Authorities in Qatar would benefit from the development of a centralised source of projects, providing greater efficiencies in the procurement process, according to a panel of architectural experts.
Speaking at a Construction Week Qatar round table, the panel argued that as Qatar’s growth continues, developing a more systematic approach to commissioning major schemes would help to drive efficiencies.
Nigel Eckersall, general manager for Tangram Middle East, said: “Ultimately the client will benefit from a better product through the creation of a centralised source for projects.”
He added that a centralised database would allow consultants to better gauge the seriousness and the target for the tender.
“For instance, by having the list of the competing offices included it will allow companies to better qualify their return documents back to the client, which will in turn create and instil from the very outset of the project a high level and degree of professionalism through the tender process, ultimately driving quality tender returns that will better inform the client,” he argued.
“It will also ensure that the tender returns respect the client’s aspirations… Should the tender be a descriptive and visual document, hard-bound and treated as a design pitch, or should it be a technical pricing document?
“The standardisation of conditions of contract, approved and overseen by a central governing body, will also allow the consultants to better enter into a tender with confidence that this standardisation would become the blanket conditions for all projects. I think a centralised source of projects and a register would be very interesting. How that will be managed is another question.”
Gurminder Sagoo, head of business development and marketing WSP Middle East, said: “From a tendering perspective and taking a positive angle on Qatar, we have found that although the scale and rate of development is set to be large, the country is comparatively small with a few small select number of tendering bodies.
“If you were to compare this with other parts of the GCC or the UK where there are numerous tendering bodies, there is an advantage in Qatar. This makes it easier to do business as we are experiencing a commonality across contract and tender styles. However, saying this, Qatar could probably capitalise on this by centralising their tendering functions.
“It’s a fairly small step to make given the current position that it is in. There are two parts to this – the administrative part including the contractual terms and conditions, and the technical part.
“If the administrative part were to be standardised and if each company tendered through this single body we’d waste a lot less time. If an opportunity lands on our desk the first thing we do is review this from a commercial perspective such as the T&C’s, and we’re starting to see some common themes now – especially in the last 12 months. If Qatar had a single set of headline contractual terms and conditions which were slightly less onerous we’d be able to get them approved a lot quicker.
“The people around this table are all part of larger group organisations. It’s not just WSP operating as a Middle Eastern entity…we have to go to the group for approvals.
“We want to be able to do business in an open manner but the number of opportunities available in Qatar combined with some of the financial bond conditions to tender, render even some of the largest organisations with their hands financially tied.”
Other professionals present included Karim Benkirane, regional managing principal for Woods Bagot Middle East.