Alan Mack, the man in charge of the construction of the Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh, is leaving Bovis to become the project director of Carillion’s £2bn Festival City project in the Gulf state of Dubai.

Mack, who is operations director of Bovis Scotland, hit the headlines after the construction costs of the building rose tenfold to £430m.

He was also one of the key witnesses at the Fraser inquiry into the construction process, during which it was revealed that the parliament

had undergone more than 15,000 design changes.

As well as revealing the extent of the design changes, he criticised the Holyrood Progress Group of MSPs, was set up in mid-2000 to monitor the project. He said when he tried to explain the work to them they talked down to him.

He memorably claimed that some of the MSPs “thought we were Bob the Builder”.

Mack said he had been talking to Carillion over a possible move for more than a year and had now decided to go for personal reasons. He said:

I felt it was a great chance for my wife and I to move to Dubai and take this fantastic opportunity

Alan Mack

“I live in Northumberland and have been commuting to Scotland for a long time. Now my family has grown up so I felt it was a great chance for my wife and I to move to Dubai and take this fantastic opportunity.”

The Dubai development is one of the largest in the Middle East. At present 4500 workers are involved in the construction of the centre with the number likely to rise to more than 8500 as it nears completion.

The mixed-use development covers more than 650 ha, and will include retail, residential, leisure and hospitality facilities.

The project is skirted by a 4 km privately developed creekside corniche. Set to become a downtown landmark, the corniche will be lined by office towers, waterfront villas, luxury and convention hotels, five-star resorts and timeshare villas, an 18-hole golf course, a waterfront retail destination, a 150-berth Mediterranean-style marina, a state-of-the-art retail park and a community centre.

Mack is expected to be on gardening leave until his three-month notice period expires in March.

Growth in construction slumped to a seven month low in December after new orders increased at their slowest rate for three years. The figures were published by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.