When the Directorate of Works was established in 1945, it had only a few employees working in three offices within a space not more than fifty square meters. At that time, the tasks assigned to the Directorate of Works were limited. The tasks were only restricted to establishing some buildings needed for public services and other departments. These buildings included: the Shura Council, the old Amiri Hospital, and some buildings of the Customs, Passports, Health, and Interior departments. The first task was to conduct an aerial survey of Kuwait and draw a map of the cities marking the places of public services.
The 1950s were the start of the urban renaissance. With the increase of population and the national income, the need for construction works increased; whether the road construction or architecture. In addition, there was a need for providing health safety through constructing sanitary and rainwater drainage systems. It was necessary to provide the technical services required for those works. In 1953, the Government Research Station was established to address the problems facing the constructions under the prevailing weather conditions. In the same year, the Ministry offices were moved to Al Murqab, as a consequence of business growth, increase of employees and technical staff, and the doubling number of tools and equipment.
With the development of civil life and its requirements, all the bodies and utilities of the Ministry of Public Works were developed. At that time, various responsibilities and specializations were assigned to the Ministry of Public Works. The modern renaissance required more interest in increasing the green areas, represented in productive and aesthetic agriculture, in addition to the urban aspect. Therefore, the Ministry of Public Works was assigned to supervise agricultural activities in 1952.
Meanwhile, some specializations were moved to other government entities. In 1960, the Water and Gas Department affiliated to the Ministry at that time was moved to the Directorate of Electricity and Water. In 1961, the Survey, Planning, and Fire departments were moved to the Directorate of Municipality. In 1962, the Directorate of Works became the Ministry of Public Works which determines its own responsibilities and specializations.
The following tasks were the most important ones for the Ministry at that period:
- Provide the Ministry, and other ministries and public authorities, with their requirements of buildings, constructions, and maintenance
- Construct housing for employees and people with limited income
- Implement mega projects and supervise the implementation of different projects
- Construct, pave, and maintain roads and squares
- Design and implement the sanitary drainage projects
- Design and implement rainwater drainage networks
- Supervise operating and maintaining the pumping stations of wastewater
- Treat wastewater and take advantage of the output
- Manage the agricultural activity and examine agricultural projects
- Supervise the agricultural, livestock, and Fisheries wealth
- Provide veterinary services
The 1960s witnessed establishing several major projects, most notably:
- Constructing residences for lower-income people
- Constructing the building of Kuwait Municipality (1961)
- Constructing the building of the Ministry of Guidance and News (the Ministry of Information 1962)
- Constructing Al Sabah Hospital (1962)
- Constructing the Central Prison (1965)
- Constructing the Maternity Hospital (1968)
- Constructing the private institutes (1969)
- Constructing the Zoo (1968)
The green areas amplified due to the increase in productive farming, horticulture and afforestation extending up to 162 km. Besides, there was a boom in the study of methods for developing the livestock and fisheries. With the increase in the size of responsibilities and tasks required for that field, the utilities of the Agriculture Department practically grew and spread. This aimed at developing the methods of using and maintaining all wealth taking into consideration protection of the Kuwaiti environment.
In the last four decades, especially the 1970s and the 1980s, the State of Kuwait witnessed comprehensive urban renaissance. High-rise buildings replaced small modest houses. The main streets were broadened and highways were constructed to replace the narrow roads which were unable to accommodate the traffic. Vast areas of farms covered the desert. Mosques, schools, hospitals, clinics, gardens and means of recreation dispersed in all areas of Kuwait. Additionally, residence care was provided to lower-income people through establishing residences that are distributed on several areas.
Undoubtedly, the Ministry of Public Works with all its technical and administrative bodies has significantly contributed in that renaissance. The Ministry provided services for authorities, organizations and ministries in the State. The achievements of the Ministry including Bayan Palace, a masterpiece in its engineering and construction; the Grand Mosque of the State; the Nation Council; the Complex of Ministries, which encompasses six ministries to facilitate fulfilling transactions with citizens; the building of the Foreign Affairs Ministry; the Kuwait National Museum with its heavenly dome; the Radio and Television Complex; the Justice Palace, which includes different types of courts; the Kuwait Port; the International Airport and other constructions show the greatness of the efforts exerted by the Ministry.
The Ministry has been active in the field of health. During the past 15 years, the Ministry established several hospitals covering different areas in the State including the Amiri Hospital, Adan Hospital, Al Farwanyia Hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital and the Military Hospital. Moreover, during the 1950s and 1960s, the Ministry constructed several specialized and general hospitals, clinics, health complex and their health utilities such as the blood bank, dental department and maternity center.
Since the early 1950s, the Ministry of Public Works has been responsible for the maintenance of schools. Later, it was entrusted with the task of school establishment which was perfectly performed. The Ministry managed to establish more than 400 nursery schools and schools for different stages and for boys and girls in addition to the provision of all facilities and services.
The Ministry also directed its efforts towards mosques. In addition to the Grand Mosque, which is one of the most prominent architectural and Islamic monuments, the Ministry established several mosques every year within the institutions and schools of Kuwait.
The Ministry not only directed its efforts towards the architectural and constructional sides or educational and health projects, but it expanded its efforts beyond that to encompass the recreational side. It established the Entertainment City in Doha, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. The Ministry established several marine clubs, the most recent of which are Khiran Resort, the skating hall and the dancing fountain. It also partly contributed in the constructions of the sea front. In sports, the Ministry established around 14 clubs, in some of which international championships and games are held, in addition to the hunting and equestrian club.
Before the establishment of the Public Authority of Housing Welfare, the Ministry undertook the responsibility of establishing residences for low-income people. Up till the 1970s, it had constructed about 11.000 residences in different areas in the State providing them with all the vital facilities.
The Ministry also gave good care to agriculture, livestock and fisheries. These had remained under the supervision of the Ministry until the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources was established in 1983 and took over these tasks. Along 30 years of supervision over that vital sector, the Ministry accomplished major achievements. It established several public gardens in different areas in Kuwait. It also introduced new methods for agriculture, productive farming and horticulture, gave more care to livestock and fisheries, and studied ways of developing this wealth and maintaining it.
Main roads and streets comprised main part of the activities of the Ministry. The existing network of roads is considered one of the most modern networks in the Middle East. The efforts exerted in that major field are mostly and especially noticeable by those who have lived in Kuwait since the 1950s. The streets were narrow and quickly affected by weather factors and fluctuations. Until the middle of 1970s, roads didn’t exceed 1000 km; however, they now reach up to 5772 km including 613 km of highways. These highways are marked by multi-level bridges distinguished by its engineering which significantly contributed in reducing traffic congestion and shortening distances.
In addition to main streets, highways and international roads, it’s worth mentioning the achievements accomplished in designing and constructing infrastructure. These included renewal and maintenance of sewage and rainwater drainage systems, constructing pumping stations and purification plants, and finding ways for taking advantage of treated waste water. The longest sewage network was about 5000 km. There was a persistent need to establish an entity to be authorized to undertake and supervise maintenance works for facilities and services developed by the Ministry. Therefore, the Maintenance Engineering Sector was introduced to take responsibility for maintaining governmental facilities through implementing periodical and preventive maintenance. Furthermore, this Sector shouldered using the latest scientific devices and most developed to set maintenance programs in addition to using the latest and most accurate developed equipment and machinery to perform maintenance works.
It’s noteworthy that the Ministry, represented in the Government Center for Tests, Quality Control and Research, undertakes supervising soil testing to determine its bearing capacity for huge facilities, governmental or non-governmental. It also watches all building materials to decide its validity for the weather in Kuwait and the conformity with local and international specifications.