Qatar's construction sector is finding ways around the materials shortages in the country.
During the current construction lull, the industry is experiencing a shortage of building materials. CWQ spoke with Ramy Derar, senior engineer and project manager for QIMC real estate projects, who explains the situation and how QIMC is coping with the challenges.
"We have a shortage of everything, MEP material, water proofing material, glass material – every kind of material you can imagine. We don’t have raw materials, sand, gypsum, steel.
"You have to queue for everything. We generally require two-to-four months for delivery of some items, while others can take as long as six to eight months,” he says in exasperation.
The Qatar market is small, he says and adds that availability is scarce as items are not stocked in any great quantity: “They are not on the shelf, so there is no possibility of purchasing materials without placing an order way in advance," he says.
“Even basic items like air conditioning units are in short supply,” Derar explains. “For a development we have under construction, if we didn’t place an order way in advance we would possibly wait three to four years to fill the order for air conditioners. The market is small,” he emphasises.
He also points out: “Maybe materials are available for three months and the next three months there is no washed sand or dune sand, for example.”
So how does QIMC manage to tackle the shortage? Derar said: "Pre-procurement, many months in advance.
“By implementing an early procurement strategy, we deal with the shortages. For the long-lead items, we itemise it as a separate package in our tender, and we tender it early to help the contractor, sometimes with a year’s lead time as the approval process is normally lengthy as well.”
This includes approval of shop drawings and factory visits.
But it doesn't end there as there are delivery considerations to take into account as well: “And then after all this, you have to think about the delivery process, with between three and four days by road with trailers waiting at the border, and up to four months to get items into Doha via the sea."
Derar emphasies that the company has taken a very close look at the logistics and only through and early procurement strategy are they able to assure the success of their projects.