The flagship Sudan Mushaireb project forms part of the $24.7bn global portfolio of Qatar Project Management (QPM). It is evidence of the project management company's keen intent to expand beyond Qatar and embrace opportunities in the wider MENA region. However, it states that there is sufficient scope of work in Qatar to keep it busy for the immediate future.
What has been QPM's involvement in the Middle East to date?
Qatar Project Management (QPM) was established in 2008, when the market was at its peak. It started strong; we also had to adjust our compass during the downturn. The idea of establishing QPM was due to the huge developments taking place, changing the face of Qatar, which represented a solid business opportunity and the need to establish a Qatari project management company, in particular, to oversee projects within Qatar and regionally. Our mission is to provide world-class project management services in a variety of sectors, including commercial real estate, residential, leisure, rail and infrastructure projects. Highlighting this methodology is our vision to situate QPM among the world's top five project management companies by 2020. At the moment we are managing a portfolio of over $24.7bn worldwide. QPM is active with 11 mega-projects locally and throughout MENA. Some of our projects sites are located in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Qatar.
Our initial focus was residential and mixed-use development, and now we are expanding to encompass infrastructure, for example. Our short-term strategy is to cover burgeoning regional sectors such as rail. Given the fact that the region itself is witnessing a shift in terms of the construction industry specifically and the economy generally, we are also focusing on the region. Our vision previously was to have a global reach, but we discovered that the region has enough work to keep us busy for the next ten to 15 years. Saudi Arabia has major contracts for infrastructure; Qatar will be extremely busy - the country is investing in infrastructure in particular - so we wanted to be aligned with the market trend.
And your own involvement with QPM?
I am now the Chief Operations Officer at QPM, bringing over 21 years' experience in the construction and development industries. Working in the client side has helped me understand how to meet or exceed client expectations. Working on mega-projects and township planning exceeding 14 million square metres, from a project delivery perspective, has refined my capabilities in strategy development. I am very much hands on, from setting high-level strategy through to project delivery.
What are QPM's main services?
QPM provides its clients with many services throughout the project lifecycle, including project management, design management and construction management. These services can be provided independently or concurrently at optimal points during a project's development, and will always adhere to the highest international standards and best practices. QPM is active domestically and throughout the MENA region, which is considered its primary market for the time being, but it is always looking to provide project management for local and international developments.
You have diverse global experience. How do these markets differ from the Middle East?
These are very developed markets in general; they started ahead of us. The business practice is more mature, I would say. When you come here, the potential is massive, only you need to align yourself to best practice. I am Western-educated but have a foot in two cultures. This helps me a lot in leading diverse teams and working in diverse environments.
I have been working in the region for the past 11 years. I have seen it change. I was here at the beginning of the boom, particularly in Dubai, and have covered the whole region, which I know very well. I know the culture and how to conduct business in terms of QPM's service offering.
How has the Arab Spring impacted on the region as a whole and Qatar's viability as a growth market?
I will begin by saying that QPM is a professional organisation without any political affiliations whatsoever. The Arab Spring has led to upheaval in a number of countries. There is no doubt that, in the northern part of the MENA region, there exists a level of anxiety among developers due to the political unrest. It is fair to say that some developers are exhibiting a ‘wait-and-see' philosophy, but this will pass in time. It is in our human nature to want to build, or rebuild what has been destroyed, and this will endure. QPM, of course, will always be available to offer its expertise when called upon.
Undoubtedly there has been turbulence, but I believe the fruits will come after. If you look at countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, these are now settling. With this, there is a good opportunity for our industry. Once these countries become organised and have systems in place, there will be lots of potential.
Qatar is a very good base from which to service the entire region in terms of its proximity and accessibility. I think Qatar is now going to be the construction hub of the region. With the 2022 World Cup, there is a demand for over 90,000 hotel rooms and the massive infrastructure to cope with this. There are massive opportunities here. Qatar will be booming for the next ten to 15 years. There are so many initiatives been undertaken, such as rail.
What have been some of QPM's major regional projects?
We are involved in a diverse range of projects from master plan developments to infrastructure works. A large percentage of our work pertains to real estate and civil infrastructure projects. However, our expertise is far-reaching and diverse. Our current project scope includes a growing spectrum of mega-projects underway in seven countries: Al Houara Coastal Resort in Morocco, Ibn Hani Bay Resort in Syria, Al Rayyan Hills in Yemen and the Waterfront project in Libya, as well as three projects in Egypt, namely the Nile Corniche in downtown Cairo, Barwa New Cairo and the Sharm El Sheikh Resort, among others.
The $580m Nile Corniche project in Cairo comprises a five-star St Regis Hotel. We have almost completed the Level 8 slab and have used 700,000m3 of concrete to date. Within Qatar, QPM is currently providing project management services for three key developments, namely Phase 1 of Barwa City, Barwa Commercial Avenue and Barwa Financial District.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Mushaireb development in Sudan?
This has just handed over the first of its apartment towers to the client. The Mushaireb development in Khartoum is hugely important to QPM. We are working well on it with Qatari Diar. Mushaireb represents a milestone for QPM in that it is an international project. For QPM to fulfill its vision of becoming a world-renowned operation, we must then seek further international business as a matter of course.
The size, scale and prestige of Mushaireb - a 200,000m2 landmark community in a premium waterfront location - are also important to QPM, as we like to be associated with the finest projects. Our involvement in the development is total, providing complete project management, design management and cost management services on an ongoing basis.