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A good sport

Mark Cooke discusses Mosanada UGL's work on Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar

Mark Cooke
Mark Cooke

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In 2007, UGL was appointed facilities manager for Aspire Zone Sports City, located in the Al Waab district of Doha, Qatar, which successfully hosted the 2006 Asian Games.

The sports city includes the 50,000-seater Khalifa Stadium, a multi-purpose sports hall, the Aspire Sports Academy, the Aspetar Orthopaedic Sports Hospital, the Hamad Aquatic Centre, among many more buildings.

The firm has been active in Qatar for five-and-a-half years. At the 2011 Aspire4Sports event, the organisation signed a joint venture shareholder agreement with Mosanada, and formally announced the start of its operations at the 2012 event, which took place in November 12-15, 2012. Mosanada UGL will continue to work with Aspire Qatar Investments and also the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC).

“This Aspire4Sport, we would effectively want to launch the business to let the wider market know that it’s up and running. Our focus is two-fold: the primary drive is satisfying the internal stakeholder’s FM requirements.

What that means is renewing the Aspire contract and continuing to provide FM services to Aspire Logistics. The other part is taking on the QOC portfolio,” says Mark Cooke, regional head of operations for Mosanada UGL.

“When you look at both projects from an FM perspective they are mega-projects. The second string to the bow is to take Mosanada UGL to the market and compete for FM contracts.” Cooke explains the firm’s focus will be on large-scale projects even beyond sports FM.

Aspire currently hosts everything from minor games to major international events. “So what does that mean for Mosanada UGL? We have to have the flexibility to adapt because no one week is the same. We could be hosting an international football match one week to the world indoor gymnastics the following.”

In October 2012, the organisation completed 7.5 million hours without Lost Time Injury. Cooke says the firm is proud of its achievement. “That is a milestone for a site of this size with such a significant number of contractors on-site.”

Cooke explains that safety is an ethos for the firm, where the security of anybody on-site, whether employees, contractors or visitors, is paramount.

“We have systems called UTrack and USafe; they are frameworks we apply at Aspire Zone, and are over and above any sort of legislative requirement. We could effectively use these in any Western country and it would be compliant.
That’s a unique service offering, and I tell clients we’re proud of it. Whilst we’re not cheap, you get what you pay for,” adds Cooke.

He is proud of Aspire, and says it is a unique set-up because of its diverse selection of facilities. “We have got everything here — from an internationally FIFA-accredited hospital to the world’s largest indoor arena, to the football stadium to a manufacturing plant in the form of Aspire’s printing press. All of them have their own individual requirements.”

Mosanada UGL’s contract is of a managing agent nature. Contracts are placed directly between Aspire Logistics and service providers, whether it’s for MEP or security or anything else, but are then managed by Mosanada UGL on-site on Aspire’s behalf.

“My team will supervise all of the maintenance that takes place. So whilst I’ve got a team of 200, on any given day we can have between 600-700 contractors on-site. We ensure the services they carry out meet Aspire’s requirements,” says Cooke.

Cooke thinks Mosanada UGL has an edge over other firms when it comes to the World Cup, even while he points out that the QOC is a separate entity from the Supreme Committee for 2022.

“Given we currently manage Aspire and once the QOC aspect gets up and running, we are probably the leading sports FM business in Qatar. The association with QOC will hopefully give us leverage for a lot of the stuff that’s going on with 2022.

We would hope it would make a lot of sense to use Mosanada UGL [for World Cup 2022] because we’re currently doing [Aspire] and have been for some years. We have got the track record, the experience, and we understand how you manage sports facilities,” he says.

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