Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ashghal inks contracts worth QR1bn
Web posted at: 10/20/2009 1:28:52
Source ::: The Peninsula
Acting General Manager of Ashghal Nasser Ali Al Mawlawi and Business Development Manager of Aljaber Engineering Chan Chung-Yan shakes hands after the signing ceremony held at the Ashghal headquarters yesterday. Salim Matramkot

DOHA: The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has signed a slew of major projects in roads, drainage, and building sectors. The QR1bn plus value projects include construction of a number of schools, construction of roads and development of drainage networks.

Nasser Ali Al Mawlawi, Acting General Manager, Ashghal, signed the contracts with the concerned companies at a function held at the Authority’s headquarters yesterday. One of the key projects, include the development and modernisation of road infrastructure in Madinat Khalifa (South).

The work include reconstruction of roads with new asphalt and curbstones, interlocking tiles for footpaths, parking lots, in addition to the implementation of the new network for the rain water drainage upgrading the old drainage network with disposal rooms, upgrading fresh water network with domestic links, as well as modernising the telephone lines, electricity network and new street lighting.

The QR178.5m project covers an area from Markhia Roundabout up to Emigration Roundabout, between Khalifa Street and Omar bin Khatab Street.

Ashghal signed a separate contract with QBS International for the development of internal roads of Madinat Khalifa (North) and Markhiya. The project envisages development of all internal infrastructures and upgrading the asphalt level, footpaths, interlock, landscaping and street lighting.

The contract with Marbo contracting company include the earthworks for peripheral roads at Barwa City-Phase-I. The project works include the clean up of the site and removal of all debris and waste material and its disposal in the treatment plant for hazardous substances at 40km away from the project site.

The works also include re-establishment of the existing hanagar construction on the actual borders of the proposed Barwa city. The proposed project also includes temporary protection to oil and gas pipelines owned by Qatar petroleum and the establishment of concrete walls adjacent to the proposed road platform.

Road development in Central Rayyan is another major contract that the Authority signed yesterday. The works consists of construction roads and intersections in the Zone of 35 of Al Rayyan Municipality. The work also include facilitating the work on the project taking into account the future works including traffic diversions and protecting existing services such as services of water, electricity, telephone and drainage.

Design and Construction of a 1200 Transmission Main to Al Rakhiya Farm from Doha West and Operation and maintenance of two Sewer Treatment Plants at Nuaija and Industrial area are the other two key projects.

Ashghal also signed contract for the construction of six different school complexes. The school building consists of two-story reinforced concrete construction comprising 25 classrooms to accommodate a total of 650 students. The building will have facilities of laboratory, indoor game halls, a theatre and external services including guardrooms, service rooms, sports arena, shaded car parking and compound wall around a total area of 10,000 square meters.

Web posted at: 10/20/2009
Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA: The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has revealed that discussions were progressing to resolve the disputes between Ashghal and the contracting companies which are involved in some of the prestigious projects of the Ashghal, the Authority has revealed.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, Nasser Ali Al Mawlawi, Acting General Manager, Ashghal said that the project works of 22 February Street, a major component of the multi-million riyal Doha Expressway, would be resumed by the end of this year.

The prestigious 22 February Interchange and Al Amir Street is a major infrastructure development projectundertaken by Ashghal as part of its efforts to modernise the infrastructure network of the State. This important part of Doha Expressway project is estimated at QR15bn. The 22 February and Amir Street project is a 6km stretch beginning from Emigration Interchange extending up to Al Asiri Underpass on D Ring road. The project estimated at QR1.28bn includes construction of four interchanges with one bridge and one of them with four levels with three-lane dual carriageways. The work also include construction of 5.5km service road along the major street.

The Joint Venture comprising Bilfinger Berger of Germany and Al Hamid of UAE undertakes the project. The project was halted following a financial dispute between Ashghal and the contracting company early this year. The company left the work in midway March this year. The tug of war between Ashghal and the contracting company had also affected the project work of Industrial Interchange. The project is again part of Doha Expressway. The project site in the west side entrance to Doha is interlinked with two busy routes, Salwa International Highway and Industrial area, and therefore people are eagerly waiting for the completion of ongoing project works on the route.

“The disputes between the contractors of some projects have almost resolved. The discussions regarding some other projects are fast progressing”, Al Mawlawi said. He said Ashghal is not discriminating local companies with foreign companies while awarding contract to major projects. There are a good number of local companies which are involved in some of our prestigious projects.

On the delay in the completion of schools projects, Al Mawlawi said the recession and the dispute between Ashghal and a section of contracting companies have contributed to delay in project works. “However, we are confident of completing the school projects well ahead of the next academic year,” he said.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Expert calls for review of Construction Laws

Monday 19/10/2009 October, 2009,

By Sarmad Qazi

Unnecessary appointment of “experts” is bogging down the flow of court rulings and delaying the cases being heard in Qatar courts, a legal expert has said.

Ala’a Hamad, managing director of Arab Law Bureau, said the practice is particularly irksome in construction-related cases where the role of experts should be rectified.

Speaking at a Society of Construction Law – Gulf (SCL) event in Doha, Hamad, whose presentation focused on ‘Dispute Resolution and the Qatar Courts’, said: “With the size and complexity of projects (construction) going on in Qatar, we wouldn’t expect a judge to become an expert in matters related to construction.”

In such cases, according to Hamad, experts are appointed with the role of assisting a judge by providing the court a clear picture after checking through technical details and information.

“But in Qatar, too many experts are being asked to actually determine which party is liable in a court case. And that is actually a very valid ground for lawyers for an appeal,” Hamad added.

The Arab Law Bureau’s practice includes construction contracts, banking and project finance, setting up of businesses in Qatar, joint ventures, international contracts and litigation and insurance.

“An expert is an expert and not a judge. There is an inherent defect in the laws that would need to be immediately addressed,” Hamad suggested.
Giving an overview of the laws of the country, Hamad said Qatar has a civil law largely based on Egyptian laws which in turn were influenced by French laws.

Civil law means, laws are generally based on the principle and judgements issued by courts from time to time and are not binding on future rulings.
Shariah does not play a major part in construction claims and is confined to addressing such matters as inheritance disputes among others.

“Prior to 2004, we only had a ministerial decision pursuant to the old building law and it was very limited. After 2004, we have a lot of sections on construction,” Hamad explained.

According to him, when a claim is filed by contractors (in some cases government agencies against contractors), an expert is asked to file a report before the court on what he has seen at the site. There could be more than one expert depending on the size and complexity of the project.

“In one instance, we filed a case against a company claiming QR1mn but the other company said it was only QR800,000 and after re-checking our client agreed to the amount. But in the meantime the judge had already appointed an expert. That slowed down the case, and eventually delayed a decision,” he recalled.

The meeting was chaired by Jennifer Westall (senior associate at Eversheds LLP and member of the SCL committee).

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Expert Proposes Dispute Board for Building Industry

GULF TIMES Saturday 17/10/2009 October, 2009

By Sarmad Qazi

An expert has called for all the construction contracts in the country to include provision for a ‘dispute board’ if contractors want ‘happy endings’ to their projects.
Speaking at a Society of Construction Law – Gulf (SCL), Wayne Clark, the contract co-ordinator for a leading global contractor (Bilfinger Berger) which has multi-million dollar contracts in Qatar, said that the success rate of dispute board is a significant 99%.

“If we desire happy endings to our projects then we should all call for dispute boards in our contracts,” Clark said.

“Used efficiently, the dispute boards are also advantageous in lowering expensive litigation, and arbitration. They also take less time when compared to litigation,” he added.

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) puts the success rate of its dispute boards at 99%.

Explaining the mechanism of the boards, Clark said first contractors should ensure to know the dispute clause at the tender stage and in the absence of a suggestion of a dispute board should request for one.

“They are usually made up of three members, rarely only one. The selection process includes each party (contractor, client) nominating one person both of who go on to nominate a board chair.”

The dispute board members should hold regular site visits for more interaction which allows identification of potential differences at a very early stage.
“In case of a dispute between the parties, the board uses multi-layered steps including holding joint meetings with all parties, followed by private meetings. There is also a ‘cooling off period’ where parties are obliged to at least make earnest attempt to an amicable settlement,” the expert noted.

“Throughout the mediation effort, the boards should encourage communication and ensure a relaxed atmosphere where common sense can prevail,” he added.

In case of a dispute board is unsuccessful in resolving a dispute, the matter is then taken to the local courts by the aggrieved parties.
Narrating the story of an international contractor which had a major infrastructure project in Doha up until 2009, but one that was eventually terminated towards the end by the client, Clark said there was no dispute board mechanism in the contract.

“Quite late in the process real differences arose. These differences then led to an untimely and premature end to the contract while damaging the relationship the contractor had with sub-contractors and all parties.”

“Had we had the dispute board mechanism the barriers erected by differences would never have been created or if they did could have been torn down,” Clark added.

SCL-Gulf aims to promote the study and understanding of construction law amongst all those involved in the construction industry in the UAE and Gulf region.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Major Projects Delay in QATAR

German firm bags contract for Expressway
GULF TIMES Sunday 5/2/2006 February, 2006,

Staff Reporter

Ashghal, the Public Works Authority, has signed a contract withBilfinger Berger, a prominent German contracting company, and Al-Hamed Development and Construction Company from the UAE.

The QR998mn project pertains to improving the 22nd February and the Emir Streets, Ashghal officials said.

The project is part of Doha Expressway, which will link the north with other parts of the country. The expressway will be implemented in nine independent phases in accordance with Ashghal’s five-year plan, due to be completed by April 2009, the officials explained.

The project will consist of four main junctions including Omar Bin Al Khattab and Al Rayyan interchanges. This will also involve a flyover with four-level routes, officials said.

Alternative diversion routes will be in place for easy traffic flow during the construction of the project, the officials stressed.

Bilfinger Berger is a renowned international contracting companiy, which takes up massive projects for private and public sectors

Ashghal Awards Major Road Contracts Croatian firm wins a QR627mn deal
GULF TIMES Wednesday 19/7/2006 July, 2006

Staff Reporter
A QR627.65mn agreement was formally signed yesterday between a Croatian firm and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for the construction of a major inter-change as part of the QR8bn Doha Expressway project. The project connects north of Doha with the south and the east with the west. Officials of the Konstructor Inzenjering d.d. Split Company and Ashghal exchanged documents at a function held at the Ashghal head office in the presence of Croatian Minister for Infrastructure Wajidar Kalmitam and assistant minister Tomek Rafika.

Speaking at the function, al-Khayareen said the Croatian firm was awarded the contract after a global tender where there were many bidders. He expressed the hope that with their better and superior expertise in the construction of such major works, the contractors would be able to deliver the ambitious project on schedule.

Drago Jozouk, Konstructor Inzenjering company manager (Middle East), Ashghal officials assistant managing director for technical affairs Ahmed Sultan al-Kuwari, acting assistant managing director (accounts and finance) Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor al-Thani, acting director of roads affairs Anas Ismail al-Keilani and acting manager (finance department) Saif al-Kaabi attended the signing ceremony.

The proposed interchange is to be built at the north-east corner of the Industrial Area, at the inter-section of the Salwa Road with Al Forousiyah Street. Besides building the four-level interchange, a 1km underpass having a three-lane dual carriage way, a roundabout with three lanes on the level of the existing Salwa Road, an east-west bridge and a bridge linking the road with East Industrial Street are other features of the project, which is to be completed in 26 months (October 2008), starting in September 2006.

The Expressway project will be executed in phases through nine independent projects within Ashghal’s five-year plan ending in 2009-10. Ashghal signed in January this year a contract worth QR998.80mn with a conglomerate of Al Hamed Development and Construction of the UAE and Bilfinger Berger AG of Germany for the construction of 22 February Intersection and Emiri Street, as part of the Doha Expressway (Phases 1 and 2).

Meanwhile, the Croatian minister told journalists that his country was exploring ways to win more contracts in the region in view of the ongoing massive construction boom in the GCC states, notably in UAE and Qatar. He said the successful completion of the Doha project would help firms from his country earn a good reputation in the region.

Zidric and Jozouk told Gulf Times the Doha project was a major challenge to their firm and expressed the hope that they would be able to live up to the expectations in Qatar and complete the project on schedule.

Ashghal Awards its Biggest Contract
GULF TIMES Tuesday 10/7/2007 July, 2007

Staff Reporter

THE Public Works Authority (Ashghal) yesterday awarded its biggest contract, North Road (phases 2 & 3), worth QR2.181bn, to

Tekfen Constructions Companyof Turkey.

The deal for the 94km of the major thoroughfare was signed by Zayed Mansoor al-Khayarin, managing director and board member of Ashghal, and Umit Ozdemir, chairman of the Turkish company.

The second phase stretches for 33km, from the Duhail Interchange to Al-Khor with a 5km dual, three-lane extension to Simeisma. The third phase runs from Al-Khor to Ruwais, at the northern tip of the peninsula.

The first phase, a 4.5km highway from Immigration Interchange to North Bridge, is nearing completion.

The second phase includes construction of a four-lane dual carriagewaywith service roads and nine multi-level interchanges and two weighbridges.

It also includes development of infrastructure network and landscaping. Upgrading Simeisma Interchange is also part of the Phase 2 works.

The third phase runs for 61km from Al-Khor to Ruwais, and includes construction of four-lane dual carriageway with service roads on both sides. This section will have 11 multi-level interchanges, five camel crossing underpasses, fence to keep away animals and two weighbridges. Infrastructure network and landscaping is also included in this project.

The work formally begins on September 1 and runs for 30 months to endon March 1, 2010.

“But, we already started the work a couple of months ago and hope to finish it earlier than the scheduled date,” said Ozdemir.

Giving details of the project, officials said the entire project would have nine dual carriageway bridges, 11 single carriageway bridges, two tunnels (one dual carriageway and the other single), and construction of stabilising earth retaining walls.

Besides 94km of expressway, the project also includes construction of 13.7km of dual, two-lane crossing roads, and about 48km of single carriageway, two-lane roads.

The Turkish company also would have to demolish the existing Northern Relief/Simeisma bridge and build connections with the surrounding road network and services.

The company is also responsible for maintenance of traffic and detours, relocation, realignment and diversion of existing utilities and telecommunication works. It also has to provide street lighting columns and high masts, landscaping and irrigation, ducting for intelligent transport systems and traffic signages and traffic markings. Drainage works are also included.

The assistant managing director for technical affairs at Ashghal, Ahmed Sultan al-Kuwari, said double-lane diversion routes would be provided with “minimum inconvenience” to motorists.

The signing ceremony, held at Sharq Village and Spa, was attended by Turkish Ambassador Mithat Rende, Ashghal’s acting manager of roads affairs Anas al-Kilani, Tekfen’s vice chairman Ayhan Sariyoglu, vice president Osman Brigili and country representative Alkas Bekisoglu.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Construction costs fall steeply

Web posted at: 10/8/2009 7:8:53

DOHA: Construction costs have come down almost 25 to 40 percent since early last year when the industry was booming.

Reliable sources in the building industry say the cost of construction being quoted in tenders has now slid to around QR4,000 per square meters for high quality construction.
The rates until late last year — before the onset of the global recession hit the real estate sector — were between QR5,000 and QR6,000 per square meters for high-quality building projects.

The rates apply to both government and private projects. As for projects that do not focus so much on quality, the rates could be much lower, say sources.

“AS we know, there has been a slowdown in the industry as compared to last year and it is clearly reflected in the rates contractors have now been quoting in bids for private as well as state projects,” said a source in the building industry.

At least 60 percent of a project’s costs go towards buying building materials, while the remaining 40 percent is spent on hiring labour, among other things. It also includes the contractor’s margins.

The sector has now begun showing some recovery. The demolitions being carried out in some areas of Doha (a reference to Al Musherib area) might refuel construction boom as they would eventually pave the way for new constructions to begin, sources said.

“This (demolitions) is a way to bring buoyancy back to the building industry as new projects are launched on razed sites,” said a source.

Asked how the increased steel prices were going to affect the construction sector, he said the hike had not actually made much difference since the demand for basic building materials such as cement and steel remain much subdued as compared to last year during the peak of the boom.

“Since not many new projects are being launched now, the increased rates of steel, or even cement for that matter, do not mean much as the demand remains lower,” said another source.
According to him, people in the industry are, however, surprised by the steel price hike because of the demand being low. “I think the move has to do with the global trend. Steel prices have lately being going up in the international market, having plummeted late last year,” said the source.

But locally, the prices of steel might have been raised because of the removal of government subsidy.

The development (removal of subsidy) is a welcome sign because it at least signals that the local construction industry is limping back to normalcy with the worst phase being over.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Contractors can claim losses in government projects

Contractors can claim losses in government projects
Web posted at: 10/2/2009 1:48:51
Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA: Contracting companies handling state projects can now claim compensation for delayed payment or delays in project implementation due to modifications in design or any other technical reasons.

Similarly, contractors fined for delaying a project due to genuine reasons will now be able to request for leniency or a waiver.

Also, firms supplying materials to state agencies can make claims for compensation if they suffer losses due to sudden spurt in import costs or due to any other genuine reason.

A committee has been set up in the Ministry of Economy and Finance that would look into claims and compensation requests from contractors on the above or any other ground.

The move follows assurances given by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani at his interface with local businessmen at the Doha Sheraton recently, that such concerns of contractors would be looked into.

The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday ratified a Cabinet decision (No. 38 of 2009) ordering the setting up of the aforesaid panel at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Undersecretary at the Ministry in charge of financial affairs will head the committee, while one of the two Ministry officials to be nominated by the Minister to be on the panel, will be its vice-chairman.

The panel will have representatives from various ministries and state agencies, including the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning,Ministry of Justice and the State Audit Bureau.

These bodies will be free to nominate representatives of their choice and each of them will be paid a monthly honorarium of QR4,000. Membership tenure of the panel will be three years which would be renewable for a year or more.

There will also be provisions for altering an agreement with a contractor if a project is delayed for any reason.

The panel has been asked to put adequate regulations in place to organise its work, but is required to meet at least once every fortnight at the Finance Ministry premises. It has been entrusted with the authority to form technical sub-committees to ensure smooth functioning.

Cases already in court will not be entertained and those who do not accept the ruling of the committee will, however, be free to move the judiciary. Through another decision (No. 39 of 2009) ratified by the Emir yesterday, ministries and government agencies have been empowered to award project, purchase or service contracts of up to the maximum value of QR200,000 on their own. For such contracts, direct agreement with a party concerned can be signed by a government entity.

February 22 Road project to be ready by ’10-end

February 22 Road project to be ready by ’10-end
Web posted at: 10/4/2009 0:55:49
Source ::: The Peninsula
DOHA: The February 22 Road (D Ring Road linking Sudan roundabout to Al Shamal) project, which has been delayed, is likely to be completed by the end of next year as the work is being awarded to three new contractors, Al Sharq reported yesterday.

Legal action has been taken against the existing contractors and its outcome is being awaited after which new contracts will be awarded, the daily said.

This is cut from Bilfinger Berger homepage.

Legal dispute in Qatar / new earnings outlook
September 9, 2009
Bilfinger Berger: legal dispute in Qatar / new earnings outlook
Bilfinger Berger expects termination of the contract for a road construction project in Qatar. Despite interventions at the highest political level, the client is not willing to settle outstanding debts running into the triple digit million Euros.
For some time now the project has been suffering from significant disruptions and delays for which the client is responsible. For this reason, the construction period has more than doubled from the original 24 months. The client has already accepted responsibility for a 21- month extension of the construction period.
There is, however, substantial disagreement on the financial consequences, some of which are before the courts. The client is now attempting to avoid his financial obligations by terminating the contract.
Bilfinger Berger is expecting a lengthy legal dispute in the local courts, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with certainty. As a precaution, the Company will therefore make a provision in the amount of EUR80 million. This will lead to a burden on earnings in the third quarter.
The Company had previously expected an EBIT for the full-year 2009 in the amount of EUR250 million. This charge on earnings which can be partially offset by improvements in the Services segment will reduce the EBIT to an amount of EUR210 to EUR230 million.
In conformity with ad-hoc-announcement ”