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News

  • March 24, 2022
 
 

by Olly Piltz

‘Mega-project’ is a term that has been commonly used for decades to describe vast and complex ventures. However in more recent years as we see an emergence of new, even more elaborate projects the term giga-project has become a more apt description. And no country has epitomised giga-projects more so than Saudi Arabia.

As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 the government are planning, and currently delivering, several projects which have come to be called “Giga-Projects”.

These giga-projects are predominantly funded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of at least $500 billion. It was created in 1971 for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. PIF has a world-class investment portfolio with a focus on long term and opportunistic investments both domestically and internationally.

These giga-projects are intended to stimulate the economy and their benefits are expected to expand significantly beyond the real estate and infrastructure sectors to diversify the core GDP away from fossil fuels. They support the Kingdom’s economic transformation efforts and promote investments in several sectors, whilst achieving high returns over the medium and long term.

There are currently five giga-projects in the Kingdom. Some of the iconic giga-projects announced, as part of Vision 2030, include:

  • NEOM – A 26,500 sw. km hub for innovation and a sustainable ecosystem for living and working, on the north-western edge of Saudi Arabia.
     
  • The Red Sea Development Project – A 34,000 sq. km luxury tourism venture along the pristine coastline of the north-western Red Sea.
     
  • Amaala – A 3,300 sq. km resort and wellness destination, on the north-western Red Sea Coast.
     
  • Qiddiya Entertainment City – A 334 sq.km entertainment city, the largest in the world, located in south-west Riyadh.
     
  • Diriyah Gate Development Authority – A 7 sq.km community set to become the Kingdom’s historic and cultural heart, located on the north-western outskirts of Riyadh.

What it’s like working on a Giga Project?

Working on a giga-roject is like working on nothing else, there are a range of unique benefits and challenges to working on such a vast venture, and below is a breakdown of some of these:

Unique benefits

  • These projects are considered world firsts and delivered on an unrivalled scale
  • They incorporate the highest level of development, design, construction and innovation within real estate and the built environment
  • These projects will pioneer the way the world delivers projects in the future
  • Championing new technologies combined with methodologies to enable an ultra-fast offsite production and assembly, project delivery model
  • Creation of an unrivalled procurement, supply chain and logistics ecosystem
  • The opportunity to work alongside the best talent from around the world
  • Beautiful climate and weather conditions
  • Strong sense of community within more remote projects
  • Exceptional remuneration

Challenges

  • Challenging timelines and relentless pressure
  • Highly dynamic and everchanging environment
  • Long work hours, sometimes in remote locations for months at a time  
  • The community/living conditions are basic compared to first world cities and not always suitable for families
  • Those giga-projects not located in a city can be difficult to get in and out of and can feel remote to start with
  • It is often a lengthy and extensive hiring process

How to work on a Giga Project?

If the above sounds like the sort of projects you would like to get involved with, we can help. We are working on a range of roles, at different levels of seniority, across the latest giga-projects and would love to hear from you.

Get in touch with either Olly Piltz (MYT GMT+8) or Matthew Donovan (GMT) for an informal discussion about your future career development within giga-projects.