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12-storey buildings allowed in smaller Saudi Arabia cities

Saudi Arabia will allow some buildings up to 12 storeys high to be built in small- and medium-sized cities, Gulf News has reported.19 Aug 2016

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh announced the change, which involved re-classifying the cities as national and regional growth centres under Saudi Arabia's national urban strategy, Gulf News said.

A number of cities had asked to be exempt from construction requirements in order to build commercial and administration projects, the news site said.

The projects allowed to build taller buildings include private hospitals and clinics, hotels and furnished apartments, and commercial and administrative centres. These must be "distinctive" urban projects with social and economic returns for the region, and "located within the city's urban scope to serve a broad segment of society", Gulf News reported.

The aim is to encourage the public and private sectors to build pioneering projects, it said.

Projects must have frontage on two streets, one of which must be commercial, and must be no less than 30 metres wide and 30 metres deep, with a front façade of at least 40 metres, Gulf News said.

Landlords can combine lots in order to reach the 30 metre depth, and will be allowed to offer parking spaces so long as these meet the standards of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, it said.

Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Makkah and Madinah will not be covered by the decision, sources told Gulf News.

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