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Sat 6 Feb 2010 04:00 AM

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Delivering Doha

CW discovers the reasons behind the growing confidence in Doha’s construction sector.

Delivering Doha
New Doha international airport is a key project in Qatar’s development strategy.
Delivering Doha
Construction has just begun on Musheireb, previously the heart of Doha.

CW discovers the reasons behind the growing confidence in Doha’s construction sector.

Where is the current best place to construct a building in the Middle East? When asked by Construction Week in November 2009, many industry suppliers answered, Qatar.

And now, in 2010, this mind-set remains the same. Last week’s ConstructionWeekOnline spot poll revealed that, behind Abu Dhabi, Qatar is the spot people expect to make the most money this year.

Investors are showing growing confidence in the GCC, particularly Doha, where there is an opportunity to build new projects.

“Local companies are investing in Doha and Abu Dhabi,” says Simon Mrad, managing director of Wilo, a manufacturer and supplier of pumps and pump systems for heating, air-conditioning and cooling.

“Developers and contractors feel comfortable starting new projects in the area because new developments are progressing at a steady pace and are not accelerating too quickly,” So which projects are leading industry players to the conclusion that Doha’s construction sector has huge potential for growth?

Like many other GCC cities, infrastructure seems to be the key area for expansion. The under-construction $14 billion New Doha International Airport is still on schedule for 2011 and will cover over 22km outside the city.

Further, in November 2009 the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company announced the signing of a joint venture with passenger and logistics company Deutsche Bahn AB to create the Qatar Railways Development Company.

The organisation will unify all planned railways in Qatar including the Doha Metro.

This 85km rail network will include an east coast link, a high-speed link, a freight link and a light rail system. The entire project is due for completion in 2015.

Construction on the $3 billion metro is set to begin this year, although main construction contracts are yet to be signed.

Development of 40km causeway that would connect gas exporter Qatar to the Gulf island state of Bahrain is also set to commence in the first quarter of this year.

Contractors selected to carry out the project include France’s Vinci and Germany’s Hochtief AG. Completion is scheduled for 2015.

A number of projects in the residential and commercial sector are also showing signs of progression. Last month, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at DohaLand’s $5.5 billion Musheireb development, previously named The Heart of Doha.

“The project is a shining example of Qatar’s determination to innovate, not just for innovation’s sake, but with the end goal of improving quality of life and ensuring that heritage and culture carries on as the country grows and evolves,” says DohaLand vice chairman Abdullah Al Kubaisi.

The mixed-use development will contain 226 buildings and will be home to 27,637 residents. It will have a dedicated tramway, with a combination of commercial and residential properties, retail, cultural and entertainment areas.

The project will be completed in five phases, with the first phased due for completion by 2012 and the entire project is due to be completed by 2016.

In other recent news, French construction giant Bouygues won a $1.3 billion contract for construction in the Barwa Financial District project in November.

Barwa Financial District is developed by the
Barwa Real Estate

, the largest semi-public property group in Qatar.

The contract includes the construction of nine 18- to 52-storey office towers, a five star hotel, a shopping centre, a mosque as well as parking facilities and utilities.

Construction time for the project will be around three and a half years.

“This fast track project will involve 6000 people at peak times and considerable plant resources, notably 17 tower cranes,” says a statement from Bouygues.

“The work will also take place in a particularly challenging environment due to the cramped site.”

Bouygues will carry out the works in collaboration with two Qatari companies – Midmac Contracting Company and Al Jaber Engineering.

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