ROSHN banking on technology to deliver high-quality communities

Technology is playing a crucial role in helping ROSHN develop its projects and deliver them on time, mostly ahead of their schedules. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 April 2023

ROSHN banking on technology to deliver high-quality communities

  • Saudi national community developer sets ambitious goals it wants to achieve in a very short span of time

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s national real estate developer ROSHN is banking on advanced technologies to spearhead its goal of delivering modern and aspirational communities in the Kingdom.

A relatively new company when compared with its regional peers like the UAE’s Emaar, Aldar, or DAMAC, the Saudi national community developer has set highly ambitious goals for itself that it wants to achieve in a rather very short span of time.  

ROSHN Group CEO David Grover during the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh last year made clear the company’s intention to triple its construction rate as it seeks to become the biggest residential developer in the Gulf Cooperation Council region by 2025.  

“Certainly by 2025, we will be outstripping the size of any residential developer, anywhere, certainly in the GCC, and probably at the moment in the world, such is the scale of what we’re doing,” said Grover.

The Public Investment Fund-backed giga-project which is building over 200 million sq. m of integrated neighborhoods, aims to increase the rate of homeownership to 70 percent within the next 10 years.

To achieve its ambitious goals, the company is relying on the latest technologies like artificial intelligence, building information modeling software, also known as BIM, computer aided facility management and asset registers, among others. 

Technology is playing a crucial role in helping ROSHN develop its projects and deliver them on time, mostly ahead of their schedules.

For instance, ROSHN surprised everyone by delivering the keys of its SEDRA project much ahead of schedule, in November 2022.  

This milestone is considered special, as it happened when the entire world faced a supply crunch due to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions.  

“Using technology not only increases our speed and efficiency, but it also boosts the quality of our buildings and infrastructure. We succeed in delivering ahead of schedule while building best-in-class homes and public spaces,” Michael Bailey, executive director of community management at ROSHN told Arab News.

ROSHN is using several advanced software applications to plan the construction of its projects virtually.  

At the design level, ROSHN is making use of BIM to virtually explore the planning, construction, and management of buildings and construction sites, which in turn helps the developer make a better-informed decision.  

Moreover, ROSHN has also linked its BIM technology with computer aided facility management and asset registers, to identify every single pipe, valve and junction box in its communities.  

The developer said this wise use of technology will help fix problems raised by the public and customers in a very short time. 

Recently, ROSHN partnered with technology solutions provider what3words, aimed at providing what3words addresses to homes and public spaces, which will help ensure swift last-mile delivery for possessions, goods, and services.  

“ROSHN builds trust with its customers by providing them with technology that supports a new way of living, from powerful digital infrastructure to smart mobility options and address applications such as what3words,” added Bailey.  

AI to boost performance

Bailey further pointed out that artificial intelligence is revolutionizing operations in the real estate sector, and “ROSHN is making use of these advanced technologies to maintain quality by getting issues fixed in real time.”

“AI is performing a growing range of functions in our industry. A priority for us is using it to get issues fixed at speed and maintain quality across the board. We are already using advanced technologies to care for and guide our residents as they take ownership of their environment which is an essential concept for ROSHN,” added Bailey.

ROSHN is also using AI to create 3D models of buildings and structures, along with helping in automating the procurement process.  

AI is also being used to automate some of the tasks involved in construction and to analyze data on real estate markets.  

Moreover, he revealed, residents already have access to the ROSHN app, which will allow them to raise queries to the call center for help and assistance.

Sustainable living

Bailey added that sustainability is the key to developmental activities that are currently happening at ROSHN. 

Certainly by 2025, we will be outstripping the size of any residential developer, anywhere, certainly in the GCC, and probably at the moment in the world, such is the scale of what we’re doing.

David Grover, ROSHN Group CEO

“We are using technology to set new standards for sustainability in mainstream development, deploying innovations across the full spectrum of our activity, including energy and water usage, materials and waste management, transport and connectivity, and community well-being,” Bailey added.

ROSHN buildings use high-tech insulation, solar water heaters and efficient air conditioning systems. These are enabling its housing units to make energy savings of 18 percent, compared to the mandated Saudi building code, while advanced plumbing fittings enabling 17 percent saving on water usage.

Since ROSHN has a national scope, its projects are spread throughout the Kingdom, with plans to build fully integrated communities in nine cities across four regions: Riyadh, Makkah, the Eastern Province, and Asir.

Earlier in March, ROSHN announced its second residential community in eastern Riyadh’s Al Janadriyyah district in a move that will see homes provided for 13,000 residents.

The new WAREFA project will have integrated amenities including a district mall, primary healthcare facility, public and private schools, and multiple mosques.

Bailey added that ROSHN is literally changing the residential landscape of Saudi Arabia.  

“ROSHN is bringing a new way of living to Saudi Arabia, building vibrant communities rich with amenities that support a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle, and opening the door to a new era of sustainable real estate development in the Kingdom,” added Bailey.  

AS ROSHN is developing vibrant communities that look both to Saudi heritage and the evolving aspirations of the Saudi people, it is on course to help the Kingdom meet its ambitious target of achieving 70 percent home ownership by 2030.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,219

Updated 14 sec ago

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,219

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Sunday, gaining 41.54 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 11,219.02.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.13 billion ($1.10 billion) as 148 of the listed stocks advanced, while 71 retreated.   

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu slipped 391.54 points, or 1.55 percent, to close at 24,844.08. This comes as 29 of the listed stocks advanced, while as much as 25 retreated.  

Meanwhile, the MSCI Tadawul Index also rose 3.86 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 1,445.89.  

The best-performing stock of the day was Middle East Healthcare Co. The company’s share price surged 9.95 percent to SR86.20.  

Other top performers included Naqi Water Co. as well as Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co., whose share prices soared by 6.34 percent and 6.03 percent, to stand at SR78.80 and SR17.24 respectively.  

In addition to this, other top performers included Arab Sea Information System Co. and Saudi Co. for Hardware.  

The worst performer was Development Works Food Co., whose share price dropped by 5.64 percent to SR130.40.  

Other poor performers were Al-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance as well as Naseej International Trading Co., whose share prices dropped by 5.26 percent and 3.03 percent to stand at SR162.00 and SR54.40, respectively.  

Moreover, other worst performers also included Saudi Automotive Services Co. and Arabian Cement Co.  

On the announcements front, the Saudi Exchange has announced the trading suspension on Dur Hospitality Co.’s shares starting Dec. 3 to commence delisting procedures of the company’s shares.  

According to a statement from Tadawul, this decision follows the firm’s announcement of the extraordinary general meeting’s approval of the offer submitted by Taiba Investments Co. to acquire shares of Dur Hospitality Co. from shareholders through a securities exchange offer.  

On another note, Methanol Chemicals Co. has announced the issuance of the Ministry of Energy’s approval to allocate the required feedstock for manufacturing methyl diethanolamine, choline chloride dimethyl disulfide, and n-methyl pyrrolidone. 

A bourse filing has disclosed that all the targeted products will be the first of their kind in the region. Furthermore, these innovative products are anticipated to find applications in critical and strategic industries in the Kingdom, including but not limited to oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and construction materials, among others.  

Moreover, Taiba Investments Co. has announced the results of the extraordinary general assembly meeting which included the increase of the firm’s capital remotely utilizing contemporary technology using the Tadawulaty platform.  

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz and Mansour Ibrahim Al-Babtain Co. has announced the signing of an agreement with Nestle Saudi Arabia.   

According to a Tadawul statement, the agreement will come into force from the date of its signature and expire on Dec. 31. However, it will be automatically extended upon the expiry of the period. 

UNIDO expert highlights crucial steps for hydrogen economy transition at COP28

Updated 40 min 37 sec ago

UNIDO expert highlights crucial steps for hydrogen economy transition at COP28

DUBAI: Partnerships between the private and public sectors are required to address hydrogen development infrastructure, according to a UN Industrial Development Organization expert.

Eunji Park emphasized in a panel discussion titled “Connecting the Dots for the Hydrogen Economy” by King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference key factors for a successful global transition to a hydrogen-based economy.

She highlighted the impact of policies like the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, encouraging industries in developing countries to shift toward cleaner industrial processes.

Park said: “Only 10 percent of the projects are presented for local offtake, so in order to solve infrastructure challenges in line with the scale of financing, we really need to ensure that public-private partnerships address more basic infrastructure to be in place for hydrogen development.”

The expert also called for the proximity of renewable energy sources to industrial clusters, advocating on-site installations for maximum efficiency. Park underscored the need for more hydrogen transport pipelines to facilitate widespread adoption.

In addressing a critical gap, she emphasized the urgency for more skills development, citing deficiencies in current international assistance schemes.

“We need more skills development and technical capacity building within the countries. This is something that is currently lacking in the international assistance schemes, so more opportunities for upskilling sufficient knowledge,” she said.

Park added: “I think these are the elements that need to be closely addressed within the public-private partnerships.”

On the topic of upskilling and reskilling, she emphasized the need for a just transition, recognizing the challenge of shifting fossil fuel-based economies without job losses.

Park stressed the importance of a systemic approach to ensure inclusivity in the transition process.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity. The production of green hydrogen causes significantly lower emissions than the production of gray hydrogen, which is derived from fossil fuels.

As COP28 progresses, experts like Park continue to play a pivotal role in shaping discussions and strategies for a sustainable and inclusive hydrogen economy.

Saudi budget airline flynas launches first direct flight from Jeddah to Brussels

Updated 03 December 2023

Saudi budget airline flynas launches first direct flight from Jeddah to Brussels

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budget airline flynas announced on Sunday the inauguration of its first direct flight connecting Jeddah with Brussels.

This move marks a major milestone in flynas’ European expansion, establishing it as the first Saudi national airline to provide direct connectivity between the Kingdom and the heart of the EU, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency. 

The new route, part of flynas’ growing portfolio of international destinations, is a strategic component of the Saudi Air Connectivity Program. 

This program is a key initiative in line with the National Tourism Strategy, aiming to increase the Kingdom’s global connectivity. 

The strategy aims to draw 150 million tourists and expand Saudi Arabia’s international flight destinations to over 250 by 2030. 

The launch, signifying the strengthening of Saudi-Belgian relations, was attended by key dignitaries, including Pascal Gregoire, the Belgian ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

The celebratory event at the Brussels Airport was graced by the deputy ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Mohammed Moanes, along with representatives from flynas and prominent figures from the travel and tourism sector. 

The Air Connectivity Program, initiated in 2021, is crucial to the Kingdom’s tourism growth. 

It focuses on enhancing Saudi Arabia’s global air links by developing existing and potential flight paths, thereby positioning the region as a leading global tourist destination. 

The program operates as the executive arm of the National Tourism and Aviation Strategies, aiming to foster collaboration and partnerships across public and private sectors in tourism and aviation. 

This route expansion by flynas signifies a step in Saudi Arabia’s aviation capabilities and aligns with the broader vision of diversifying the Kingdom’s economy and enhancing its global standing as a key player in international travel and tourism. 

On Dec. 2, the airline also inaugurated six destinations and routes, including two domestic flights to Abha and Tabuk and four in the international category — to Dubai, Amman, Istanbul and Ankara — to be operated alongside the other four existing destinations from Madinah to Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Cairo. 

Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh

Updated 03 December 2023

Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh

RIYADH: Representatives from over 100 countries and multinational organizations will assemble in Riyadh for the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations, focusing on enhancing aviation for improved global transport. 

Beginning Dec. 3, the five-day event will attract over 700 civil aviation experts and specialists.   

The ICAN2023 Conference, recognized as the foremost international event in its category, is dedicated to aligning with the swift advancements in the global air transport industry, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency.   

Negotiations and discussions between delegations from different nations are set to take place on both bilateral and multilateral fronts. Moreover, the participants are expected to actively support the establishment of connections between regulatory bodies, air operators, and other relevant service providers.  

The conference will also see the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser and Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation President Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej. 

Ibtisam Al-Shehri, spokesperson for the GACA, mentioned to state TV Al-Ekhbariya that the Kingdom is hosting ICAN for the second time. She added that this edition is the largest yet, with five ministers and 34 heads of global aviation authorities participating in the event.   

The conference, coinciding with World Civil Aviation Day on its last day, will also highlight investment opportunities available in the Kingdom through the country’s National Aviation Strategy. The strategy aims to enhance the capabilities of the Kingdom’s civil aviation sector, positioning it as the leading sector in the Middle East by 2023 in alignment with the Saudi Vision 2023.

The event also aligns with the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Transport and Logistics, aiming to enhance Saudi Arabia’s air connectivity from 99 destinations to over 250 across 29 airports. Furthermore, the strategy seeks to triple annual passenger traffic to reach 330 million. Launched in 2021 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the strategy additionally aims to double the capacity of the air cargo sector to over 4.5 million tons. 

The event is organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency that facilitates cooperation among 193 countries, allowing them to share their skies for mutual benefit. 

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to global aviation is further underscored by its election to the membership of the ICAO Council for the period 2023-2024-2025. This decision was reached during the 41st General Assembly of the organization held in Montreal, Canada.  

The Kingdom secured its re-election through a voting process involving the participation of all 193 member states of the UN, securing a position in the ICAO Council, which comprises 36 members. 

GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment

Updated 03 December 2023

GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to stay abreast of the latest developments in sustainability and innovation through a new agreement signed by the General Authority of Civil Aviation.   

The memorandum of understanding, inked with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment and Brazilian multinational aerospace corporation Embraer, aims to bolster cooperation in aviation sector investments, as stated in an official release.  

This initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a leader in the regional aviation sector within the next decade. It also supports the Gulf country’s broader efforts to elevate the aviation sector and achieve its target of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030, up from the initial goal of 100 million.

Under the newly signed deal, the parties will work hand in hand in an attempt to study potential areas for cooperation and investment in the field of aviation. 

In addition, the three entities will also work on exploring and identifying the most suitable investment sources and strategies to support the implementation of such commercial projects. 

Areas of cooperation between the institutions include exchanging knowledge and experiences in air security and safety and planning future projects in the field of commercial aviation, in addition to sustainable technology.

Moreover, other areas of collaboration include aviation supply chain integration, industry and green fuel. 

As the world emerges from the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia has started reaping the fruit of its efforts to wean its economy off oil by increasing its focus on its travel and tourism sector.  

The Kingdom’s aviation sector is witnessing rapid growth, which many analysts say is not just due to significant investments in airlines but is the result of the ongoing socioeconomic transformation process that began with the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016.  

One of the several measures taken to boost the sector includes the e-visa service launched in 2019, ensuring easy access to millions of potential tourists eager to explore the art, culture, cuisine, archaeological wonders, and natural beauty of the Arabian Peninsula.

“2023 is becoming a year in which Saudi aviation (industry) has moved beyond recovery (mode) and (entered) into an era of unprecedented milestones and achievements,” Mohammed Al-Khuraisi, executive vice president of strategy and business intelligence at GACA, told Arab News in August.