Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Salwa Road project

Firm accuses Ashghal of not clearing project dues

Latest Update: Wednesday12/8/2009August, 2009, 12:22 AM Doha Time

Firm accuses Ashghal of not clearing project dues
By Sarmad QaziA contractor to Public Works Authority (Ashghal) Salwa Road project has accused the authority of stopping payments to the tune of millions of riyals even after issuing the certificate of completion. Malaysia-based UEM, the major contractor for the 81km project, work on which started in 2003, said it was in a precarious situation as non-payment of dues by Ashghal meant that it was unable to pay its own sub-contractors for months.The four-lane (on each side) Salwa International Highway, which was completed in December, 2008, includes 15 intersections with facilities for emergency parking and service lanes. “We were issued a certificate of completion of work by Ashghal in January 2009, after we completed the work in December 2008. Despite this, the authority has not released hundreds of millions of riyals to us in payments. Ashghal has in fact filed a court case,” an official said on condition of anonymity. Ashghal filed a lawsuit seeking damages, reportedly about QR878.3mn, against design consulting engineer Parson International Ltd, UEM and Qatar Insurance Company over the project. “UEM has been named the second defendant in the case, even though we simply carried out work as per the design. The legal recourse is essentially against the design consultant, yet our assets were frozen,” the official said. According to sources close to the project, at least 55km (in separate stretches) of the southbound part of the highway developed rutting soon after work was finished in 2006, leading to friction between Ashghal and UEM.The contractor maintained that there was a design discrepancy and it was just carrying out the design given to it by the design consultant. “Basically you had a four-lane highway, where you wanted to keep the last two lanes with just some new coating. This caused damages and the folly in the idea was exposed,” the source said. The damage only occurred to the lane 3 and lane 4 which was filled with rocks and covered by new asphalt, as opposed to the complete building of lane 1 and lane 2. Ostensibly, fearing delays Ashghal renegotiated the remaining project, as well as fixing of the bad stretch with UEM who maintains it resumed work “in good faith and to move forward”.“When the client calls you and tells you lets move forward from here after renegotiating, you continue work in good faith. But soon after you finish the project, you are told that you are being sued for the previous dispute. And that too a dispute not directly caused by us. That’s bizarre,” the source said.Ashghal’s own March 2007 newsletter (Volume 6, page 3) article on the project notes: “The beautification works on the highway, which was started in 2001, turned out to be a failure – a matter that needed urgent interference. An international company responsible for designing the highway undertook the project. However, the designing was not properly reviewed by the concerned authority of that period. After winning tender, the Malaysian company started executing the contract in 2003. For the next nine months, the project did not record any considerable progress. During the rainfall last December, some gutters and pits appeared on all the three lanes of the road along 55km proceeding from Doha towards Abu Samra (the border).“…the Ashghal committee report has clearly pointed out the faults and problems in the design of the project. The consultant has designed the project based on measurements beyond the standards and specifications of Qatar,” the article added. Efforts to solicit a response from Ashghal were unsuccessful.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Dispute halts February 22 road project

Dispute halts February 22 road project Web posted at: 8/7/2009 2:25:15Source ::: THE PENINSULA
February 22 road project which is part of the new Doha Expressway venture.

DOHA: A financial dispute between the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and a German contracting company has led to the halt in the ongoing February 22 road project which is part of the new Doha Expressway venture.
According to Al Sharq, the German company (Bilfinger Berger) left the work midway in March this year claiming QR600m from Ashghal.

The stretch of road involved in the dispute is between the Immigration roundabout and Al Assiri near the Midmac flyover on the D-Ring Road. Ironically, the road work was abandoned after 80 percent of it was already over.
The daily said that due to halt in the road work, the German contractors have laid off at least 1,000 workers and are left only with another 1,000. “They had a total of 2,000 workers.”

The company has also not paid dues to its sub-contractors and suppliers and owe them something like QR47m in arrears. Ashghal said earlier it owed only QR350m to the German company and later reduced this amount to QR200m, triggering a dispute. According to the daily, there does not seem to be an end to the dispute so the chances of the road work resuming are remote as of now.