Company snapshot

Date established 2004

Main business sectors Roads and public infrastructure

Main business region Qatar

President Nasser Ali al-Mawlawi

Website www.ashghal.gov.qa

Telephone (+974) 4 495 0000

Ashgal in numbers

$2.3bn: Road contracts awarded in 2011

$20bn: Spending on roads and drainage to 2015

136km: Length of new roads to be built by 2014

Source: MEED

Structure

Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) was established in 2004 as an autonomous government body to coordinate the design, construction and maintenance of public infrastructure in Qatar. Ashghal is headquartered in Doha and has a workforce of about 1,200.

The authority’s president is Nasser Ali al-Mawlawi, who reports to the minister of municipality & urban planning, a position currently held by Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani.

Operations

Ashghal is organised into five main departments: infrastructure; building; technical support; assets; and joint services.

The infrastructure affairs department, which is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure projects, is the most active department at present, with Ashghal awarding more than $2bn-worth of

Although mainly focused on road and drainage projects, this department also oversees other infrastructure schemes, such as the rehabilitation of Al-Ruwais port.

Qatar road contract awards
Year Value ($bn)
2007 0.6bn
2008 2.7bn
2009 0.1bn
2010 2.0bn
2011 2.3bn
Source: MEED Projects

Ashghal’s building division oversees the construction of social infrastructure projects, including schools, hospitals and health centres.

The assets department is in charge of the operation and maintenance of drainage and road systems, while the technical support unit comprises a contracts department, an engineering business and a quality and safety team.

The joint service affairs department is further split into human resources, finance and information systems divisions.

Ambitions

In 2010, Ashghal set out plans to invest $20bn in building and upgrading roads and drainage infrastructure up to 2015. Qatar’s road development plans have been given fresh impetus since it was awarded the right to host football’s World Cup in 2022. With many thousands of visitors expected to descend on the peninsula for the event, Ashghal’s road-building programme will be one of Doha’s highest priorities over the coming years.

In preparation for hosting the world’s biggest sporting competition, Qatar plans to build nine new stadiums, more than 50,000 hotel rooms and a $35bn integrated rail network. These ambitious projects will require adequate road access during and after the construction stage. Ashghal will be in charge of ensuring that the road schemes are executed on time.

To assist in the execution of the vast construction programme, Ashghal has separated its planned road schemes into major highway projects and local roads, and appointed a programme manager to oversee the implementation of each section.

In February 2011, the US’ KBR was appointed as the project manager for the major highway projects. KBR will provide project management services for 29 major road projects over the next five years, including the remaining packages of the Doha Expressway project.

Ashghal has appointed US-based Parsons Brinckerhoff to oversee the minor roads programme. Doha has been separated into five separate zones and Ashghal has appointed consultants to supervise the construction of the local roads and drainage projects.

Ashghal will oversee several sewerage and drainage projects in the coming years. One of these is the estimated QR8bn-10bn ($2.2bn-2.8bn) Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy programme. The works authority awarded US-based CH2M Hill a contract to work on the design of the scheme towards the end of 2011. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Meanwhile, Ashghal’s building department is undertaking a series of social infrastructure projects, including the 300-bed Al-Wakrah hospital, which is scheduled to open this year. The hospital has been designed to provide medical and surgical facilities for southern Qatar. The building department is also overseeing plans to construct a 100-bed otorhinolaryngology (ENT) extension at the existing Rumailah hospital.

The rollout of new schools will also continue in the years ahead. Since its establishment, the works authority has overseen the construction of 20 schools and another 40 are being designed or are in the early stages of development.

MEED Assessment

With the award of more than $2bn-worth of road projects in 2011 and plans to spend $20bn over the next five years, it is clear that Ashghal’s current focus is on road building.

With Qatar’s population predicted to more than double by 2030, there is an urgent need to expand the country’s road networks to improve access and ease congestion around its cities and ports. Ashghal’s roads programme has been made more urgent since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup. With hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to visit for the tournament, it is paramount that the country upgrades its transport infrastructure.

Ashghal has a central role in ensuring Qatar’s road and public infrastructure projects are delivered to the right specification, on time and on budget. With a vast number of projects in the pipeline, it is vital that the organisation is able to plan effectively and appoint the right people to design and build the road schemes.

As the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, Qatar will have no difficulty funding Ashghal’s ambitious road-building programme.

But a problem that has previously blighted several of Ashghal’s schemes is the slow tendering and delivery of projects. With the road projects so important to Qatar’s World Cup plans, it is essential the organisation is able to streamline its processes in order to overcome difficulties with bureaucracy and delays to projects. The recent decision to split the road schemes into major highways and minor roads has been well received by the construction industry and should ensure that Ashghal is able to deliver on its plans.

Qatar road projects

Qatar was the GCC’s most active roads market in 2011, with Ashghal awarding $2.3bn-worth of contracts.

The biggest of these was the QR3.7bn construction package awarded to the joint venture of Saudi Binladin Group and the local Qatari Diar for work on the Dukhan Highway in Doha.

This followed the award of two road contracts in January, worth an estimated QR1.9bn, to a joint venture of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company and the local Teyseer Contracting Company for the 12th package of the Doha Expressway.

The investment in Qatar’s road sector is set to continue, with Ashghal planning to build 136 kilometres of new roads by 2014, providing plenty of opportunities for local and international contractors and materials suppliers.

There are also several packages, amounting to about 45km, still to be tendered on the ambitious Doha Expressway, which will link the north and south of the country and the east with the west. Work on the project began in 2007 and the scheme is expected to accelerate following the award of the programme management contract to the US’ KBR in 2011.

The Lusail Expressway is another major scheme that Ashghal is currently tendering. The works authority received bids in August for the estimated $700m first phase.

The first package will be 5.8km in length and will have 16 lanes, on two or three levels in places.

The second package, which is expected to be tendered later this year, will run beside the Lusail City mixed-use development and on to the Pearl real estate development. The expressway will be 12km long in total.

Ashghal is currently working on the tender for the Al-Khor Highway project for the Lusail development. The highway will be a multi-level road that will run along the western border of Lusail City and will include up to five interchanges. The tender was expected by the end of last year, but has not yet been issued.

The works ministry will also oversee the construction of the planned 107km New Orbital Highway. This will be Qatar’s longest road, running from Ras Laffan in the north to Mesaieed in the South, and is designed to be used by trucks transporting freight between the ports.

There will be numerous opportunities for contractors in the minor roads sector. Ashghal appointed several consultants for the local zone packages towards the end of 2011.

A joint venture of UK-based WSP and Lebanon’s Khatib & Alami was awarded the package for the North Qatar area and UK-based Hyder Consulting won the contract for the North Doha area.

US-based Parsons International was appointed to oversee all local projects in the Doha South area, while UK-based engineering firm Atkins will oversee the minor roads work in the West Doha section.

The appointed consultants will work with Parsons Brinckerhoff, the programme manager for the minor roads programme, to design and oversee local road schemes throughout Qatar.