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Poor construction quality sparks outrage in Saudi Arabia

Middle_East_ConstructionThe low quality in construction labor and raw material used to build several buildings, especially those up for sale, has unleashed a wave of anger at contracting companies in charge of carrying out projects.
Many complaints were recently filed by buyers and real estate companies against contracting companies focusing on low quality construction, breach of the terms of signed contracts, the use of cheap construction material, late delivery of projects and contractors’ evasion or failure to complete the project after initiating construction.

Buyers and tenants said they were exposed to fraud because the implementation process was different to what had been specified in the terms of the contract.

They said the absence of an official entity exacerbated the problem and contributed to this widespread phenomenon in the real estate market. “Low quality construction has evoked a number of question marks on the methodology of choosing good contractors and whether there is an official entity that they can turn to if contracting companies fail to deliver buildings that comply with specifications,” one buyer said.

Abu Salem, an owner of a building under construction, said, “Contracting companies are mainly concerned with making profits and are prepared to use low quality material to achieve this end.”

He added: “We are left with many mistakes when contractors finish their work, including cracks in walls and ceilings.”
Mohammad Al-Hayani, a home owner, said, “I saw many cracks in the ceiling of my house only six months after its construction even though I settled my accounts with the contracting company.”

He added that, “He refused to compensate us for the botched job and disregarded the terms of the contract, saying there was no point of reference that rules the terms of the contract.”

Abdulaziz Al-Sharif, an owner of a contracting company, said the contracting sector is witnessing heavy activity that affects delivery and payment.

However, he said the sector is in a state of panic because of labor issues, especially after raising the fees of expatriate labor, which were added to the expense of the building’s owner.

“Building stability is one of the most important aspects of construction, which means it has to enjoy high quality specifications,” said Raed Al-Aqili, deputy chairman of the Contractor’s Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Trade and Industry.
Al-Aqili said owners of new buildings should choose qualified contractors because there exist contractors can be trusted in carrying out the job without being monitored, while others tamper with the quality of construction. These variations have created the ensuing problems in the contracting market.

Al-Aqili advised those who want to build new homes to use expert designers because of their knowledge of raw material and choose several strong and solid foundations to achieve sound construction. The contracting sector is the second largest domestic product after oil.  Its returns are estimated to be worth SR100 billion, and contracting companies represent 40 percent of the total trade registers in the Kingdom, with 250,000 licensed registers.-Arab News