Thursday, April 17, 2008

Construction of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Completed

17 Apr 2008 17:00 Africa/Lagos

Construction of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Completed; State Department Accepts Work After Rigorous Inspections

Successful Completion of Most Complex Infrastructure Project in Wartime Iraq is a Remarkable Achievement

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ --

First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting has successfully completed the design and construction of the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. Department of State has accepted possession of the embassy after rigorous inspections of all buildings and systems by the State Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) and independent experts.

State Department Contracting Officer David Vivian issued the formal certificates of acceptance and completion and certificates of occupancy on behalf of the State Department on April 14, 2008, the company announced today.

The 104- acre, 27 building compound is a complete self-supported city-within-a-city, the largest U.S. embassy in the world and the most complex infrastructure project yet completed in wartime Iraq. The State Department established design goals for the embassy so that its personnel serving in Baghdad will be able to meet all their living needs within the boundaries of the complex; the embassy includes 619 apartments housing employees, office space, restaurants, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, volleyball court, and indoor Olympic-size swimming pool.

Despite the ongoing insurgency, compromised supply routes and unrelenting risk to the lives and safety of First Kuwaiti workers, the project was completed in just over two years within the original fixed price budget of $474 million, an unprecedented achievement.

Wadih Al Absi, Managing Director of First Kuwaiti, said, "This is a remarkable accomplishment for our company and for the thousands of individuals whose hard work has made it possible. We are proud of our record of achievement in Iraq and regard the completion of the new U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad as an absolute success."

The embassy required a huge logistical effort undertaken in hazardous conditions. Before First Kuwaiti could begin construction, it first had to clear the embassy site of old buildings, hidden tunnels and bunkers, landmines, and unexploded ordnance. Once site construction began, nearly eleven thousand truckloads of materials, including 75,000 tons of cement and 28,000 tons of steel, were trucked in from Kuwait through some of the most dangerous roads in the world. Supply lines were closed due to military considerations for 232 days, nearly one-third of the project duration, and fourteen trucks of supplies were lost to violence. The embassy construction site itself was sometimes the target of direct rocket and mortar attacks. Despite these active wartime conditions, First Kuwaiti was steadfast in meeting its commitment to build a project of the highest quality and standards.

Al Absi said that the project would not have been possible without the active support of the Kuwait Government, which facilitated the immigration of workers for the project, and assisted greatly with the re-export of construction materials; exempted the import and export of materials from customs; and provided extraordinary facilities for the staging of shipments to Iraq.

Al Absi said he hopes Americans will take pride in First Kuwaiti's accomplishment. "First Kuwaiti completed this project under conditions that none of us anticipated. It's a moment to take stock of a remarkable achievement."

Key Embassy Facts:

-- Area: 104 acres

-- Number of Buildings: 27

-- Staff employed to build embassy: 3500 (average) 7500 (at peak).

-- Total US Staff: 250

-- Total number of American companies employed: 23

-- Truckloads of material brought in from Kuwait: 11,000

-- Number of trucks lost: 14

-- Number of airlifts to Baghdad: 252 planeloads.

-- Days supply routes were closed due to war: 232 (1/3 of entire project

-- Days Site was under direct enemy fire: 12

-- Time from groundbreaking to handover: 33 months (June 2005-April 2008)

-- Completed within fixed-price $474 million budget

Source: First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting

CONTACT: Andrew Rice of Saylor Company, +1-202-741-9339, for First
Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting

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