Happy New Year to all our readers worldwide and welcome to 2015’s first Project Qatar Industry Review newsletter. We at Qatar Construction Review very much look forward to the unfolding months ahead, as we still catch our breaths from the record breaking contract awards year that was 2014. Every milestone that was surpassed last year will more than likely be surpassed again this year – excessively. These are very interesting times for Qatar construction companies and those involved in the Qatar construction industry.
In recognition of this important phase of development in the industry as a whole and in terms of the moment in time, we are delighted to have been granted an interview by Mr. Rashid Nasser Sraiya Al Kaabi – Chairman of the AL SRAIYA Contracting. Their revered company has been at the forefront of contracting in Qatar for over 30 years.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone timely success in all project endeavors throughout the year. We hope that international contractors working alongside local construction companies will continue to bring excellent standards to the Qatari construction industry. Finally, we begin the countdown to Qatar’s standout construction trade show – Project Qatar 2015, offering a unique and unparalleled platform for local and international contracting companies to network, with special access to one of the construction industry leaders in Qatar…
First of all Mr Al Kaabi, thank you for permitting this interview – it is of course a great honour for us to be able to ask you some questions in our start of 2015 Special Edition of the Project Qatar Industry Review, especially in this pivotal historical moment of exciting times for the Qatar construction industry. The past 12 months have been a fantastic year for construction in Qatar and we are delighted to be able to get your thoughts.
1- Your company Al Srayia Contracting (ASC) has been at the forefront of the Qatari construction industry for almost 40 years. For those that might not be aware, what are the standout projects that define your company’s capabilities at this time? (National landmarks, towers etc.)?
The success of our group achieved today is a result of our ability to overcome challenges, thanks to God, this achievement attained and the best results at all levels, were based on principles led by improving the value of our work, which is the key to excellence, along with the clarity of vision, making the right choices, and getting our priorities right.
Of course, this is without forgetting the importance of selecting our work team, which is the cornerstone of implementing our goals, plans, and programs. In this regard, I would like to praise the great efforts of the colleagues working with us.
Regarding the projects implemented by the Group, they are diverse and include projects in the industrial and tourism sectors in addition to other economic activities.
2-What are the key strengths of ASC and what do you think has kept you ahead of your competitors and made you the preferred contractor of choice for so many projects?
The Group was founded in 1975 to meet the State of Qatar’s needs to develop its infrastructure, offering comprehensive and varied services for the construction industry. The Group then diversified its activities by forming separate sub-groups working independently in specialized areas. The Group thus found itself strongly capable of betting on its competitiveness.
The Group observes the traditions of corporate excellence in all its operations by focusing on performance and by exceeding customer expectations through innovation, efficiency, and reliability. The Group can cater to various needs, and thus provide a one-stop shop for many different requirements. In addition, we have joint projects with multinational companies in consulting, oil and gas, food processing, landscaping, and water management, which have consolidated the Group’s position as a major player in the Qatari economy.
After 2000, the Group diversified its operations further, entering new sectors such as exhibitions, contracting services, and hospitality and catering.
3-What projects is the Group currently working on and what phases of construction are they in?
We currently have a few ongoing projects such as:
Two healthcare centers in al Karaana and al Ghuwairiya
Three new schools
A residential tower
A hotel apartment building in al Sadd area
NDIA Duty Free Warehouse and Inflight Duty Free Store which are currently in maintenance stage, final handing over is on March 2015
Seero Fi Al Ardh Carousel, a Design and Build Project in Education City currently with Civil works on progress. Expected completion by August 2015
Emir’s Stable Fit Out Works in Education City with expected completion date by August 2015
MENA Office Building ECQ-B11 at Lusail is expected to be completed by May 2015. Currently, MEP and architectural works are ongoing
Muntazah Commercial and Residential Development (3B+G+7) is currently in excavation and shoring stage. Expected completion by August 2016
Some of these projects are in the final stages, such as the three new school & two healthcare centers. We hopefully expect them to be completed during the 1st quarter of this year.
4-Can you tell us about some of the other work you will be starting in 2015?
We expect to start the Energy City Qatar Parcel H01 which is in Final Contract signing stage. It has a construction period of 29 months.
There are also a few more projects expected to start this year which are awaiting clients’ award decision, namely:
CP7B – Lusail Plaza & Road A1, a design and build project
IDRIS Package 1 – Link Interceptor Sewers, a design and build project
Office Building at Qatar Science & Technology Park, construction only
Mega Water Reservoirs, construction only
5-Considering the Qatar construction industry as a whole in 2014 Mr. Rashid, what do you think were the most significant trends in during that year? Also, are you seeing anything new in the market?
I think that the trends in the industrial sector are signalling in the direction of a major boom expected in sectors related to the construction industry, depending on the magnitude of the projects approved, or those being studied with government agencies.
They have been estimated to be worth $150 billion in the coming few years. Here, I would like to say to investors in the sector: that investing in the industrial sector is not more dangerous than investing in the stock market, real estate, or other sectors. The aversion [to the construction sector] can be attributed to the mentality of investors, who prefer to invest in areas with a quick return and little effort. This is something the industrial sector does not provide being a long-term investment.
In addition, there are obstacles that limit the progress of this sector despite the great achievements and projects in the past years, despite the lack of industrial land, bureaucracy, and other obstacles. I would like to point out in this area that the industrial sector, according to objective studies, brings some of the highest returns in the long run, providing that investors are patient.
6- Many international contractors find opportunities in partnering with local companies; what advice can you give them to be successful in gaining joint ventures in terms of better understanding and working with Qatari companies?
I believe entering in partnerships and alliances for Qatari companies is an inevitability and a must, due to several factors, most notably the limited size of the local market. The private sector is required at a certain stage of its development, to make decisions to maintain the sustainability of the company, whether by acquiring new companies, investing directly, or entering into alliances, which would mean opening new markets and acquiring additional experiences and technology, and thus enhancing the private sector’s competitiveness.
I call for building effective partnerships and alliances based on parity with others, and having the norms in place in the Qatari market, to be beneficial for all sides.
7- Your company has participated in Project Qatar; what would be the objectives for you attending this leading event?
Project Qatar 2015 has helped in developing the specialized sectors it covers, giving thousands of visitors, buyers, and decision-makers from all around the world the opportunity to communicate with leading manufacturers and suppliers in the following sectors:
– Building materials and equipment,
– Industrial and Commercial Cleaning,
– Metal fabrication,
– Heating, ventilation and air conditioning,
– Aluminum manufacturing and processing,
– Glass technology,
– Glass Industries,
– Heavy equipment,
– Facilities Management,
– Masonry technology,
– Cement and building products,
– Mechanical, electrical, plumbing works
– Waste treatment and recycling.
Project Qatar is a unique opportunity for exhibitors and buyers to learn about the latest technologies and solutions, and explore possible future projects. It also brings together top buyers from Qatar and the Gulf States with leading suppliers from around the world.
As part of the steps that will improve the exhibition, we have developed the ‘Project Qatar series of business intelligence’. Because education is a priority for us, the “Project Qatar” team will organize more than six specialized conferences. The visitors will have the opportunity to enrich their knowledge and enhance their potential through a combination of seminars and short courses.
8- How important is Project Qatar for the construction industry as a whole?
– As an industry leader, why would you say companies should exhibit and why should people visit?
– And finally, how do you see the construction industry in Qatar going foreword?
The prospects for the building and construction industry in Qatar are very promising. As I mentioned, the coming few years will witness more and more achievements and investments in various areas.
The State of Qatar has an outstanding potential in the area of developing sports facilities, real estate, and infrastructure bearing in mind that the value of the local construction sector amounted to $32 billion with some projects expected to be worth more than $10 billion in 2014-2015.
The organizers also say that the value of interior design market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was between $1.36 and $1.47 billion in 2013, bearing in mind that it has grown by 13% in 2014, rising in value to $1.58 billion.
It is worth mentioning that the new port, airport, rail network, streets, highways, and entertainment complexes will contribute to the rapid growth of the interior design market, especially that Qatar plans to add 45,000 rooms to the hotel sector, which currently includes 20,000 rooms, to meet the minimum conditions of housing and accommodation set by FIFA to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Mr. Rashid, we thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions and give us your esteemed insights in the Middle East’s fastest growing construction industry.
The full versions of the January PQ IR can be viewed here.