Qatar: Mid-sized construction projects targeted

Many of Qatar's construction companies are focusing on more medium-sized projects as a shortage of tendered projects arises.

Qatar's construction companies are focusing on more medium-sized projects as a shortage of tendered projects arises.
Qatar's construction companies are focusing on more medium-sized projects as a shortage of tendered projects arises.

A number of Qatar’s largest construction companies are setting their sights on medium-sized projects.

This comes in light of many of the country’s large infrastructure projects already tendered for and industry players indicating that they expect future contracts to be mainly for medium-sized projects.

“The days of projects valued at QAR7bn-QAR10bn ($1.9bn-$2.7bn) are over. One of the main reasons larger projects are being conducted in phases is to keep the amount of work consistent, as the overall industry will not have as much work in the coming years,” Philippe Tavernier, CEO of local construction firm QDVC was quoted saying by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

OBG quoted top government authorities saying that all major tenders have been awarded for the $40bn, 200,000 inhabitants Lusail City north of Doha, with an estimated 80% of infrastructure work on the smart city already finished, according to media reports.

Due for completion by 2018, Lusail City is set to feature 19 distinctive districts offering a wide range of facilities, with work progressing quickly on the country’s planned rail networks, The Peninsula reported.

In an effort to manage the increase in imports caused by the construction pipeline, Qatar Primary Building Company (QPBC) – major building materials supplier through its Port of Mesaieed terminal – partnered up with Australian management and consultancy firm Aurecon last year.

Efficiency strategies developed by Aurecon via simulation modelling are expected to help improve the terminal’s annual throughput capacity from 16.6m tonnes currently to 30m tonnes.

It will also help reduce unloading times from 50 to 20 hours, OBG pointed out.

The Port of Hamad is also undergoing major expansion with the first phase of the project starting in early December.

The total container handling capacity is intended to be increased from 750,000 to two million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year. When all phases are complete, the port will have a capacity of six million TEUs a year, compriing a general cargo terminal, multi-use terminal, offshore supply base and centralised Customs area.

The equipment rental sub-sector is expected to profit in the coming years, off-setting the high cost of purchasing equipment, along with the entry of foreign companies to the market on a per-project basis.

The rental equipment market is projected to exceed $1.9bn by 2022, with cranes and earth-moving equipment viewed as the most likely to experience particularly strong demand.

Upcoming tenders that might feed into this segment include the Hamad International Airport expansion project which last month announced plans to increase capacity from 30 million passengers to 65 million per year by adding a new concourse to the existing terminal.

While dates for the tenders have yet to emerge, it is expected the expansion will be open to international contractors.

According to Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics data, in Q3 2016, Qatar’s construction industry grew by 12.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) and contributed 1.9% points to y-o-y non-hydrocarbon growth, while financial services contributed 0.9% points.

This expansion looks set to continue this year, with the total value of contracts awarded expected to climb approximately 40% to $26.6bn, according to the ‘Qatar Construction 2017’ report released by Project Qatar in January.

As of last month the Qatar Public Works Authority was working on projects worth $200bn. Of the value of contracts currently under way, buildings contracts account for 49% with infrastructure and energy works representing 33% and 18%, respectively.

$26bn of Qatar’s $54bn spending plan for 2017 was allocated to support the ongoing projects and the rollout of new ones. By comparison, $24.9bn was set aside for the same purpose in last year’s budget.

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