CW Conference: Qatar can learn from Dubai, Saudiby Carlin Gerbich on Dec 5, 2011
With a massive $83bn infrastructure spend planned in the lead-up to the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup, Qatar needs to adopt lessons learned during Dubai's building boom and Saudi Arabia's current construction push.
Speaking during the Construction Week Infrastructure Qatar conference in Doha on Monday, a panel of experts told a packed auditorium of delegates that lessons could be taken from both Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
These will help Qatar to not only spend its money wisely, but also deliver world-class infrastructure. Tim Risbridger, partner and head of transportation at built asset consultancy EC Harris, said: "Dubai is a great case study in sequencing of works.
"We saw that the private sector was far better at building than the public sector was at completing its infrastructure, which lagged behind and exacerbated problems in economic development," said Risbridger.
"Qatar needs to ensure the sequencing of works is correct. Infrastructure is an enabler of economic development: without it, the success of projects is compromised."
Geoff Mee, deputy CEO of Qatar Rail, said Dubai's Metro had been a resounding success. "It has exceeded expectations, so we know metros work. Saudi Arabia is also building a freight railway network in very difficult conditions."
Mee said that, while innovation was to be applauded, every technical advancement came with pitfalls, and allowing others to discover these meant companies could avoid costly mistakes.
"In Dubai, we learned that the connectivity to the Metro was not as good as it could have been, something Qatar can learn from. In Saudi Arabia, the technical challenges of building a railway in the desert will provide lessons for Qatar over the coming months and years," said Mee.
Maher Chantila, Hyder Consulting's country manager for Qatar, also mentioned that the country was looking at creating a body that would co-ordinate the complex logistics covering the the myriad of construction projects planned over the next 20 years.
With hundreds of projects requiring vast quantities of materials and scheduling, detailed project planning is vital. Mee explained: "There is a lot of detailed work being done by Ashghal [Qatar's Public Works Authority[ and others to make sure we can minimise disruption to residents and businesses.
"There is no point in everyone digging up the same bit of road at different times to install different things. With the country spending the best part of $100bn, we need to ensure the impact is minimal, and this has to be co-ordinated," stressed Mee.
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