Seven shortlisted for First Qatar project

CITYSCAPE: Contraco, Midmac and Harinsa among firms vying for phase two of Pearl Qatar development.

An artist's impression of the Pearl Qatar.
An artist's impression of the Pearl Qatar.

Seven contractors have been shortlisted for the main construction package for phase two of First Qatar Real Estate Development Company's residential project on the Pearl Qatar.

The companies are Contraco, Midmac Contracting, Harinsa Contracting, American Qatari French, Afrina Trading Company (all Qatar-based), Kuwait's Al Hani Trading & Construction and Ascon.

The contract for the phase two - which is called Viva Bahriya - is estimated to be worth $82-109 million.

Work will involve the construction of two residential buildings covering 100,000 square metres.

AMCO was recently awarded the $8.2 million piling contract, which is expected to take three months to complete.

According to Fahad Al Ghunaim, chairman and CEO of First Qatar, the relaxation of the overall bidding process for the Pearl Qatar has made it easier for the company to attract better quality contractors.

"United Development Company (UDC), the master-developer of the Pearl Qatar, has expanded its list of contractors, meaning we can now bid outside of Qatar," said Al Ghunaim.

"Keeping the tender process open helps to reduce price, which is good for us, because when we sourced contractors for the first phase there was a lot of price exaggeration, whereas now it is much more controlled."

Al Ghunaim added that new Qatari labour laws and increased space for raw materials at the port has also helped to attract contractors.

"We had to retender the first phase of the project twice, because we couldn't find specialised contractors with experience of constructing buildings of more than eight storeys, which caused a delay of about six months," said Al Ghunaim.

"This was also due to most of the construction activity being focussed on the Asian Games. But the situation has improved now that contractors can import more labour and the port is being redeveloped."

Phase one of First Qatar's project - Porto Arabia - is expected to be completed in October 2008. Qatar Arabian Construction Company is the main contractor, Projacs International is the project manager and EHAF is the project supervisor.

First Qatar was recently given the land for phase three of the project - Abraj Quartier - which is currently undergoing a redesign.

"The original designs were based on the local rather than international market, and even though the local market is keen on investing, the international market prefers smaller appartments, so we had to come up with something to accommodate this," said Al Ghunaim.

First Qatar has also bought plots of land in Oman and Kuwait, which could be used for mixed-use developments.

UDC's Pearl Qatar is a reclaimed island development that will be made up of ten themed districts. The development will be built over three phases.

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