Thousands of trade visitors thronged the 32nd Saudi Build exhibition at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre last month (November 14 to 17), which marked one of its most successful editions in recent years.
Saudi Arabia’s premier construction event, which was inaugurated by the kingdom’s Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing HE Majid Al Hogail, took place against the backdrop of a booming construction sector which is delivering in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia has the largest building and construction market in the GCC, estimated at 33 per cent of the total Gulf market share and is witnessing an unprecedented surge in construction and giant urban projects that will reshape the future of the kingdom. The 107 mega projects – funded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), royal commissions, ministries, as well as the private sector – which are valued at more than SR4.87 trillion ($1.06 trillion) are creating quite a buzz in the construction and real estate sectors. This figure does not include the eight giga-projects that are currently being built in the kingdom.
On a relatively modest scale, housing projects by the public and private sectors are booming in a bid to bridge the gap in supply and demand.
In view of this, global, regional and local players are keen to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the construction sector, which was highly evident from the visitor numbers that Saudi Build and its co-located events attracted.
Advisor to the Riyadh Exhibitions Company, Muhammad Al-Husseini, said: “The exhibition’s success in attracting participants from 43 countries and 550 participating companies and organisations and over 25,000 visitors speaks volumes of the popularity of Saudi Build as the platform for the construction sector in the kingdom.”
Saudi Build was co-located with Saudi Elenex Exhibition, which specialises in electricity and renewable energy; the Saudi Stone and Marble Exhibition; and the Saudi Heavy Equipment Exhibition, making it a unique platform dedicated to the construction sector.
The International Contracting Conference, organised by the Saudi Contractors Authority, was also held alongside the exhibition and included sessions on Smart Cities; Future of Building and Sustainability, and workshops on the latest technologies and innovations.
Saudi Build carried the support of Saudi Council of Engineers, Saudi Contractors Authority and Saudi Building Code. Amongst the array of sponsors for the various events were Elegancia Arabia (Platinum Sponsors) along with several Gold Sponsors including the kingdom’s Oil Sustainability Program, the Saudi Ceramics Company, Ambatt Concito Milano, and Golden Art, Nesma & Partners (for the conference programme) and Safid as the Engineered Air Solutions sponsor.
Gulf Construction spoke to several exhibitors to gain an insight into their reasons for participating at Saudi Build:
Nesma & Partners
Leading Saudi contracting firm Nesma & Partners' spokesman Khalid Aldanawi said: “Saudi Build raises awareness and promotes sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas. It is a good way to network and market. The conference programme raises awareness about innovation, creativity and technology in the construction sector. As Nesma & Partners, we are highlighting the values of innovation and are looking to raise awareness in the sector about issues surrounding sustainability.
Almunif Pipes, among the largest producers of pipes and fittings in the kingdom, said that this year’s event was much bigger than previous editions, with a wider variety of products on show.
“We have been participating in Saudi Build for over 13 years. Saudi Build 2022 was different to previous editions. The event is much bigger with a wider variety of products on show, reflecting the boom in the construction sector in Saudi Arabia fuelled by the giga-projects,” Sultan Al Munif – Deputy General Manager of Almunif Pipes remarked.
Almunif Pipes Factories produces high-density and low-density polyethylene pipes at diameters ranging from 10 mm to 1,600 mm with different lengths and pressure ratings, positioning it among the leaders in the region in producing such big diameters.
In addition, it produces PP-R pipes and fittings for hot water applications with diameters from 20 mm to 160 mm. It also offers uPVC and cPVC pipes and fittings for potable water, drainage and sewerage network, and electrical and telecommunication networks, in addition to GRP pipes and fittings and rubber products.
Among its latest innovations is the electrofusion polyethylene coupling.
“We are very proud of our latest product which has been developed by our R&D department and manufactured by our factory. We are the only company producing this electrofusion polyethylene coupling pipe fitting in Saudi Arabia. This product has been approved by most of the national water companies and housing companies,” Al Munif stated.
Commenting on the company’s performance in recent years, he said: “During the pandemic years, we faced a lot of difficulties and challenges especially in manufacturing to keep the production of our factories on track to meet demand.
“Our future looks strong as we start delivering to the giga-projects. We are expecting to see more of these projects and that is why we are expanding our capacity to manufacture the HDPE pipes which are in demand for all these projects, especially at Neom.”
Elite Lines, a private company specialising in decoration and engineering, showcased its Saudi-made interiors solutions.
“All our products are essentially Made in Saudi and that is the message we want to reaffirm through our participation at Saudi Build,” said Zaher Ghraizi, Executive Manager.
Elite Lines’s factory comprises different manufacturing and production sections: a wood section to manufacture products such as wooden doors and tables; a section for acrylic and glass; a metal work sector where sculptures are produced and metal cladding and other work is carried out; and a resin work section, for resin walls and tables.
“Elite Lines also produces accessories for interiors such as those made of copper, as well as ashtrays and small sculptures. In short, we can produce everything related to interiors of homes,” Ghraizi added.
According to him, Elite Lines’s goal is to expand its capabilities and services and acquire at least 20 to 30 per cent of the market share.
Meshkati, a lighting solutions expert, was at Saudi Build to increase brand awareness in the market.
Ibrahim Aldahmash, CEO and Co-Founder, said: “Our brand provides over 4,000 indoor and outdoor lighting and power switch products. We also carry a comprehensive range of smart products for converting an ordinary home into a smart one.”
Established in 2009, the Riyadh-based company is a member of the Amnest group and has branches throughout the kingdom.
“We are considered one of the pioneers in the kingdom in smart lighting and residential smart solutions. In line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030, we are committed to blend our portfolio of products to include both locally created and imported products. We have also taken a strategic decision to construct a factory in Saudi Arabia,” he revealed.
Jotun Paints put the spotlight on its innovative decorative and protective coatings at Saudi Build. These include its environment-friendly and highly washable interior paint solutions; textured exterior solutions; car-park solutions including anti-carbonation and floor coatings and its unique palette of colours for interior and exterior use.
Essam Al Aridi, Country Sales Manager, said: “We are taking advantage of Saudi Build 2022 to showcase Jotun’s innovative and sustainable solutions. The event provides us with the opportunity to market to stakeholders, including clients, architects and homeowners, and also to offer our tailormade solutions for the various construction sectors.
Jotun Saudi has three manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia, five mega stores and a vast integrated dealer network which delivers its world-class products services and sustainable solutions across the kingdom.
Al-Nafie Steel: Eyeing expansion
Al-Nafie Steel, a pioneer in Saudi Arabia in steel trading since 1979, is looking at expanding in the kingdom and used the Saudi Build platform to help it to further penetrate the Saudi market – and specifically the housing and construction sectors in Riyadh.
Speaking to Gulf Construction, Akram Saeed Bajameel, Commercial Manager Assistant, said: “We are in midst of implementing the first phase of our new strategy for boosting our market penetration. We want to focus on opening new branches across Saudi Arabia. We intend to open three branches this year and and another three in 2023.”
Al-Nafie Steel has been trading and importing steel and metal since 1979 including stainless steel, aluminium and copper of various specifications from different sources including European, American, Swedish, Belgian and Japanese companies.
The steel imported meets high international standards and conforms to the requirements of the Saudi Standards and Metrology Organization (SASO). The company offers cut-and-bend services and ensures prompt delivery using its vast fleet of trucks.
“Our epoxy-coated rebar, rebar, cut and bend and wiremesh products are all Saudi made. We also sell the sheets and HR coils and GI coils, which are all Saudi made.
“We are an ISO-certified company and an approved vendor to Saudi Aramco, Petro Rabigh, Tahlia, and a number of other large companies,” he added.
Al-Nafie Steel exports its ‘Saudi Made’ products to Jordan, Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen.
Commenting on the market, Bajameel said: “Steel prices are not stable and demand is controlled by price. This year, there has been a significant increase in prices, and the Ukraine war has made it very hard for us, as most of the traders and fabricators import from Ukraine. Also, alternative supply chains have not been without issues: China has problems in deliveries, so we face long delays, while prices in Japan and Korea are sometimes high.”
Saudi Crawford: Major plans
Major developments are under way at Saudi Crawford Doors Factory, a regular exhibitor at Saudi Build, which is looking at phasing out its name to reflect its Swedish owners and position itself as the top supplier of door opening systems in the kingdom.
The Riyadh-based company – a specialist ‘in and around door openings’ – is a major manufacturer of industrial door and docking solutions. Its parent company Crawford was part of the Swedish Cardo Door Group, which was acquired by Assa Abloy in 2011.
Commenting on Saudi Build, Managing Director of Saudi Crawford Mahmoud Al-Mulqi said: “Saudi Build is an ideal platform to enhance brand awareness in the market. We are moving to a brand change in the market too, as we phase out the name Saudi Crawford to operate under a single name of our Swedish owners Assa Abloy.”
Among its innovations, the company is looking to introduce a new garage door for residential use that matches the quality of its industrial doors, for which it has established a reputation in the market.
“This will give us a new market vertical,” Al-Mulqi stated.
The company has also set its sight on being the main supplier for all types of door openings and logistic equipment in the kingdom.
“I feel that after working on this strategy over the last 10 years, and having achieved maybe 70 to 80 per cent of our target, we expect by 2025 we will be the Number One in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The market is very price-conscious and Saudi Crawford has responded to this trend by changing its component suppliers, according to Al-Mulqi.
“Our shutter doors were supplied from the UK but we are now manufacturing in Saudi Arabia at the same specifications and quality at much reduced costs. We are also innovating with new products such as sliding sectional doors (horizontally) and gate automation,” he explained.
Milano Interiors: Chic designs showcased
Milano Interiors marked its third successful participation at Saudi Build, where it showcased its comprehensive portfolio of products including kitchens, cabinets, furnishings, sofas, and dining tables.
Hussein Alnemer, Chief Executive Officer, said: “At Saudi Build, we launched a brand new door system, a TV system, and a modern coffee table, as well as some new colours such as ‘Sunset’.”
“Our participation sets our future strategy in the Gulf market in general. In 2023, many of the projects are reaching a stage at which we can be involved. Our plans are to expand in Saudi Arabia with five new branches and add new products to our developing portfolio,” he revealed.
Milano’s designers are inspired by the ever-changing fashions of Milan, bringing cutting-edge Italian fashion to Saudi Arabia, while modifying them to suit local customs and styles, Alnemer remarked.
“Contemporary and creative, all Milano’s designs create interiors that our designers and customers will be proud of – one that’s not only stylish but exclusive in Saudi Arabia. We work closely with our clients throughout all stages of the process, tailoring Italian designs into a style that matches their personality,” he concluded.