Structurally Sound

Alan Gooch and Chris Hill talk about the company's operations

Structural's business development manager for the Middle East, Alan Gooch.
Structural's business development manager for the Middle East, Alan Gooch.

Structural’s business development manager for the Middle East, Alan Gooch (left) and division manager, Chris Hill (below), talk about the company’s operations

How has business been over the last 12 months for Structural?
Business has been picking up for Structural in Qatar over the last 12 months. We have started to put a stronger focus on the Qatari market, which has led to a number of projects – the largest being the form and pump enlargements to the piers on Al Jaidah Bridge.

Tell us a bit about some of the projects you’ve been working on and what you’ve provided?
We’ve worked on a number of projects in Qatar including fire repair scope, form and pump concrete section enlargements, installation of PTFE bearing plates to repair a pinned slab, post-tension bar installation for eccentrically loaded columns, and carbon fiber reinforced polymer sheet (CFRP) strengthening.

Given the nature of our work on remediation projects, most clients request confidentiality and this has become a part of our culture, but we have already built a portfolio in the commercial, industrial, healthcare and infrastructure sectors.

In terms of future opportunities, what are some of the goals for Structural in Qatar?
Structural’s business in the Middle East has been growing steadily to the point where the establishment of a new entity in Doha is the next and most logical step forward in our expansion plans for the region.

We are relocating some key staff from our operations in the UAE to help grow our potential contributions to the projects in Qatar. Based on our recent exposure, there is a high demand for a quality repair and strengthening contractor able to assist the engineer, contractor, and client in designing, supplying and installing an end-to-end complete solution representing the best available option for the project.

What are some of the challenges of working in the Qatar market?
The major challenge is educating the client base in the means and methods of strengthening. CFRP tends to attract attention as a very impressive product, but many people who develop documents for tender don’t use the proper basis of design.

The material and technology is a great fix for applications where it works, but the biggest challenge is getting our engineering team working early in the strengthening development stage to assist with the design of the works There is a great code existing for CFRP [ACI 440], but it is not yet widely owned, understood, or utilised by the market. Getting the right repairs and details into the projects that need it will be our biggest challenge in Qatar.

How is Structural different from some of the other strengthening firms in Qatar?
Structural is different to most strengthening firms because we complete the full scope of works in-house.

For CFRP jobs, the repair or strengthening detail is designed by our own team of engineers, the material is typically our proprietary system [V-Wrap], and the installation is completed by a team of our own trained technicians. On concrete section enlargement projects, we also utilise form and pump technology which casts the enlargements inside a pressurised shutter.

This placement technology has been developed over time and allows for the repair material to maintain intimate contact with the existing substrate and cure with the entire element acting monolithically.

To attempt an enlargement using other techniques opens up potential issues found in normal concreting such as voids, honeycombs, segregation, lack of intimate contact with the host concrete. Form and pump has been proven to eliminate all the risks which come with placing concrete in an enclosed form.

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