For the past three years, most construction companies in Qatar have been preoccupied with one project: the Doha Metro.

After the recent signing of the estimated $3.3bn contract for the construction of the underground sections of the Gold Line, most of the major building work has been awarded and firms are now turning their attentions to the 2022 World Cup stadiums for new opportunities.

Over the past few months, there has been plenty to whet the appetite. In April, a joint venture of Belgium’s Six Construct and the local Midmac Contracting Company won the estimated $300m deal to upgrade the existing Khalifa stadium, increasing its seating capacity to 60,000, from the current 45,000. In early May, the local HBK Contracting Company won the enabling works contract for Al-Wakrah stadium.

These two deals are just the beginning of Qatar’s multibillion-dollar stadium construction programme, and contractors will be eyeing much larger opportunities in the future.

Although the stadiums will have to be built before the tournament starts in 2022, so far the timing and magnitude of the work that will be tendered remains unclear. For the flagship Lusail stadium, the original design competition was scrapped and replaced with a new contest, and the project management deal, which was about to be signed with a UK consultant earlier this year, is about to be retendered.

Further tempering contractors’ expectations is the statement from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy saying it is considering reducing the proposed stadiums to a number that better reflects the “size of the country”.

Better-managed expectations are not a bad thing. The euphoria that has surrounded Qatar’s projects market since it was picked to host the World Cup has been overplayed and many companies are now realising the country is not an easy market to operate in.