MONJID ABDULMAJEED

Qatar 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

With its fingers in many pies, including hospitals, hotels, luxury apartment complexes, and theme parks, RC – Almana is looking forward to adding more projects to its annual roster in the coming years.

Monjid Abdulmajeed
BIOGRAPHY

Monjid Abdulmajeed has been the CEO of RC – Almana and a board member of Redco Construction Group of Companies since its establishment in 1998. He graduated with a bachelor's in civil engineering from University of Missouri in the US. He has since worked in leading and delivering prestigious projects in Qatar.

Would you provide a recap of RC – Almana's past 12 months?
The projects we have completed over 2019 include the Marriott Executive Apartments (Le Mirage City Walk) and the Dusit D2 Hotel. The Doha Oasis project is in its final stages and will be completed by early 2020. Meanwhile, the seven-star Banyan Tree Hotel is underway. The Doha Oasis owner has signed with Vox Cinema and Paramount as the theme park operator, in what will be the largest indoor theme park and highest indoor roller coaster in the world. We are currently building the Corniche Park Towers, which consists of three towers combining a hotel, residential apartments, and offices. We also have the Sofitel and Novotel projects and on DohaLive, a hotel and retail development complex awaiting the final stage design. We also began construction of the Lusail Commercial Boulevard project, a 1.3-km road with 18 buildings. This will be the 2022 FIFA World Cup Fan Zone for Lusail Stadium, so we have to finish it within 24 months. In terms of prospective projects, we are currently pricing around 20 tenders in the market and are focusing on getting more projects annually.

What is your assessment of the current health of Qatar's construction and real estate sector?
As contractors, we bid for all types of projects, including hotels, schools, hospitals, malls, and so on. Yet, many people approach us with hotel projects because we have done several known hotels before and have good experience in the area. Indeed, we built the Crowne Plaza Hotel and the Intercontinental Doha The City, among others. I am interested in hospital projects, and we have already done a small project for that sector. Additionally, I am keen on military contracts; we have just won a Defense Ministry tender. We are not affected by the challenges of the real estate sector because our business is different from that segment, as exclusively contractors. For contractors, there are less projects being tendered than before, but larger companies can still compete for the major projects. However, there are currently few mid-sized projects in the market, because there is a surplus of office and apartment space. Office space prices have fallen by 40-45% and residential prices by 25-30%.

What is RC – Almana's role in the Qatar Green Building Council program? What environmental sustainability trends are you seeing in the market?
We are actually one of the founders of Qatar Green Building Council and involved in the Lean Construction Institute - Qatar. RC – Almana is also working on educating and making programs such as LEED and LEAN more accessible for our staff, so they can obtain qualifications. However, we will need more time for green standards to become part of every development project in Qatar. But for the Lusail and Qatari Diar projects, it is a definite requirement. The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is taking over most of the governmental projects; as such, it has started making sustainability standards mandatory in most of its new projects. As a contractor, the price implications of green standards should come as a requirement from the client. Certain environmental standards are already common practices, such as water usage, reduction of waste, and the recommending and using of alternative materials that are eco-friendlier and sustainable. But if there are specific green requirements on a project, it is a cost that the client should specify in their tenders.

What are the next practical steps that RC – Almana wants to implement over 2020-2021?
As contractors, our main focus is to finish and deliver quality projects, and to find new ones. Although many projects will be slated for completion in 2022, other projects do not need to be completed until thereafter. From 2022-2030, there will be ongoing projects to ensure job availability and that activity does not come to a halt after the FIFA World Cup 2022. RC – Almana is confident that projects will continue to flow in Qatar after 2022.