There is probably not a contractor in the world that would say no to new work in 2012, but some firms will be hesitating over whether to bid for the Doha metro.

In 2011, it seemed that everyone was desperate to work on the project, with more than 60 contracting groups expressing interest. That number was reduced down by the client to about 30, before the first tenders were finally issued in mid-April to 18 consortiums.

The Qatar Railways Company (QRail) and its consultants must be confident they will get a good response from those contractors. It has invited seven to eight groups to bid for each of five packages, and in a market where contractors are desperate for work, the expectation is that all groups will bid aggressively.

That may not be the case. Unlike expressing interest and prequalifying, bidding is an expensive and risky exercise, especially for large design and build contracts for which contractors have to prepare the designs themselves and appoint consultants. With so much money to be spent on bidding, some groups will now be questioning whether they really have the appetite for the scheme. For some the answer will be yes, for others it will be no.

QRail will be hoping that most of the answers are yes and that it gets the most competitive prices it can for the contracts. If it does not, it will have to either accept higher prices, or look for alternatives and retender.