Some 45km south of the UAE's capital, workmen are reclaiming a massive tract of desert for a huge development that one day will be home to more than 130,000 Emiratis.
The Dh7 billion (US$1.9bn) government project covers 4,000 hectares at South Shamkha.
Construction companies are scrambling to land such projects, but just how do you win a government contract?
The formula is simple, says Muna Al Qubaisi, the design and construction director of building services at Musanada, the government's shared services arm.
"They just have to meet the required time, budget and specified level of quality."
But in order to compete for a tender, companies must first make the grade; and some do not file the correct pre-qualification paperwork, she says.
"We keep asking them to submit supporting documents, but they don't know exactly the type of documents we're talking about."
Musanada recently held workshops to clarify what contractors need to do.
Companies must submit detailed information on a range of topics at the pre-qualification stage, says Ms Al Qubaisi.
"We want to see exactly the abilities in items like quality, health and safety and also how they manage their resources … and we need to know their experience in Abu Dhabi and the GCC."
Submissions must also include financial data, details of previous projects, information about their structure and organisation, plus any joint ventures and disputes.
It is important to pay attention to all of the criteria, not just focus on one or two areas.
"We cannot rely on their experience and financial data and neglect their sources and the quality management system. They have to treat all the criteria equally and we have equal scoring for all of that."
Pre-qualification applications are whittled down to a select 10 or 15, which are then invited to submit tenders that must include both technical and commercial data.
"We give a percentage for each but we pay more attention to the technical. We do not look for the lowest bidder."
The preferred bid is then recommended to the Government, which makes the final choice.
Some 400 contractors attended the workshops. Many wanted to know how Musanada scored the applications.
"We told them that (scoring is) according to the technical submissions," says Ms Al Qubaisi.
"They also asked if it is better to submit to all the required information and we said to focus on all the requirements and submit a comprehensive and complete submission."
However, companies were told they could resubmit documents if they failed to qualify the first time.
"We told them to focus on Musanada's vision and to work with us.
"Our main concern is to build on time, budget and quality. We want to build for Abu Dhabi Government and we want their input to act with us as partners," says Ms Al Qubaisi.
Ammar Asaad, a business development manager with Sammon Contracting, which operates in the UAE, Europe and Africa, says competing for a contract with Musanada is tricky because of the pre-qualification stage, but the workshop clearly explained the process.
"It was pretty useful. It contained all the information from A to Z," he says.
Omar Gharzuddine, a senior business development engineer for Amana Contracting & Steel Buildings, based in Abu Dhabi, also attended one of the workshops.
His company has tendered for many projects with Musanada and is familiar with the process.
"Basically all of our clients are big governmental entities and they all have the same type of requirements," he says.
"I have been personally involved in preparing the technical submissions for pre-qualifications, so I didn't learn anything really that new, but the interaction with the crowd and questions that they had made it an informative session."