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The deputy project manager

Alexandria Library

Since he joined Arab Contractors as a site engineer 19 years ago, AC-BB deputy project manager Said Farouk has worked on many significant structures, including the world's largest mosque at Medina in Saudi Arabia.

But it is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of which he is most proud.

'The library will improve Egypt's construction industry, ' he says.

'Suppliers have had to improve their production methods to meet the programme and quality required. And local labour has had to learn about international safety, quality and environmental standards.'

The company was a key partner in the contracting joint venture that built the library foundations. Now it is in joint venture with Balfour Beatty to carry out Phase 2, construction of the superstructure.

Farouk feels that working with the British contractor has been useful.

'We needed a partner who knew the international market, ' he explains. 'We are talking about a seven-star building with a complex programme and with many activities on the critical path being performed by international specialist subcontractors.'

Although the Egyptian contractor wanted Balfour Beatty's technical and management expertise, it did not want to flood the job with expatriate staff.

'It is important to keep the numbers of expatriate staff to a minimum in order to keep the costs down, ' he explains.

'The most important thing is that it benefits the job. We said at the beginning we wanted experts, not expats.'

With more than 50,000 employees in 58 offices around the world, Arab Contractors is easily the largest contractor in the Middle East.

The company's turnover has grown rapidly over the last few years to £1bn and it has a portfolio of major international projects.

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