New Horizons

Gavin Rixon tells CWQ about the company's ambitions in Qatar

GTL International's managing director, Gavin Rixon
GTL International's managing director, Gavin Rixon

Who are GTL and why have you established yourselves in the Middle East?
GTL International is a foundation solutions company that specialise in helical pile technology. Our technology is endorsed and used by many leading international companies from an array of market sectors including oil and gas, highways, rail, and renewable energy. We believe we are pioneers in our field of expertise and encourage a visionary and innovative culture.

The establishment of GTL came from the success that we have had in the UK and other parts of the world where we have been involved with many high profile projects. The transition into the Middle East was simple with a realisation of the advantages that this technology brings to the region. In fact, we have quickly realised that the implementation of this technology within this region has more advantages compared with other parts of the world.

What is a helical pile?
A helical pile consists quite simply of a circular steel section on which bearing plates are strategically welded. The pile is then screwed into the ground to a pre-designed depth by using a rotary head attached to an excavator. This simple process can then be used immediately to support a variety of structures. The technology requires no excavation, no concrete and is known for its speed of installation. A single pile can be installed in under 30 minutes.

What are some of the challenges GTL International faces in Qatar?
The major challenge we face is no different from what we faced when we first started in the UK. Innovation is extremely important and we all love to talk about it, however, when it comes to implementing these alternatives there is hesitation.

Basically, GTL’s objective is to promote that change can be beneficial and that our product has a successful track record with many advantages. Establishing a presence in Qatar has been relatively simple as GTL have secured a working relationship with Swissboring Piling Corporation who are already established and have an extremely good reputation in Qatar.

How is the construction market developing in Qatar at the moment?
Qatar is a new market for GTL. With Qatar’s government investing heavily into what they describe as priority projects, GTL will endeavour to piggy back off these opportunities. Currently we are in discussions regarding a large highways project where we will be installing our piles along the highway to accommodate variable message signs, gantries etc. With the elimination of excavation and concrete this technology has reduced the current schedule by an estimated 60%.

Our product also compliments the increasing interest in green and sustainable building standards whereas the pile can be uninstalled and reused. Qatar’s successful bid to the host the FIFA World Cup will also provide opportunities for us much the same as the 2012 London Olympics did.

So have you won any notable new contracts?
We have just completed a design and build gas project in Abu Dhabi and are now undertaking a major gas development project in Iraq. We are, however, excited about recent discussions regarding the use of our technology on a highway project in Qatar, so maybe our challenges are not so great after all.

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