FROM LEFT. Rod Stewart, Managing Director of Atkins Qatar; Mohamed Sheikh Al Souk, Dyputy General Manager of Construction Development Contracting and Trading; Philippe Dessoy, General Manager of Six Construct; Steven Miller, Senior Vice-President of Shapoorji Pallonji, and Chris Blair, Executive Manager of Qatar Arabian Construction Company, during a panel discussion at the Qatar Contractors Forum 2013 at Crowne Plaza Doha yesterday. (Kammutty VP)
DOHA: With Qatar mainly depending on the neighbouring countries for its hugely projected volume of construction materials, the country needs to set up a coordination committee to regulate the market, a leading market player has said.
Talking to The Peninsula yesterday, Mohamad Charara (pictured), Managing Director, Atlantic Contracting, said: “The workload in the pipeline is really huge. An estimated 80 percent of primary construction materials to Qatar are coming from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Qatar needs to make sure the right material is reaching its project sites at right time and right price”.
Like Qatar, the constructions sector of Saudi Arabia and UAE are also booming, meaning the prices of the materials is also set to inflate in the coming months. Another risk is that the exporting countries are unlikely to sell their products outside before meeting the domestic demand. This will lead to huge supply chain problems, Charara said.
The prices of construction materials are already higher by 20 to 25 percent in Qatar compared to the neighbouring countries. Given the country’s projected demand, the prices are all likely to go up by 40 to 45 percent when the project works really pick up in Qatar.
“I am foreseeing a scenario when the local companies will be competing between themselves for buying the materials from Saudi Arabia and UAE, which will further drive the prices up. Only a strong intervention by the government will help regulate the market.”
Resource mobilisation, in terms of labour supply, is also a huge concern for the industry. We have visa problem and restrictions on the entry of workers from certain countries. The certain number of workforce coming from a particular country will not simply help Qatar meet its hugely projected labour demand.
“The salary package for middle-level professionals in construction sector is also not competitive in Qatar, compared to Dubai. Qatar will also have to look into this aspect to ensure the smooth delivery of projects. Now, in terms of the workers’ welfare, the whole world is watching Qatar. I am sure Qatar is capable of facing these challenges”, Charara said.
“The construction industry expects Qatar to sit down and come out with a concrete proposal to address the issues related to supply chain, resource mobilisaiton and logistics. You have to come out with a plan and it must be in place at least within a year. Enhancement of the capacity of delivery berths is another issue Qatar urgently needs to look into”, he said.