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CWQ 2015 Leaders summit hailed as a success

Construction Week Qatar's Leaders in Construction Summit was once again filled to capacity as industry leaders gathered to share knowledge and network

Once again the Qatari construction industry gathered to share knowledge.
Once again the Qatari construction industry gathered to share knowledge.

With the venue crammed to overflowing, CWQ Leaders in Construction Summit was the perfect forum in which to share insights across the construction sector.

Before 170 delegates, the opening address was given by Ali Al Khalifa, CEO, Astad Project Management who drew attention to the challenges that the country faces by combining traditional values with modern, carbon-based and knowledge methodologies, in an effort to move forward in realising the 2030 National Vision.

He called on leaders to share knowledge and information and “move to towards global leadership. This is the long term vision of all the Gulf nations. Not just Qatar.”

He continued: “Hosting the FIFA WC poses its own challenges and opportunities. These include meeting tight deadlines, environment challenges and combining a number of different cultures within a small country, along with ongoing safety concerns and considerations on construction sites.”

Al Khalifa emphasised the importance of developing a ‘home grown’ solution, not just importing solutions to manage the challenges around developing complex projects.

He explained that the country is looking for balance, from focusing on healthcare, art, culture, sport and hospitality – and is looking to develop balance by combining local conditions and local knowledge with the people who understand the local environment and traditional values.

He also said that the Economic Zone is important to develop the country and encourage smaller business.

Al Khalifa mentioned the numerous important projects, both completed and underway, from Hamad International Airport that “put Qatar on the world map”, to the first phase opening of the new Hamad Port, the progress of the rail systems and the ongoing growth of the Lusail City project – all vitally important to connecting residents and uplifting lifestyles in attaining the 2030 vision’s goals.

“We are not here to challenge and consider each other as competition. We are all in the same team to grow the economy,” he added.

In his speech, Othman Zazour, Qatar 2022 Bid Committee, said that leadership is an “attitude across the sections, leadership has the courage to do the right thing. Leadership is leaving a legacy.” He stressed that by hosting the World Cup it will uplift the reputation of the country. He took the delegates through the technicalities of bidding for the World Cup and the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) involvement across multiple aspects of the infrastructure development projects and the country in general and the SC's role within Qatar.

The various panel discussions evoked involved interaction and consistently brought to the fore were the challenges around materials supply and potential bottle-necking of roll-out as the projects ramped up.

Standardisation across the sector once again came under the spotlight with calls to create a unified approach to ensuring quality and consistency.

With so many projects underway in Qatar, it is predicted that construction inflation could peak at 18% per annum over the next decade. This would add billions of dollars to the cost of building Qatar’s future so the potential for inflation is a very real spectre.

Once again material bottle necks and attracting and keeping talent were addressed and the necessity to import materials.

Robert Holtkamp, chief executive officer, National Aluminum Products Co observed that many external factors impacted on the sector, "but we learn must be cautious”, adding that Qatar was “Obligated to get people from outside for the supply chain. The whole supply chain is at risk… at the end of the day the client is impacted”.

He also pointed out that “projects have to grow, they have no choice, but the supply chain must be more efficient as time is passing… and the oil price is effecting supply chains in other countries”.

Generally, the atmosphere was one of expectancy and confidence and it was heartening to see the interaction between the delegates and panel. Overall, the event was hailed as a resounding success.

The list of speakers and panel members included a gathering of some of the top members of the industry:

• Ali Al Khalifa, CEO, Astad Project Management
• Othman Zarzour, Assistant Executive Director- Technical Delivery, Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy
• Barry Clarke, General Manager- Qatar, Mace Macro International
• Martin Hay, Head of Design Management, EC Harris/ Arcadis
• Ronan Clifford, Operations Director- Infrastructure Projects, Atkins
• Stephen Irvine, Executive Director-PM Services, KEO-PMCM International
• Tim Verdon, Project Director- New Port Project, Aecom
• Paulo Silva, Business Director of Structures, Hyder Consulting/ Arcadis
• Rupert Booth, Chief Economist, Faithful + Gould
• Suzannah Newboult, Legal Director, DLA Piper
• Edi Chamie, Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers
• Darrell Bergesen, General Manager, Alec Qatar
• Dr. Neil Kirkpatrick, Head of Sustainability, Faithful+Gould Middle East
• Dr. Regard Yakou, Senior Vice President, Hill International
• Michael Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Daruna Development
• Grahame McCaig, General Manager, Gulf Contracting Co.
• Peter Blackmore, Partner, Pinsent Masons
• Robert Holtkamp, Chief Executive Officer, National Aluminum Products Co.
• Rony Mourani, General Manager, Mall of Qatar
• Dr. Shridhar Devidas, Senior Safety Engineer, Astad Project Management

We thank everyone who made it a success and once again thank you to our sponsors for their ongoing commitment to CWQ and the industry: HYDER, TADMUR HOLDING, NORA, GAJ, PINSENT MASONS, HILL INTERNATIONAL, INNOVATIONS UNLIMITED, NAPCO and PRIME POWER. Without you, this event would not be possible. Thank you!

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