The huge scale of construction activities in Qatar represents a revitalisation of the country’s infrastructure, from its transport network to social infrastructure such as education, housing and healthcare.
It also presents a major business opportunity for the many contractors, equipment suppliers and rental companies working there. Nevertheless, as those with experience know, Qatar is not an easy market to work in. High overheads coupled with slow payments can be crippling for any company. The current construction boom is only putting on extra pressure, with rising costs for labour (and a shortage of skilled machine operators), high costs for raw materials and traffic problems. Against this backdrop, contractors are expected to deliver projects within tight deadlines, while coping with additional factors such as difficult ground conditions and challenging logistics.
In order to meet deadlines, contractors need to not only ensure they have the right processes in place among their labourers, but that they’ve got the right construction machinery on the job-site. Naturally, hard-wearing and reliable machinery is the order of the day. With the shortage of skilled machine operators, plant managers can consider buying larger machines, so that they can have high productivity with fewer operators.
On the attachment front, there are many labour-saving options, both in the earthworks and civil construction phases, and in the landscaping and finishing works.
For machines to be reliable, they have to be serviced regularly and professionally, and that means buying from dealers that provide full after-market support. With annual maintenance contracts (AMCs) or lease-to-own options, plant managers can know the exact costs of machine ownership over the period of the project, while regular service ensures machines won’t break down during crucial periods.
On the rental front, Qatar has always been a busy market with many active suppliers, from the small day-rental companies to the larger, well-equipped professionals. For peak-shaving during the busiest periods of a project, or in order to bolster the machine population on a work-site if new machines are still in transit, rentals bring much-needed flexibility to a contractor’s workforce.
While the current focus is on completing the major projects, many in the industry are fully aware that once these have finished, companies will need to dispose of equipment. It’s impossible to anticipate future demand for used equipment in the Gulf region, but in all likelihood machines will be sold outside Qatar, whether in the GCC or further afield. Well-trusted brands and well-serviced machines will return the best prices on the used market, lowering the total cost of ownership. It all points to premium products being the best option for contractors with busy job-sheets.