Mostadam: What is Saudi Arabia’s New Green Building Rating System?

Curious to know more about Mostadam, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s new green building rating system? Mostadam was developed and launched because of a need for a local rating system that will ensure sustainable construction standards in Saudi Arabia.

And today, you’ll learn all about this new standard and its impact on construction in the region. Ready to dive right in? Let’s find out what Mostadam is.

What is Mostadam?

In October 2019, Saudi Arabia introduced its new building rating system. This new standard was developed by the Ministry of Housing for the Saudi Arabian market. According to experts, it’s one of the most important initiatives in recent years.

Mostadam is developed with inspiration from the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives. As Hani, our Project Lead describes it: “Mostadam is exclusively developed for Saudi Arabia. The main topics, requirements, and targets are all in line with Saudi Vision 2030. There is a close focus on energy, water, and health and comfort, which are some of the most important topics mentioned in Vision 2030.”

These objectives are meant to position Saudi Arabia as a thriving society for its citizens and help ensure that the region stays vibrant, sustainable, and open for business.

Improving building standards in the region is one of the building blocks for a better future. By offering services like quality inspections and by awarding certificates for successful projects, Mostadam sets a new standard. This is how it will help achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.

Why Mostadam is needed in the region

Why does Saudi Arabia need their own green rating system? Simple. Green building rating systems lower construction and building costs and make buildings more sustainable. As the construction industry causes about 20% of the world’s emissions, these types of standards are extremely important to ensure industry-wide adherence to them.

The problem is that international green building rating systems don’t focus on regional differences. That’s where local rating systems like Mostadam come in.

According to Hani: “Most international rating systems include specific technical criteria that are inspired by international or country-specific standards or regulations. These can’t feasibly be applied in the GCC area. So one of the main reasons Mostadam was developed was to focus on applying Sustainability principles that add value and can be applied locally.”

Mostadam is tailored to Saudi Arabia’s local climate and environmental characteristics in a way that other rating systems aren’t. As a result, it supports more sustainable building practices. For example, it helps to preserve market value, the median age of buildings, and it works to attract investments.

Mostadam refers to the Saudi green building code, Saudi Building Code (SBC) and it’s designed to comply with the existing legislature. Other rating systems have to be adapted to Saudi regulations, but Mostadam can be applied as such. It also recognizes geographical differences and in this way, enables regional prioritization.

Mostadam supports the Saudi economy and employment by rewarding projects for using local materials and services. It focuses on local culture and prioritizes local design.

The impact of Mostadam in the future will be manifold. The rating system is designed to improve the quality of the construction industry in the region, as well as have a social and environmental impact.

How is Mostadam structured?

How does Mostadam work as a green building rating system?

Mostadam has three rating systems. These rating systems focus on: Mostadam Residential Buildings, Mostadam Communities, and Mostadam Commercial Buildings. Each rating system has two elements, one is for Design and Construction and the other is for Operational and Existing.

The categories of Mostadam are various, but they can be summarized as follows.

  • Site Sustainability.
  • Transportation and Connectivity.
  • Efficient Energy and Water Use.
  • Region and Culture.
  • Health and Comfort.
  • Education and Innovation.
  • Materials and Waste.
  • Policies and Maintenance.

How Alpin helped develop Mostadam

Alpin Limited was appointed by the National Housing Company, which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Housing, as a technical partner. As we’ve been active in the Saudi market for more than seven years, we’ve built a name for ourselves.

As Hani explains it: “The Ministry of Housing wanted to promote better sustainable development for their residential projects to support the Saudi Vision 2030. The project started with developing Mostadam as a green building rating system for residential buildings. But once this project was completed, the Ministry wanted to expand and promote sustainability throughout the industry. That’s why they decided to develop other elements for commercial buildings, non-residential buildings, and residential communities in mixed-use communities. Alpin was a part of each stage of the project.”

The Ministry of Housing wanted to promote better sustainable development for their residential projects to support the Saudi Vision 2030

As a technical partner, our team at Alpin was responsible for the overall management, planning, technical development, and coordination with different stakeholders, as well as training delivery. Together with KEO Consultants, we oversaw the technical development for all technical requirements of Mostadam.

Some of our biggest challenges during this project were:

  • A lack of publicly accessible data of building performance in the Saudi Arabian market.
  • The practical adaptability of change in the construction industry when integrating sustainability.
  • A lack of awareness of sustainability by the public, which for example made it challenging to ask occupants to follow sustainability practices.
  • Deciding on some technical performance parameters to ensure the feasibility of their success at all stages of the project, including everything from individual villas to complex commercial buildings.

Thanks to our resourceful team, the project was successfully completed despite these challenges. As to our successes, these include:

  • Exciting feedback from stakeholders, the public, and pilot project teams.
  • The successful integration of local Saudi Arabian regulations, which makes the implementation of minimum Mostadam requirements an easy process.
  • Very positive feedback from industry professionals about the first few training courses we at Alpin delivered.

Want to learn more?

There you have it. Now you know what the green building rating system Mostadam is and how it will help the region and the construction industry thrive in the short- and long-term. Mostadam will have a huge impact on the Saudi construction industry and it will help ensure that Saudi Vision 2030 goals are fulfilled.

At Alpin, we’re honored to have been chosen as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s partner in its sustainability journey and proud that the project was completed successfully. Sustainability is our core value and that’s why we see the need and importance of a local rating system like Mostadam.

Learn more about our work.