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Cebarco moots expansion plan (Gulf Construction, February 2005)

Cebarco moots expansion plan (Gulf Construction, February 2005)

 Leading construction company Cebarco - which is working full steam ahead to ensure the timely completion of several of its projects in Bahrain - is also pushing forth an expansion plan that will strengthen its presence as a major player in the regional markets.

“We have continued our development strategy by targeting projects not only in Bahrain but also Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE,” says Khalid M A Rahim, CEO and chairman. “We are presently going up the learning curve on how to do business in these environments and soon we will enter into these markets as real players.”

Following the highly successful completion of the Bahrain International Circuit, the company is working on several projects including the Seef flyovers and the Shaikh Isa library projects, and the 27-km Durrat Highway with five bridges. The company has also commenced work on an expansion to the 220 kV electrical infrastructure at various locations in Bahrain.

“As a diversion from our normal line of business of construction we are also demolishing a 50-year-old power station complete with all the hazards of asbestos removal. It just goes to show that Cebarco is not just about building but our skills lie in the depth of work and diversity of work we can undertake – no challenge is too great or complex,” Rahim says.

Commenting on the projects on hand, he says: “We are confident to complete the Seef flyover works by July this year. The project comprises of two main elements – two separate bridges and interchanges at the central market and Seef. While the works on the central market bridge have been completed ahead of schedule, we are now working on the Seef bridge which has been subjected to design change that has postponed the handover by a few months,” he adds.

Besides the two bridges, the scope of works also includes upgrading an existing highway between the bridge structures, a new interchange at Citibank and extensive landscaping works.”

Work is also progressing fast on the Shaikh Isa Library. “The landmark building is progressing well despite its complexity and evolution. We have been working on the project for just over two years and intend to complete it as soon as is practicable. Certainly it is a challenging project and one that we will be proud of once it is opened,” says Rahim.

“The biggest challenge is the multifunctional aspect of the building. It is not just a library but also an international conference centre, which will also house a museum, an art gallery and lecture theatres. The design of the building has been changed several times to accommodate all end user requirements and also ensure that the building meets its multifunction target as efficiently as possible,” he adds.

Cebarco is also pressing ahead on the works of the BD18 million dual, two-lane Durrat Highway. “The project with a two-year construction period is showing excellent progress and we hope to complete it ahead of schedule,” Rahim adds. “The highway is the lifeline to the Durrat Al Khaleej resort, which will provide a boost to the construction industry.”

Elaborating on the challenges faced by the company last year, especially on the highly prestigious racing circuit, he says: “It has been reported that the Bahrain Circuit was the fastest Rock to Race circuit ever built – a true testament not only to our skills as a construction company but also to the whole of Bahrain in staging the event.

“Originally the race was to be held in October 2004 with a completion date in March. This allowed time to carry out changes and to go through normal commissioning procedures. There were several changes, which under normal circumstances would have led to additional time, however we had no option but to utilise additional resources and to complete all work within the original time frame. Despite the changes we still managed to complete the project ahead of the original completion date.

“With 350 million people focusing on Bahrain there was simply no other option but to accelerate and push the project home.

“Probably the second biggest challenge was to control the logistics. ‘Do it once and do it right’ was the motto of the logistics team. We even arranged the material delivery for many subcontractors to make sure that orders were placed and tracked on an almost hourly basis. A team of expeditors was dispatched to monitor factories and supplier yards to make sure our orders were coming through,” he adds.

Commenting on the regional markets, he says: “Bahrain and the Middle East is booming and we see many opportunities arising. Construction is a major economic indicator. Bahrain is certainly increasing its income and investment potential and Cebarco want to continue to support this growth by “Building a Better Future”.

“This year sees many new projects in Bahrain from the first independent power project to significant infrastructure upgrades to sports to hospitals and many other major capital investment schemes.

“Times are changing in Bahrain and the resourceful companies will seize this opportunity and prosper. The market will have to adjust to factors such as the McKensie report and the FTA with the US. Technology will have to be introduced to replace more manual task in the long term if wage bills start to increase. Also the market will not tolerate companies who neglect the health and safety of its workers – naturally this may lead to an increase in cost but the cost of not reacting could be greater.”

“Cebarco Bahrain is considering these factors and implementing a policy change to ensure that we will be in the market for many years to come. The company has also expanded several departments to handle not only the increased workload but also to manage the quality assurance programmes that we have in place. Again the motto of doing it once and correctly rings true. Looking after the workforce is also an area that we have focused on. We have – in association with a software company – developed an HR software package that is truly suited to the construction environment and ensures that wages and benefits and incentives are recognized on a daily basis,” he concludes.

Cebarco Bahrain

P. O. Box 28812
Cebarco Tower
Bldg 249,Road 3306
Block 333
Kingdom of Bahrain

Phone: (973) 1782 3232
Fax: (973) 1772 2001

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