildings with the Minister of Municipality and Rural Affairs as a partner.

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