The National Transformation Programme (NTP), a key part of a blueprint to prepare Saudi Arabia for the post-oil era, and Saudi Vision 2030 will provide great stimulus to the commercial, industrial and construction sectors of the kingdom, according to Ahmed Kouther, chief executive and managing director of Saudi Building Materials Company (SBM).
This ambitious vision aims for a comprehensive development of society and cities while maintaining a healthy environment, supporting the economy, industry and investors, and providing housing for citizens.
This, in turn, will boost the demand for concrete in Saudi Arabia, which is expected to keep rising, thanks to the increasing urbanization and the growth of the hospitality sector to accommodate the surging numbers of pilgrims, he added.
He also pointed out that there has been a clear change in the nature and quality of mega projects being developed in the kingdom in recent decades.
Saudi Arabia is the largest ready-mix concrete market within the region, given that the kingdom is expected to account for more than half of construction projects in the GCC, valued at more than $1 trillion by 2019. He pointed out the concrete market in the kingdom is worth about SR20 billion ($5.33 billion) a year, and there are more than 400 companies with an investment of more than SR100 billion ($2.67 billion) that employ more than 35,000 people in the sector.
Therefore, it is essential that the concrete industry keeps abreast of the latest advancements since it is the backbone of construction.
The company specializes in all types of concretes and has nine factories in the kingdom. SBM was the first Saudi concrete producer to obtain ISO certification for its product quality and production process in the mid-90s – and the third in the region.
“Saudi Building Materials Company has contributed to laying the foundations for specific standards for the concrete industry according to the American standards and specifications,” he added.
SBM started out with one factory in Jeddah and then added one more there before moving to Yanbu and then to Riyadh. Today, it has nine concrete factories in the kingdom and is still is expanding.
“Today our factories are located in three cities in Saudi Arabia. This was achieved following the entry of the new partners, Fisal Al Kaaki, Akmal Madani, Zaki Farsi and Rafiq kredeh” he stated.
Concrete is the most used building material and claimed that the construction sector consumes nearly 40 per cent of the total energy in the world and half the natural resources, hence the production process and applications have significant impacts on the environment and natural resources.
“To mitigate these effects, it is necessary to commit ourselves to the establishment of a sophisticated industry that is sustainable, focused on ensuring low energy requirements, and uses renewable resources, to minimize waste and ensure long-term durability and low cost.
The concrete industry today relies on the latest technology and uses innovative mixtures, advanced raw materials, highly productive equipment and factories as well as highly qualified staff and modern transport fleet for efficient delivery of concrete.
Quality Comes First, noting Saudi Building Materials Company’s keenness to produce building materials that are distinctive and of high quality, in line with the reputation of the company.
He praises the quantum leap witnessed by the kingdom in the contracting sector during the era of late King Abdullah which is being carried forward by King Salman.
The kingdom has achieved a global status during the era of late King Abdullah, a period which saw a significant rise in oil prices, which reflected positively on the development and progress in various areas including services, schools, health, education, sports stadiums and airports. There was a construction boom that benefited first and foremost the Saudi citizen.
During this period of growth, the ready-mixed concrete factories managed to substantially cover the kingdom’s needs and Saudi Arabia also attracted UAE giants in the light of a recession in Dubai.
Company produces all types of concrete. “We’ve started using precast concrete technology for huge spans such as bridges and tunnels that are cast in the factory and then installed on site. We now have a precast concrete factory located between Jeddah and Makkah which was constructed five years ago.”
This technology has proved highly beneficial in fast-track work such as the installation of a boundary fence between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.”
The company has also developed other high-tech products for crushing and added modern concrete products.
Amongst the important projects SBM has completed are Yanbu Industrial Port, Jeddah Islamic Port and many towers and landmarks of Jeddah, in addition to successfully pouring the runway at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Saudi Building Materials Company is also very active in the community and has contributed to the founding of the National Committee of Ready-mix Concrete under the umbrella of the Chambers of Commerce in Riyadh.
We also support the awareness campaign in Jeddah and have embarked on a program with the American Concrete Institute, which has involved bringing in specialized concrete consultants and hold training courses and workshops to educate clients, contractors, engineers and developers.
Speaking about Saudisation point out these program have provided clear benefits for Saudis and have raised the employment rate amongst Saudi youth, many of whom have managed to lead successful careers.
However, the contracting and construction sector has lagged behind as most young Saudis refuse field work and either seek government or office jobs.
This has led to an acute shortage of qualified workers in the sector resulting in project delays, while urging on the Saudi youth to enter the sector.
“This point was discussed at the Jeddah Economic Forum last year and we have an ambitious program to attract Saudis who want to work in the industrial sector in office and accounting jobs in the concrete factories, warehouses and labs,”