Saudi Schools Privatise Facilities Management

Public Private Partnership will see the privatisation of facilities management in all schools throughout Saudi Arabia

School facilities management image by Clicksahead (via Shutterstock).
By the end of this year, this pupil and her peers could be taught in a school that is built and managed by a private sector body. Image by Clicksahead (via Shutterstock).

The outsourcing of facilities management to a third party isn’t an alien concept in the UK and US. Since 1990, public sector services have been contracted out via Compulsory Competitive Tender and Best Value systems. We also have the Private Finance Initiative, where a public sector body could run, for example, a school or hospital with one or more private sector partners. The latter partners are involved in its construction and in many cases, the facilities management of the building. A bank also offers financial support for the project.

In Saudi Arabia, HSBC has been called upon to procure facilities management services for the country’s schools. Not a selection of schools, the whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s educational establishments. At present, the state-owned Tatweer Buildings Co. oversee the maintenance of all its schools. HSBC is acting as a financial advisor for the plan, which could see Tatweer Buildings Co. offering public-private partnerships.

Eventually, the management and construction of schools will become a private sector undertaking. In the UK, Free Schools and Academies are the closest equivalents. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s decision has been prompted by the recent fall in oil prices.

Fahad al-Hammad, Tatweer Buildings’ CEO stated that the privatisation of facilities management in Saudi Arabian schools would “minimise government burdens”. The projects will be worth more than 45 billion riyals: or £9.8 billion. Their legal advisor is the international law firm, King and Spalding.

ST Maintenance Solutions, 10 January 2017.

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