SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

Qatar 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Eng. Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, President of the Public Works Authority (ASHGHAL), on infrastructure programs, healthcare, and education.

What has been Ashghal's role in developing Qatari infrastructure?

Over the last 15 years, Ashghal has continued to enhance the development of efficient and sustainable infrastructure for Qatar. Ashghal's undertakings include a wide range of infrastructure programs being implemented across the country, which will deliver some of the largest expressways and integrated infrastructure projects providing new, free-flowing roads linking ports and logistical locations. The infrastructural benefits are already becoming visible through the completion and opening of some major expressway projects in recent years. These projects include Al Majd Road, a major contributor to the country's land transport and the current boom in internal and external trade, Lusail Expressway, with its iconic, award-winning arches 5/6, and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor, which was launched earlier in 2019 and is currently underway. Our local areas infrastructure program continues to maintain the road and drainage network across Qatar through the development of infrastructure to serve residential areas. Thus far in 2019, Ashghal has completed over 125km of roads and awarded projects in several areas in Qatar, at a total value of QAR3.2 billion (USD878 million), to serve 3,090 land plots. In addition to upgrading and developing drainage network in various areas, Ashghal is focusing on the operation and maintenance of the country's road and drainage network, while ensuring the delivery of quality services in managing these assets. Furthermore, we are working with the relevant authorities to deliver essential public building projects within the healthcare and education sectors.

What opportunities do you offer to the private sector?

Ashghal is continuously tendering new projects for local and international companies to participate in. In 2019, Ashghal plans 55 new projects worth QAR18.8 billion (USD5.16 billion), which represents an opportunity for local and international investors and companies. In addition, Ashghal participates annually in exhibitions and conferences aiming to highlight its current and future projects and attract foreign companies to participate in them. In addition, we organize roadshows to brief interested and experienced local and international companies on related projects and their components. To encourage participation of local firms, in collaboration with Qatar Development Bank, we launched the Ta'heel initiative to rehabilitate and accredit existing national factories, allow Qatari manufacturers to help implement Ashghal's engineering and construction programs, and include national companies in our approved supply chain. Ashghal had successfully qualified 107 Qatari suppliers and approved 152 items to be used in infrastructure projects in various sectors by March 2019.

What is the relevance of new technologies and innovation in terms of developing state-of-the-art infrastructure in the country?

Through all our programs, projects, and services, Ashghal aims to promote best practices, encourage innovation, and adopt new technologies, focus on environment and sustainability, with utmost emphasis on health and safety performance to improve the sector and create a knowledge legacy that can be utilized and developed over the long term. Among ongoing initiatives, Ashghal is implementing building information modelling (BIM), a collaborative method for the design, construction, and operation of assets using 3D models and tools. Ashghal is pioneering the lean construction initiative at a large scale in Qatar, which brings more value for the customer and contractors. It also improves our project delivery performance. For sustainability, we promote crumb rubber recycling, using it as a modifier into asphalt concrete mixes for use in road construction projects. Recycled construction materials, such as asphalt waste, demolition waste, and iron slag, are also used for road projects to reduce the import rates of gravel and bitumen and the cost of projects. Ashghal uses approximately 60 million tons of demolition waste in its road projects.