Building News report that Atkins, who are working with Innovative Technical Solutions, are one of the 14 teams who will have to compete for the work for the Middle East District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The US military have several bases across the Middle East, with bases in 20 countries. They want to spend $4 billion on infrastructure over the next five years and have handpicked Atkins, as well as a number of other firms, to carry out the work.
Under the MATOC (Multiple Award Task Order Contract), for any contracts won by Innovative Technical Solutions, Atkins will provide construction and architecture advice and support.
Atkins have previously worked with the US Air Force around the world, and helped provide architecture and engineering services.
This latest news shows that UK firms are having a bigger influence abroad and are starting to win more construction projects overseas.
Several of the UK’s big construction companies have offices in the Middle East in countries such as Dubai, and now several big construction contracts could tempt UK construction firms to bid for work in Iraq.
A new report by Research & Markets has found that substantial opportunities exist in Iraq as the country rebuilds its infrastructure following the Iraq war.
Building News write that the Iraq Infrastructure Report 2011, found that infrastructure is a priority investment for the Iraqi government, and several big contracts, including one for a new international airport and a port, are available and waiting to be snapped up by UK contractors.
The report also mentions the need for electricity in Iraq, as facilities need improving, which could lead to more work for UK electricians. Two million new homes are also set to be built in Iraq over the next four years, which will create more jobs if UK contractors can be successful and win these contracts.
Climate Change minister Greg Barker is leading the group of UK delegates, who will be taking their Green energy tour to four US cities in five days.
Renewable developers RES Group, the Mark Group and Jupiter Asset Management are some of the companies going to America, where they will meet US construction firms and try and win new work, and advertise the low-carbon work they are doing, to try and export the same ideas to the US.
The five day trade mission will involve trips to Washington D.C, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Columbia and will also aim to secure additional investment for the government’s Green Deal, which aims to make the UK more low-carbon.
Mr Barker, who is the MP for Bexhill and Battle in East Sussex as well as being responsible for Climate Change, said:
“I am proud to be a cheerleader for Britain’s green businesses and am in America this week flying the flag for those firms that are breaking into the US market. I’ll be telling the people I meet about the transformation of the UK economy that we are delivering through the green deal.”
The UK construction industry has already tried to break into countries like Qatar and the Middle East, in a bid to gain construction work ahead of events like the 2022 World Cup.
The USA are one of the leading powers in the global construction industry (alongside the likes of C hina and India) and if the UK can manage to secure work over there, then it could create plenty of new construction jobs and give the industry a much-needed boost.
The global construction industry is expected to grow by 70% in the next decade, with forecasts predicting it will be worth $12 trillion in 2020, compared to $7.2 trillion today. That’s why the CIOB have swooped in, to try and create jobs for UK contractors in the area.
The CIOB plans to use its new foothold in Dubai to launch new initiatives and construction projects across Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The CIOB’s Head of International, Amy Gough says that, “The expectation is that China, India and Eastern Europe will be the new magnets for construction activity.”
Ms Gough continued to say that, “we are still seeing our own members , and other construction professionals, migrate towards the Middle East.”
It is no surprise that the Middle East and countries like India and China are booming, as they are two of the world’s fastest growing countries and the next two big superpowers. A report published this month by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics found that China and India are expected to contribute half of the $4.8 trillion increase over the next nine years.
The other benefit of companies like the CIOB having a base in the Middle East is the arrival of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It may be over a decade away, but UK construction firms could have a big part to play in helping the country get ready for the world’s biggest sporting event.
It may have not been a popular choice for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup among football experts, but it could have a similar effect to the 2012 Olympics, in terms of creating work and jobs for contractors abroad.