Geography, Planning and Developmental Projects in Bahrain: Expansion of the Construction sector

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, the construction sector has been experiencing remarkable growth in recent years, transforming the nation's landscape. This article will delve into the geographical factors that have contributed to this expansion, the strategic planning behind developmental projects, and their impact on Bahrain's overall development. Numerous geographical, planning, and development initiatives have contributed to the unprecedented expansion of the Bahraini construction sector. The government has heavily spent on development of infrastructure, such as new buildings, bridges, and roads.

Introduction

Bahrain, a tiny island nation nestled in the Persian Gulf, has been making significant strides in its construction sector. This article explores how geographical factors, meticulous planning, and developmental projects have spurred growth in this industry, ultimately contributing to the nation's economic development.
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Infographics by GO-Globe Bahrain

Geographical Insights

The Island Nation

Bahrain's unique geographical setting as an archipelago comprising 33 islands has played a pivotal role in the construction boom. With limited land resources, the demand for commercial and residential spaces has soared, driving the need for ambitious construction projects. With the five planned cities off the coast at Fasht al-Jarm, Suhaila Island, Fasht al-Azem, Bahrain Bay and the Hawar Islands, the island state with a population of around 1.5 million expects its urbanized area will expand by 60%.

Natural Resources

The kingdom's rich natural resources, particularly its extensive oil reserves, have provided the financial foundation for these projects. Revenue from oil exports has been strategically reinvested into the construction sector, further fueling its growth.

Urban Planning and Development

Vision 2030

Bahrain's Vision 2030, a comprehensive development plan, outlines the nation's goals for sustainable development. It emphasizes infrastructure development, urban renewal, and the promotion of the construction sector as a key contributor to economic diversification. There are continuing initiatives like the Bahrain Bay development, and The Salman Industrial City Development Project, which are remaking the shoreline into an energetic mixed-use neighborhood. These initiatives seek to improve the nation's transport system, encourage economic expansion, and draw in foreign capital, in addition to advancing Bahrain's overall urban environment, enhancing the overall quality of life for residents, and helping with the industry development by contributing to sustainable communities. Bahrain's construction industry is undoubtedly humming with activity.

Masterplans for Cities

The implementation of masterplans for cities like Manama and Muharraq has been instrumental in shaping urban landscapes. These plans prioritize green spaces, cultural hubs, and modern amenities, making Bahrain an attractive destination for both residents and investors.

Infrastructure Upgrades

Transportation Networks

Investments in transportation infrastructure, including the expansion of airports and the construction of new highways and bridges, have improved connectivity within the kingdom and with neighboring countries. The Bahrain Metro Project, and the Bahrain International Airport Modernization Project are a few of the major ones. This has facilitated trade and tourism, driving further construction projects.

Utilities and Services

Upgrading utilities and services, such as water and electricity, has been crucial to sustaining the construction boom. These enhancements ensure that the growing population and industries have access to essential resources.

Real Estate Boom

Commercial and Residential Spaces

The construction sector has responded to the demand for high-quality commercial and residential properties. The development of skyscrapers, luxury apartments, and shopping complexes has reshaped Bahrain's skyline.

Tourism and Hospitality

To support its growing tourism industry, Bahrain has invested in the construction of world-class hotels and resorts. This has attracted visitors from around the globe, contributing significantly to the nation's economy.

Economic Implications

Job Creation

The construction sector has been a major source of employment in Bahrain, providing job opportunities for both locals and expatriates. This has had a positive impact on the nation's labor market.

Foreign Investment

The construction boom has attracted foreign investors looking to capitalize on Bahrain's thriving real estate market. These investments have bolstered the kingdom's economy and increased its global standing.

Sustainability Initiatives

Green Building Practices

Recognizing the importance of sustainability, Bahrain has embraced green building practices. These initiatives aim to reduce the environmental footprint of construction projects and promote eco-friendly designs.

Renewable Energy

The adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, in construction projects aligns with Bahrain's commitment to a greener future. These initiatives not only reduce energy costs but also contribute to environmental conservation.

Geography, Planning and Developmental Projects in Bahrain: Facts, Figures and Latest Statistics

  • The Bahrain construction market size was US$8.5 billion in 2022.
  • The Bahraini construction industry is expected to grow by 4% in 2023, after growing by an estimated 1.8% in 2022, and then expand at an annual average of 4.6% between 2024 and 2027.
  • According to the Central Informatics Organization of Bahrain (CIO), the construction industry’s value add grew by 2.6% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2022, preceded by Y-o-Y growth of 3% in Q1 2022 and 3.1 % in Q4 2021.
  • The Bahrain's construction market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 5.6% during the forecast period of 2023-2028.
  • During the first nine months of 2022, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) attracted BHD346.3 million (US$921 million) in foreign direct investments into key sectors, such as financial services, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, and tourism.
  • GDP from Construction in Bahrain decreased to 237.34 BHD Million in the first quarter of 2023 from 240.39 BHD Million in the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • ‘Industrial Sector Strategy (2022-26)’ and ‘Strategic Projects Plan’ for Bahrain, outlays an investment of BHD11.3 billion (US$30 billion) in Bahrain’s national infrastructure and its strategic priority sectors.
  • As of January 2023, Bahrain has BHD30.8 billion (US$81.8 billion) worth of projects in the construction industry in various stages.
  • Some of the major projects currently under construction in Bahrain are the BHD3.4 billion (US$9 billion) Amwaj Islands Diyar Al Muharraq Development project, the BHD2.8 billion (US$7.5 billion) Bahrain International Airport Expansion project, and the BHD2.1 billion (US$5.7 billion) Sitra Oil Refinery Expansion project.
  • Bahrain International Airport’s new US$1.1 billion terminals, which can accommodate 14 million passengers annually, has been declared open as of July 2022.
  • The largest construction project in Bahrain, with a project value of US$360 million, began in Q1 2022 on the Tatweer Petroleum - Well Head Compression for Non-Associated Gas Wells - Bahrain project

Leading Contractors in the Bahrain Construction Market

  • Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp
  • NASS Group
  • KOOHEJI CONTRACTORS WLL
  • TechnipFMC Plc
  • Chapo Bahrain
  • Haji Hassan Group WLL
  • Dadabhai Construction WLL
  • Cebarco Bahrain
  • Fuji Electric Co Ltd
  • Khalid Ali Al-Kharafi & Brothers Co.

Leading Consultants in the Bahrain Construction Market

  • AECOM
  • Dar Al-Handasah Consultants
  • Shair and Partners Holdings Ltd.
  • Mohamed Salahuddin Consulting Engineering Bureau
  • AESG Middle East
  • Byrne Looby Partners Ltd.
  • SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
  • Benoy Ltd, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
  • HOK Group Inc, and Arab Architects

 

Challenges and Solutions

Environmental Concerns

Despite the growth, Bahrain is mindful of environmental challenges associated with construction. Stringent regulations and environmental impact assessments are in place to mitigate these issues.

Labor Force

Sustaining the construction sector's growth relies on a skilled labor force. Bahrain is actively investing in training programs to ensure that it has a capable workforce to meet the industry's demands.

Conclusion

Bahrain's construction sector growth is a testament to its strategic planning, geographical advantages, and commitment to sustainability. Depending on their scale and complexity, a lot of construction projects in Bahrain currently underway, which might take a different time frames to complete. Some tasks might take a few years, while others might take more than a decade. The government and other necessary parties are putting in a lot of effort to ensure prompt completion while upholding high standards. The process is dynamic, and different elements are taken into account while determining the schedule for each project. As the nation continues to evolve, the construction industry continues to play a pivotal role in shaping its future.

FAQs

Q1: How has Bahrain's geography influenced its construction sector?

Bahrain's limited land resources have driven demand for construction projects.

Q2: What is Vision 2030, and how does it relate to the construction sector?

Vision 2030 is Bahrain's development plan that prioritizes infrastructure and construction for economic diversification.

Q3: What are some key infrastructure developments in Bahrain?

Investments in transportation networks and utilities have improved connectivity and access to essential resources.

Q4: How has the construction sector contributed to job creation in Bahrain?

The sector has been a significant source of employment for both locals and expatriates.

Q5: What measures has Bahrain taken to address environmental concerns in construction?

Bahrain has implemented stringent regulations and environmental impact assessments to mitigate environmental issues.

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