Construction spending in the six Gulf Cooperative Council nations is expected to rise from about $315 billion this year to $350 billion in 2010, according to new data from Proleads Global released on Aug. 13 in a SmartMarket Executive Brief, by McGraw-Hill Construction, the publisher of ENR, along with the Chartered Institute of Building.

Image: McGraw-Hill Construction

Rapid spending on construction has been affected by the downturn in development in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai, says the report. Overall, residential and commercial activity in the GCC, which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is expected to drop late this year and in 2010. Infrastructure projects, however, are expected to fill the void.

In the region, the top local markets are in the UAE, “held afloat by steady activity in Abu Dhabi despite significant slowing in Dubai,” as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, says the 32-page report, which is available for free download.

One U.S. structural engineer, speaking from Riyadh where his firm is involved with parts of a 20-million-sq-ft project, corroborates the health of the Saudi market: “Just about every American architect and engineer affected by the brutal recession in the U.S. will be coming here seeking work in the next 12 months,” predicts Craig Schwitter, a principal in the New York City office of Buro Happold Consulting Engineers.