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On the mark for 2022

by Gerhard Hope on Dec 18, 2012

Gerhard Hope
Gerhard Hope

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In this issue, Michael Fahy interviews ISG chief executive David Lawther and regional director Alan McCready on the fit-out contractor’s ambitious plans for regional growth.

The company was heavily involved with the London Olympics 2012, and aims to transfer its wealth of knowledge and experience gained to the region, and in particular Qatar, as it prepares for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

We also report extensively on the keynote addressed delivered by Ruari Maybank at the CW Qatar Infrastructure 2012 conference held at the Grand Hyatt in Doha on 5 December. Maybank was heavily involved with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in London, as ‘project sponsor of utilities’ – a rarefied job description he told his Qatar audience he would not bore them with.

Maybank’s hotly-anticipated keynote address focused on the ODA’s approach to the design and implementation of the Games, and also to provide a perspective on the lessons learnt that could be applicable to Qatar’s own World Cup build-up.

Maybank is currently working for the Central Planning Office (CPO) in Qatar, established by Atkins to coordinate and integrate the implementation of multi-modal transportation systems in Qatar, both for the World Cup and the National Vision 2030.

The scale of the challenge faced by Qatar is evidenced by the fact that it has one of the highest uses of private motor vehicles in the world, second only to North America. How to introduce multi-modal transport, educate users as to its benefits, and also how to integrate this with existing infrastructure and developments, are daunting tasks.

The Qatar government and associated authorities have been particularly sensitive to any media reports on ‘difficulties’ or ‘challenges’ faced by Qatar. CW Online posted a brief news story on Maybank’s presentation, quoting him on Qatar’s World Cup build-up as being “exciting and scary” and needing “excellent project management.

There is only one chance to do a project of this scale, and so you have to make sure you get it right the first time.” Maybank made the following comment on this story: “It would have been better for you to have referred to my confidence in the State of Qatar and industry rising to the challenge rather than quoting the term ‘scary’.”

The Supreme Committee itself has been reluctant to comment in any detail on Qatar’s World Cup progress or plans. This has, understandably, resulted in a lot of frustration on the part of contractors and consultants.

Maybank stressed that the CPO’s role was as an advisor or facilitator, and that it was not empowered to take decisions on behalf of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.

What was apparent from Maybank’s keynote presentation, and which is abundantly clear in the extended coverage in this issue, is that Qatar has scoured the world for the best-of-the-best to help it with its goals, which means that a successful World Cup will be to the ultimate benefit of the entire region.