UK-headquartered contractor, Laing O'Rourke, has been awarded two construction contracts by Expo 2020 Dubai.
The deals, which have a combined value of $182.4m (AED670m), will see the international contractor deliver Expo 2020 Dubai's Leadership and Media Pavilions, as well as its 'Hammerhead' road, plus landscaping elements.
Laing O'Rourke will also provide associated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services through the contracts.
Expo 2020 Dubai's Leadership Pavilion will host UAE leadership during the mega event.
As part of Expo 2020 Dubai's District 2020 legacy development programme, both pavilions will be transformed into hotels after the event has concluded. Both hotels are expected to achieve four-star ratings.
Meanwhile, the Parsons Corporation-designed Hammerhead project – named so for its distinctive shape – will feature a ramped access road for the master development's truck tunnel, which is a subterranean road that will run underneath Al Wasl Plaza.
Laing O'Rourke is due to commence work on 28 January, 2018, and all shell-and-core construction is scheduled for completion by October 2019 – a full year before Expo 2020 Dubai opens on 20 October, 2020.
Commenting on the contracts, as well as Expo 2020's development progress, Ahmed Al Khatib, senior vice president of real estate and delivery at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: "Today marks 1,000 days before Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors to the public.
"However, with all heavy construction activities due to be completed more than a year before the Expo’s inauguration, it is essential that work continues to progress smoothly.
"We are on track to deliver an exceptional site for an amazing Expo. We are delighted to announce Laing O’Rourke as the main contractor for these important two contracts," Al Khatib added.
"The company was selected from among strong international competitors due to its keen understanding of our technical and commercial requirements. It has a long and prestigious history within the UAE construction sector.
"These projects will be constructed in close proximity to the UAE Pavilion and other pavilions. This area is already a hive of construction activity, with all of these projects being built simultaneously.
"With this in mind, close collaboration between construction companies on site will be vital to coordinate logistics and ensure that work continues according to our schedule," Al Khatib continued.
During a visit to the Expo 2020 site, Ray O'Rourke, chief executive officer at Laing O'Rourke, remarked: "The continuation of work in Dubai South is a great opportunity to showcase the strength of our Middle East team on Expo 2020.
"We are delighted that Laing O’Rourke has been chosen to build these prestigious projects, and look forward to playing our part in the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region in 2020."
Spanning 150m, Al Wasl Plaza is the centrepiece of Expo 2020's 4,38km2site in Dubai South.
Designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Al Wasl Plaza features a steel trellis dome, which will be built by Cimolai Rimond Middle East under a contract it was awarded in November 2017.
Expo 2020-related construction is expected to peak towards the end of 2018 and early 2019.
Up to 12,000 people are currently working on all projects across the Expo site, with the figure expected to reach 35,000 by early 2019, according to a press statement by Expo 2020 Dubai.
In keeping with Expo 2020’s sub-theme of Sustainability, Laing O’Rourke and its fellow construction companies will work together with Expo 2020 to ensure environmental, economic, and worker welfare, and health and safety best practice.
All of Expo 2020’s buildings will meet or exceed LEED Gold standards.