How to start a construction business in Dubai


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Think of Dubai and you probably picture the Burj Khalifa stretching far into the sky or the Palm Islands sprawling across the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the country’s vast, cutting edge airports spring to mind or its incredible malls. Yes, Dubai has a reputation for ambitious construction.

But with a growing population and rapidly diversifying economy, there are plenty of less headline-grabbing projects in progress at any given time, too. That’s why, if you’re looking to launch a construction business, now is a great time to get started in Dubai.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Construction business in Dubai – the market opportunity
  • Approvals required to start a construction business in Dubai
  • Steps to start a construction business in Dubai
  • Cost of opening a construction company in Dubai
  • Best construction company in Dubai
  • Why work with Set Hub?

Construction business in Dubai – the market opportunity

Despite the interruptions felt across the global industry as a result of the pandemic, the UAE’s construction industry was still valued at USD 101.45bn as of 2020. By 2027, this figure is expected to reach USD 133.53bn, representing CAGR of 4.69% over the next five years.

In 2022 alone, the UAE government has pledged at least USD 1.4bn in construction projects, with many more millions expected from private investors. Right now, the UAE is working on all manner of developments from solar parks and railways to thousands of residential units to support further employee and investor immigration.

For entrepreneurs within the sector, the opportunity is incredible. Thanks to the UAE’s time-tested visa, relocation and company formation procedures, with the right knowledge and support, you could be taking on contracts out here within weeks.

Approvals required to start a construction business in Dubai

To ensure high standards across the industry, construction companies require several approvals in order to operate. As well as applying for all appropriate building permits, you must also seek sign-off and permissions from departments including drainage and irrigation, water and electricity, roads and transport, waste disposal, telecoms, and civil defence.

At the end of any construction project, you will also require a completion certificate before the structure can be used or occupied.

Steps to start a construction business in Dubai

When you work with Set Hub, the company formation process is fast, affordable and incredibly straightforward. After a short consultation to assess your requirements, you dedicated contact will guide you through the following process.

Step 1: Choose your company name

First, you will need to choose a name for your new business. Out here, in Dubai, company names must adhere to certain requirements.

You cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language or the names of any well-known organisations. You must also avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Steven Smith Construction rather than S Smith Construction.

Once you have offered several suggested names, Set Hub can check their availability before registering it for you.

Step 2: Decide on your legal entity

When starting a construction company in Dubai, you can operate from the UAE mainland or from a free zone. In both cases, 100% ownership is possible; however, if you start a mainland business, this type of holding would need additional approval.

When you set up in a free zone, you can benefit from a range of advantages, including 100% customs tax exemption, zero currency restrictions and capital and profit repatriation.

Step 3: Make your licence application

Once you have made these key decisions, you can apply for your commercial licence. When starting a mainland business, this application should be made to the Department of Economic Development. If you wish to start up in a free zone, you should apply to the relevant managing authority.

In both cases, you will need to submit a completed application form along with other documents such as a copy of your passport.

Step 4: Apply for building permit and other approvals

Now is the time to apply for your building permit, or G+1 permit if operating from a free zone. At the same time, you should also apply for any additional approvals that you may require such as your civil works and environmental licences.

Step 5: Visa

At this stage, you can apply for your visa and those of any dependants, such as your spouse, children or domestic staff. This process involves a medical, chest X-ray and blood test.

Step 6: Open your corporate bank account

You will need a corporate bank account to trade in the UAE. This is not always the easiest process for non-GCC citizens, however, Set Hub can help.

We’ll suggest the most suitable financial institution for your requirements and assist with your application to avoid any unnecessary delays or rejection.

Cost of opening a construction company in Dubai

The cost of opening a construction company in Dubai is AED 23,000. However, this is just a starting figure. On top of this, you will also need to account for visa, office and staff costs, plus the cost of applying for all necessary permits and approvals.

For a detailed quotation and breakdown of the costs involved in starting a construction company in the UAE, get in touch with the team at Set Hub.

What is the best construction company in Dubai?

Here is a list of the 20 best construction companies in Dubai according to constructionplacements.com.

Arabtec Construction L.L.C.

Al Jaber LEGT Engineering & Contracting (ALEC)

Khansaheb Civil Engineering L.L.C.

Al Habtoor Group LLC


Saudi Binladin Group

Al Futtaim

Dutco Balfour Beatty LLC

Al Naboodah Construction Group LLC

UNEC] United Engineering Construction Company – Dubai

Fujairah National Construction Co. L.L.C

Pravarthi buildings contracting LLC

CIVILCO -Civil Engineering & Contracting Company WLL

ASGC Dubai ASGC Construction (Al Shafar General Contracting)

Amana Steel Buildings Contracting Co. LLC

Arabian Construction Company

Giti Construction

Adnan Contracting LLC

Vision Construction LLC

RP Group Corporate Office

Why work with Set Hub?

From our first conversation, it will be clear that Set Hub is the expert in all things related to business setup in Dubai. Our dedicated team are committed to providing only the highest level of service, with all advice based on our extensive global and local knowledge.

When you work with us, we will equip you with the tools to launch and thrive in the UAE. We can assist with everything from company formation and trade name registration to visas, bank accounts and a wide range of business support services.

Plus, with services such as Set Hub Pay As You Go, starting a company in the UAE is simpler, faster and more affordable than you might imagine. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch with our expert team today on 800 SETHUB (738482), email [email protected], or pop in and visit us at our offices in Dubai and Fujairah.