No more distractions for Qatar infrastructure

23 March 2015

The World Cup date is fixed so Doha has to concentrate on infrastructure

On 19 March Fifa finally decided that football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be held during the winter with the final being played on Qatar’s national day – 18 December.

The decision ends years of speculation on whether Qatar will actually host the tournament and when the matches, if they go ahead, will be held.

The uncertainty has been a major distraction for followers of football, and more importantly for those charged with delivering projects in Qatar ahead of the tournament.

While Fifa was preparing to finally decide when the tournament will be held, there was a stark reminder under the streets of Doha on why Qatar needs no more unnecessary distractions as a tunnel boring machine (TBM) working on Red Line North of Doha Metro flooded after digging into a pocket of water.

What happens next is unclear. Qatar Rail says that the incident will not cause any delay to the delivery of the contract, while others expect a four- to six-month delay.

If Qatar Rail’s expectation is realistic and the incident is to avoid turning into a major delay and dispute, both client and contractor will have to work together to make sure the project remains on track.

The worry for contractors in Doha is that incidents often happen on major projects and Qatar’s track record of dealing with problems and delivering on time by working with rather than against contractors is not good.

The most recent high-profile example is the new Hamad International airport, which opened several years late and was engulfed in legal dispute with multiple parties, including an arbitration case between the joint venture of Germany’s Lindner and Dubai-based Depa and the project client.

The TBM incident on Red Line North is a prime opportunity for Doha to show that the adversarial problems of the past are now behind it. If the opportunity is wasted then construction companies will fear the worst every time they encounter a problem.

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