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World Cups in Qatar 2022

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World Cups in Qatar 2022

Post  Admin on Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:34 pm

Qatar 2022

Qatar’s World Cup will create a veritable feast of opportunities because it is starting from scratch. Some estimates put the small country’s construction spend for the next five years alone at $100bn (£63.4bn) - over nine 2012 Olympics.

Mike Barker, group practice director for buildings at Mott MacDonald, says: “It would have been fantastic if England had won the right to host a World Cup but, frankly, for British construction companies Qatar’s win is the best possible outcome. Qatar is coming from a base which means they have to create virtually everything, whereas many other bidders had at least some of the facilities for the event.”

Construction plans include nine spectacular stadiums and the extensive renovation of three existing stadiums, which will add up to about $3bn worth of work. Infrastructure works over the next five years will include $25bn worth of rail projects within Qatar to link internal host cities, as well as improving connections to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. A further $20bn will be spent on roads, $11bn on a new airport and $5.5bn on a new port. While the stadiums are expected to take the usual three years (one to design and two to build), masterplanning should start next year, with infrastructure works soon to follow.

A potential spanner in the works already, of course, is the debate over whether it will be too hot for athletes to compete in the Gulf in June and if the Games should be moved forward to January instead, shaving five months off the timeframe.

Opposition to the date change would mean firms need to find a way of cooling the venues, something some firms are already looking into. In November 2010 Arup Associates was asked to create a micro-climate inside a 500-seat test stadium. Qatar’s stadiums will be both air-conditioned and zero carbon - a particularly mean feat to pull off if Fifa decides to hold the 2022 event in the usual summer months, when temperatures can reach the wrong side of 40°C.

Oh, and at least some of the stadiums will need to be modular, so Qatar can effectively flatpack them and donate them to other countries.

Then there are accommodation and entertainment facilities. Arup estimates there will be three million visitors (including fans, media and players) to Qatar over the World Cup month. At present, Qatar sees a maximum of one million visitors over an entire year. Lee Simoes, Middle East managing director of consultant Blair Anderson, which has just opened an office in Qatar, says the country must increase its hotel rooms from the current 10,000-15,000 to 80,000-90,000. “That means Qatar needs to build about 25 hotels a year between now and the event,” he says. Meanwhile, a slew of shopping, eating and leisure facilities will be needed to entertain the fans between the games.

Model Stadium Doha, Qatar Capacity 500 Designer Arup Associates

UK firms are well placed to grab a slice of the construction action. Nick Merridew, who leads Arup’s sports business in the UK and Middle East, says: “With London 2012 being recognised for its efficiency and the strength of its legacy plan, UK firms have an excellent chance of picking up work around Qatar’s World Cup.” He adds that there is considerable stadium expertise in the UK that precedes the 2012 Olympics, thanks to projects like Arsenal FC’s Emirates ground. Plus, British expertise and commitment to the region is proven.

Only last October the Queen received Qatar’s emir at Windsor Castle, while big British firms such as Davis Langdon, Turner & Townsend and Arup are well established there.

That’s not to say winning work will be easy: competition will be fierce. Merridew warns: “The US sees the Middle East as a key area of strategic importance, so they’ll be targeting Qatar heavily. You only have to look at the international array of firms involved in building venues for the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil to see you’ll be up against firms from many different countries.” Among the powerful non-Brits already established in Qatar are Aecom, Australian architect Woods Bagot, German contractor Hochtief (which Spain’s ACS is attempting to take over) and France’s Vinci.

British contractors may find it particularly tough because, as ever in the Gulf, they’ll be up against rivals from China, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, which have lower cost bases. However, their experience in specialist stadium techniques may give them an edge - and justification for charging more.

The good news is that British expertise has already been called upon, with Arup’s prototype zero-carbon stadium and Foster + Partners designing the iconic Lusail stadium reserved for the opening match and final.

How it will all be procured is yet to be decided - Qatar is still currently in the process of forming its organising committee. Leon Higgins, director of building services at Mott MacDonald, says this body could appoint a single main contractor to programme manage everything or a use a series of procurement routes in the way the Olympics have been handled in London.

Tom Bower, WSP’s managing director of the Middle East and India, says we should expect to see design-and-build contracts, which transfer more risk to contractors and are Qatar’s norm. He also warns: “In Qatar, bidders usually have to pass technical criteria before being assessed on other factors, such as cost, and that’s likely to continue for World Cup projects.” This, he believes, will also play to the strengths of UK firms.

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