Feature: Chinese firm seeks to integrate Chinese, Egyptian construction standards for common development under BRI

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 27, 2021
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by Mahmoud Fouly, Wu Danni

CAIRO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- In a chilly November morning in Cairo, a group of Chinese and Egyptian construction workers in helmets and reflective vests were rushing into the famous Citystars complex in the Egyptian capital to start a day's work.

"Although our languages, cultures, architectural expertise and construction technologies are different, the joint project is progressing very smoothly," said Ahmed el-Sherbini, chairman of Egypt's Hexagon Project & Construction Management Consultants, in the office building of the complex.

Sherbini was referring to a joint Egyptian-Chinese project to renovate Cairo's iconic Citystars, a massive complex integrating shopping malls, hotels, apartments and office buildings.

His firm is supervising the renovation project that started in early 2021 and is being carried out by China National Chemical Engineering No.16 Construction Co. Ltd. (CNCEC16).

On the project site, decoration materials and lamps from China were successively put in place by Chinese and Egyptian workers who are carrying out the whole renovation process together.

"The materials purchased from China are of high quality and reasonable price," Sherbini told Xinhua, pointing out that the Chinese materials didn't only reduce the cost but also won the approval of designers.

The Chinese company optimized the design and recommended the building materials with full respect for Egyptian local construction standards and aesthetic requirements, he noted, hailing the smooth cooperation between the two sides.

The project is seen as the embodiment of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Egypt's Vision 2030, both targeting future development.

Qu Peng, director of the international department of CNCEC16, said through the project, the Chinese team seeks to introduce more Chinese understanding of architectural design and advanced technology, and to fuse Chinese construction standards with Egyptian ones for common development under the BRI framework.

"Unlike regular large infrastructure construction projects, the requirements of this project mainly focus on layout design, interior decoration, furniture renovation and others," Qu explained.

This mutual trust between the two sides has borne more fruits, as CNCEC16 is also undertaking an interior finishing project for the Citystars complex in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, which covers a total area of 7.5 square km.

The CNCEC16 team is in charge of the interior decoration of two hotels with 800 rooms and 690 apartments, which is expected to be completed in June 2023.

The prestigious Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh hosted in 2018 the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP14) and will host the 27th session of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in 2022.

"Chinese and Egyptians here learn from each other to strengthen their professional skills and gain a lot of expertise through the project," Zhu Yonglong, manager of the interior decoration project in Citystars Sharm el-Sheikh, told Xinhua.

Zhu explained that the Chinese team has always adopted a compatibility approach in order to integrate the standards of both sides through constant communication and consultation.

For instance, he said, the Egyptian mechanical, electrical and piping techniques feature neat horizontal and vertical layouts but the appearance and structural quality of concrete pouring are relatively rough.

"Hence, the Chinese team approved the operation of the Egyptian side in terms of piping and wiring, and recommended the Chinese construction technology in terms of structural concrete pouring," said the Chinese manager, noting the combination resulted in both beautiful appearance and a streamlined process that significantly reduces cost.

Rania Roumani Anis, 43, has been working in the construction industry for nine years including seven years with a French company.

She joined the CNCEC16's Egyptian branch in April as a translator and an assistant to Zhu.

Rania expressed confidence in her Chinese partners' ability to complete a high-standard project despite the tight schedule.

Besides CNCEC16, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has been advancing in building a massive 20-tower central business district in Egypt's new administrative capital east of Cairo.

"Egypt's booming construction industry welcomes the participation of companies from different countries and cultures," Sherbini noted.

From Egypt's new administrative capital to Citystars Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh, China and Egypt will definitely develop deeper connectivity and cooperation in the construction industry in the future, he told Xinhua. Endiem

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