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OCEC on way [Gulf Construction]
[February 02, 2014]

OCEC on way [Gulf Construction]

(Gulf Construction Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE architecturally striking Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) will soon start to take shape over a sprawling site in the Hayy Al Irfan district of Muscat following a series of contract awards worth more than RO80 million ($207.7 million) last year.

Moreover, the iconic development – which is the lynchpin of Oman's ambitions to become a Mice (meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) hub – is set to release tenders for the convention centre and banquet building shortly, in addition to the new consultancy and construction tenders valued at OR66 million ($171 million) issued in 2013.

The OCEC is situated within a 1.6-million-sq-m purpose-built, fully integrated business precinct and has been designed to accommodate world congresses, exhibitions, regional meetings, gala events, performances and concerts.

Located 10 minutes from the new Muscat International Airport and overlooking a wadi that is a haven for Oman's exotic bird life, the OCEC complex will include a convention centre, exhibition halls, four hotels, a business park and a shopping mall. The development will be a landmark in its own right boasting the largest fixed seating auditorium in the GCC of 3,200 seats. It will be Oman's largest structured car-park with 4,200 spaces, largest district cooling plant (32,500 tons of refrigeration), and feature the country's longest steel truss span (80 m) supporting the exhibition halls and the largest dome (120 m span). In addition, OCEC's Grade-A business park will feature the largest gross floor area in a purpose-built corporate office building in Muscat.

Architecturally advanced in design and capability, this world-class venue will be built to meet the rigorous Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) certification by the US Green Building Council.

The auditorium ... an artist's impression.

"Scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2016, the OCEC is the centrepiece of Oman's business development programme that will establish the sultanate as a major regional venue for regional and international events," says Ahmed Elhassan, senior project manager of OCEC.

The project is being spearheaded by Omran, the leading tourism-related development, hospitality management and investment company that has been mandated by the Government of Oman to deliver major projects and manage tourism assets and investments such as the OCEC.

Elhassan says the project is expected to bring significant benefits to the country by stimulating Oman's economy through the creation of approximately 15,000 to 18,000 jobs – both direct and indirect – by 2030, and contribute an estimated RO200-240 million ($519-623 million) to the country's GDP by 2030.

  Contract awards Omran set in motion the infrastructure works on the project with the award of a 12-month contract last April to a joint venture of Khalid Bin Ahmed and Sons (KAS) and Al Habib. The package includes building 4.4 km of single carriageways, 1.3 km of dual carriageways, six roundabouts, a 100-m wadi bridge and utilities that include 3.7 km of potable water and 4.1 km of waste water networks, 5 km of irrigation and electrical networks as well as telecommunication ducts.

"The choice of a joint venture between two Omani companies reflects Omran's preferred status policy for Omani enterprises in the tendering process," says Elhassan.

In June 2013, a key RO78-million ($203.59 million) contract for Package Two was awarded to Carillion Alawi to construct some of the major components of the landmark development. This package includes a structured car-park facility for 4,200 vehicles on three parking levels covering a total area of 143,000 sq m; exhibition halls, which can be divided into five halls, covering about 45,000 sq m, complete with service trenches, plant rooms, and four acoustically-treated vertically movable partitions to enable separation and sound isolation of each hall.

Contracts worth $207.7 million were awarded in 2013.

The contract also comprises a concourse with a glazed curtain-wall system, fully equipped with a production kitchen and three cafes, hospitality suites, administration/office areas, a central landscaped courtyard and two circulation nodes connecting the concourse to the car-park.

The scope also covers the ancillary buildings, namely the energy centre which serves as the district cooling plant for the entire precinct, a security screening facility, a taxi amenity building, a waste management building, a landscape maintenance building and an electrical substation facility.

Last year, Omran also awarded the construction contract for the first of two 33 kV/11 kV primary substations to serve the Phase One development, while a revised tender was issued by the Tender Board for Primary Substation Two, which will feed the mall and the business park.

In addition, a consultancy services contract was awarded for the design of staff accommodation to house about 800 employees of the convention centre and development hotels.

  Tenders A number of tenders were also floated last year including those for a five-star hotel and another four-star hotel, which are expected to be awarded this year.

Three tenders were issued for the convention centre kitchen equipment packages in September to capitalise on revenue opportunities from catering to events to be held following completion of the exhibition halls.

Omran is now poised to launch tenders for Package Three – for the convention centre and banquet building – having last year prequalified 13 large companies or consortiums of international and local bidders for the package. Detailed design and tender documentation for this package as well as the two hotels were completed last year.

The convention centre will feature a 3,200 tiered lyric-style theatre set over three levels with advanced projection and riggings, orchestra pit and acoustic systems designed to attract world-class entertainers and performers, while also catering for international congress delegations.

Also completed were the architectural design development for the new Omran headquarters building and the masterplanning for the business park.

  Construction progress The energy centre ... foundation works under way.

Meanwhile, on site, significant progress has been made on Package Five awarded in January 2013 for the roads and utilities infrastructure, with the bridge piers and abutments completed, decking started and 20 km of utilities tunnels excavated to house chilled water, potable water, irrigation and sewage pipes, as well as electrical and telecommunications conduits.

Work on Package Two awarded to Carillion Alawi has also made headway with the concrete structure of the exhibition halls having progressed in readiness for the installation of 50-tonne steel trusses, which are being fabricated locally in Sohar. The foundation works of the energy centre are also under way, as are the car-park support columns and walls.

During 2013, a total of 1.3 million man-hours were completed on the project without Lost Time Injury (LTI), says Elhassan.

  Regional interest To ensure the success of the facility and increase awareness of Oman's offering to the Mice segment, OCEC's operator AEG Ogen has continued to promote the centre through participation in specialised international industry exhibitions and trade shows and is inviting bids for hosting events at the exhibition halls starting the third quarter of 2015 and the convention centre from the second quarter of 2017.

OCEC has already drawn regional interest with Oman's largest shopping mall now set to be constructed within the precinct, following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last September by Omran with government-owned National Investment Funds Company (Nifco), Oman's largest asset management company, and Al Futtaim, developer of Dubai Festival City and Cairo Festival City, for the development of a super-regional mall.

Another MoU was signed last month with Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) to construct its new headquarters in the OCEC precinct.   (c) 2014 Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group Provided by, an company

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