Old Jeddah buildings await bulldozers in smart city drive

Updated 21 October 2016
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Old Jeddah buildings await bulldozers in smart city drive

JEDDAH: There are thousands of ramshackle buildings across Jeddah, most of them concentrated in old and popular neighborhoods, and the Jeddah Municipality is working on and adopting a development plan to demolish these old buildings to turn Jeddah into a smart city.
Sami bin Saleh Nawar, head of the historical Jeddah Municipality, told Arab News that the municipality adopted development plans for the district in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, to include Kingdom on the list of international developed countries on the world map.
According to the municipality’s media center, the municipality deals with ramshackle buildings in accordance with a set mechanism, which involves previewing buildings with signs of damage by a consultant at the municipality. Often the initial recommendation calls for evacuating the building and cutting off electricity, if needed, based on the threat perception.
The municipality has worked on protecting buildings on the verge of collapse by putting in place concrete slabs to prevent people entering the buildings and removing tenants. If it sees further violations, the municipality levies heavy fines on the owner. The municipality has also worked on halting further deterioration of buildings by engaging in partial restoration.
The necessary engineering reports are finalized and the results forwarded to specialized committees, including the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, to adopt the recommendations. Accordingly, the owner of the building is then required to put the recommendations of the committee into effect.
Committee officials take tours of the districts to keep an eye on such buildings as the municipality is keen to develop the districts of Jeddah according to international standards.
Nawar said that in the district of Balad, there are almost 1,886 old buildings. Fourteen of the buildings have been propped up out of a total of 30 of the most dangerously poised buildings. A work plan is ongoing to do the same for other buildings, and that 700 buildings are protected. He said 616 buildings are historical, including 52 which are on the verge of collapse, and 38 have been partially deconstructed.
Nawar also said that the municipality, according to Jeddah's development plans, is buying such old buildings and demolishing them, creating new blocks aligned with roads in Jeddah’s old districts according to international standards.
The municipality adopted development plans for Ruwais and Nuzha districts to develop these old areas with wide lanes and new buildings after removing old ones.
The Kingdom has been working over the past 20 years on the development of Saudi cities, in addition to the development of management and planning mechanisms to give a greater role to cities in the decision-making process in successive five-year plans.
Consultants at the municipality are carrying out necessary tests to determine the safety level of buildings and necessary measures will be taken in light of the findings.


Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

PARIS: Saudi defense chiefs signed a number of strategic partnerships with major global companies while taking part in the prestigious Paris Air Show.
The pavilion of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company received a succession of key aerospace-industry figures during the Kingdom’s first exhibition appearance at the world’s largest aviation event.
High-profile visitors welcomed by SAMI chief executive offer, Andreas Schwer, included chairman of the SAMI board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the SAMI board of directors and chairman of the board of directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Commission, Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, and president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.
The pavilion also received a senior delegation from the Saudi Presidency of State Security, along with the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser.
During the second day of the air show, which runs until June 23 at Le Bourget airport in Paris, SAMI officials took part in meetings and signed strategic partnerships with global businesses involved in the four areas of the company’s work, namely air and ground systems, weapons, missiles and defense electronics.
At a signing ceremony in the SAMI pavilion, company chiefs also put pen to paper on a joint project agreement with US aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies for cooperation in the field of electro-optical and infra-red technology and special task systems inside Saudi Arabia. In February, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the joint project.