Improved worker welfare will form part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy, according to the universal exposition’s vice president of real estate and delivery, Ahmed Al Khatib.
In his keynote address at Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2017, Al Khatib said that a commitment to the wellbeing of the individuals facilitating the delivery of Expo 2020’s Dubai South site would contribute to the exhibition’s long-term impact.
Al Khatib told delegates that worker welfare remains a “top priority” for Expo 2020’s organisers, despite resistance from some parts of the construction sector.
“We received a lot of pushback from the [construction] market, because worker welfare is a top priority for us,” Al Khatib explained. “We have very strict standards [in this respect].
“[By improving] worker welfare, we can create another legacy for Expo 2020,” he added.
During the course of his keynote address, Al Khatib provided delegates with a comprehensive update about Expo 2020’s construction-related progress.
“We are ahead of schedule in some areas and, in other areas, we are on schedule,” he revealed. “Currently, we have approximately 8,000 workers on site.
“From a timeline perspective, we started the early works back in 2015, [and they completed] in 2016. We have moved approximately 5,000,000m3 of sand. Just to give [some perspective,] Dubai Water Canal [required the excavation of] 3,000,000m3, so we’ve moved almost double that quantity.”
Al Khatib told delegates that Expo 2020’s site infrastructure works, which commenced in 2016, are progressing “very well”, and that they are due to complete by the end of next year.
“As far as new construction [is concerned,] earlier this year, we started the themed districts,” he continued. “They are progressing very well, and the [completion deadline for these elements] is October 2019.”
Broadening his focus to include Expo 2020’s overall development activities, Al Khatib told summit attendees that his team aims to complete all of the main construction works by October 2019. Achieving this goal, he noted, will allow for thorough testing of the site before the exhibition opens its doors to the public.
“We will allow [participating] countries to enter the site to build their own [structures] early next year,” he elaborated. “Countries can continue [to work on their pavilions] until approximately three months before the event begins.
“In 2020, we will start testing [the site’s] components. The fireworks will begin in October 2020, and [continue] until 2021,” he added.
Full details of Al Khatib’s keynote address, and comprehensive coverage of Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2017’s other presentations and panel discussions, will be published on 23 September in issue 669 of Construction Week.