The 281-hectare mas­ter­plan for the Ras Al Hamra res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment project has been di­vided into five phases to pro­vide high-qual­ity, low-den­sity homes and ameni­ties in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able com­mu­nity, says the project’s new De­vel­op­ment Mana

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RAH res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment once com­plete is set to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for 1,067 staff of PDO, one of Oman’s largest com­pa­nies, which em­ploys peo­ple from over 70 na­tion­al­i­ties

Hav­ing worked in Pe­tro­leum De­vel­op­ment Oman (PDO) for al­most 25 years, Ahmed B. J. Has­san Al Lawati, who has re­cently taken charge as the De­vel­op­ment Man­ager of the Ras Al Hamra res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment project (RAHDP) in Mus­cat, is ex­cited about his new role and is look­ing for­ward to en­sure the timely com­ple­tion of the fivephase project in 2022.

Prior to as­sum­ing his cur­rent role as De­vel­op­ment Man­ager, Ahmed, an in­stru­ment/elec­tron­ics en­gi­neer by qual­i­fi­ca­tion, worked as the fa­cil­ity de­liv­ery man­ager for PDO’s mega $4 bil­lion Rabab Har­weel in­te­grated project. “I have also led the con­cept team in the Gas Di­rec­torate and served as busi­ness plan­ner for the Oil North Di­rec­torate for over two years. For al­most 20 years, I have served in the project man­age­ment field,” he says. “The RAH res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment project is in­deed a new project for me. All my pre­vi­ous post­ings were on oil and gas projects with very few on in­fra­struc­ture projects. There is no doubt that the RAH- DP is a huge and very in­ter­est­ing project. The team has done a great job so far. Two hun­dred and eighty res­i­den­tial units as well as a golf course, mosque and LEEDcer­ti­fied school have been de­liv­ered as part of Phase 1. The PDO School is the first LEED-cer­ti­fied school build­ing not only in the Sul­tanate, but in the re­gion. The over­all project schemes has a num­ber of en­ergy-sav­ing fea­tures and has right­fully found a place on the tourism map of the Sul­tanate. PDO is mak­ing good progress on what we see as an in­te­grated com­mu­nity town­ship de­vel­op­ment.”

Lo­cated in Qu­rum Val­ley, the RAH res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment is set to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for 1,067 PDO staff once com­plete. PDO, which em­ploys peo­ple from over 70 na­tion­al­i­ties, is the na­tional oil and gas com­pany in Oman and one of the coun­try’s largest com­pa­nies. The 281-hectare RAHDP mas­ter­plan has been di­vided into five phases to pro­vide high-qual­ity, low-

den­sity homes and ameni­ties in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able com­mu­nity.

The Phase 1 res­i­den­tial and in­fra­struc­ture pack­age, which in­cludes 280 res­i­den­tial units, an in­ter­na­tional school, mosque and a golf course, was com­pleted in 2015. It in­cor­po­rates many sus­tain­able “green” fea­tures in its de­sign and con­struc­tion and is in sync with the lo­cal cul­ture. The project mas­ter­plan is en­vis­aged to be com­pleted by 2022 and fea­tures a stun­ning res­i­den­tial and leisure com­plex in­clud­ing vil­las, apart­ments, a golf club­house, re­tail / com­mer­cial area and a well­ness cen­tre.

The RAHDP is unique to PDO. While Phase 1 was funded by share­hold­ers, Phase 2 to 5 are be­ing fi­nanced ex­ter­nally. “The fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple of the de­vel­op­ment is to en­sure that there is no change to the to­pog­ra­phy of the area, and to main­tain the look and feel of RAH as well as to cre­ate har­mony with na­ture. We don’t want to make it com­pletely ur­banised,” Ahmed adds.

“Phase 2, in which 210 units are ex­pected to be com­pleted Q1 2019, Phases 3 and 4 will be awarded this year and the fi­nal phase of de­vel­op­ment, Phase 5, will be un­der­taken in 2019. A to­tal of 800 units is ex­pected to be com­pleted in three years’ time, which is a chal­leng­ing time frame but we are op­ti­mistic of achiev­ing it.

“Once com­plete, the res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment will have 1,067 units hous­ing a pop­u­la­tion of 4,000 to

5,000. At least 30% of the in­te­grated com­mu­nity will be Oma­nis. We want to cre­ate a real value propo­si­tion for our em­ploy­ees,” says Ahmed.

a pri­or­ity at RAHDP. All con­struc­tion con­tracts have been awarded to lo­cal con­trac­tors and SMEs and the ma­jor­ity of ma­te­ri­als used in the project are lo­cal prod­ucts. “We have en­sured that a num­ber of Oma­nis are em­ployed in the RAHDP with a plan to train more Oma­nis in skilled jobs,” avers Ahmed.

“We want to en­hance ICV for all our con­struc­tion con­tracts. At the mo­ment, around 70% of raw ma­te­ri­als are pro­duced lo­cally. We are also mak­ing con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to in­volve more SMEs.”

Ahmed adds that one of the key ob­jec­tives of the project is to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion and there are a num­ber of ini­tia­tives that have been in­tro­duced to help achieve this goal.

One such idea, which will boost en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, is the use of so­lar street lights on the res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment’s roads and light-emit­ting diode (LED) lights for build­ings. “We have part­nered with lo­cal SMEs for the so­lar project in which so­lar pan­els were in­stalled to cre­ate en­ergy. We be­lieve there is a big op­por­tu­nity for Omani firms in the so­lar space.” RIS­ING UP TO CHAL­LENGES Ahmed says that the project has been a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “We are learn­ing from pre­vi­ous phases, geared to face any po­ten­tial chal­lenges and are us­ing the op­por­tu­nity to de­ploy new tech­nolo­gies and ways of work­ing.

For ex­am­ple, we are em­ploy­ing ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy for cool­ing and au­to­claved aer­ated con­crete (AAC) has been used for con­struc­tion to en­hance sus­tain­abil­ity. We are also con­duct­ing a pilot study for im­ple­ment­ing so­lar sys­tems for 10 homes.”

“As with ev­ery­thing at PDO, safety is our over­ar­ch­ing pri­or­ity and fo­cus. Many real es­tate con­trac­tors are not very fa­mil­iar with PDO’s high safety stan­dards, but we are mak­ing them aware of our strin­gent qual­ity checks, not least be­cause we need to main­tain our own

high stan­dards but also to help spread them fur­ther afield.

“We are aim­ing to build a sus­tain­able hous­ing com­mu­nity for PDO staff but to do it safely, ef­fi­ciently and re­spon­si­bly,” says Ahmed.


The RAH project is very unique in

Oman and one can con­sider it as a high-end real es­tate de­vel­op­ment. A num­ber of oil and gas firms have come for­ward to repli­cate the RAH res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment model in their coun­tries. For ex­am­ple, Shell Brunei and Sur LNG have made en­quiries about fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple. The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs has also shown in­ter­est be­cause of the unique­ness of the project which has won many awards in­clud­ing the Dossier Con­struc­tion’s In­fra­struc­ture award and Shell Award for HSE Train­ing.

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