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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ashghal considers fining contractors for missing project deadlines

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Contractors in Qatar could face fines if they miss deadlines related to road work and excavation projects under a new enforcement system being considered by the public works authority.

Speaking at a Central Municipal Council (CMC) meeting yesterday, an Ashghal official said the organization was looking into introducing the penalties as a way to keep projects on schedule and reduce the public impact of having so many dug-up roads in Qatar.

Yusuf Abdulrahman al-Emadi, director of Ashghal’s road maintenance department, said that under the new proposal, Ashghal would assess each job and set a time-frame for completion of digging works.

The authority would monitor progress and if the works go past schedule, the contractor could be penalized, according to Gulf Times.

These new rules could be rolled out as early as next month, the newspaper added.

Call for action

With thousands of vehicles joining Qatar’s already busy roads each month, pressure is on authorities to take steps to reduce congestion where possible.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Reducing the time that roads are closed for digging is being seen as one way of addressing this problem.

Ashghal’s announcement came as several CMC member relayed public concerns over the number of roadworks taking place around central Doha at one time, which they said led to delays.

Also at the CMC meeting, an official from Kahraama (Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) said that the problem partly stemmed from householders’ requests for improved utilities infrastructure.

“Kahramaa faces a challenge when many house owners submit requests to increase their water and electricity load and get it approved by the municipality. This entails digging,” Kahramaa’s Nasser Mohamed al-Nuaimi is quoted by Gulf Times as saying.

Penalties are something that other government entities are also rolling out. At the same meeting, a Doha Municipality officer said that the body had recently begun blacklisting contractors who fail to keep to the terms of their agreements.

For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

Salim Hammoud al Shafi, Director of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP)’s monitoring section, said the new system is being deployed on a trial basis to deny new contracts to companies that have previously found to have violated terms and conditions of their agreements, in a bid to improve efficiency, Qatar Tribune reports.

Qatar’s infrastructure is undergoing a substantial overhaul, as Ashghal undertakes a number of huge projects including its seven-year, QR16 billion Expressway program and more than 200 works related to local roads and drainage program, in addition to upgrading Doha’s sewerage system.

This is as well as digging projects undertaken by a number of other organizations including Kahramaa.

Do you think a penalty system would help speed up construction here? Thoughts?

31 COMMENTS

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AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Are you serious? They’re not on penalty payments already? Why would you bother finishing..

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

They don’t bother. Case in evidence- C Ring Road.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

An alternative model is that they “rent” the road for the duration of the contract based on a daily rate. If they finish ahead of the programmed date in effect they get a bonus for each day early, and if late then effectively they are paying a fine. This only works where a realistic programme is set in the first place and where the Client supervision is adequate enough to ensure that no corners are cut, On reflection, it couldn’t be introduced into Qatar as both those ideals have never yet been achieved.

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago

Owner caused delays are a major component of project delays

Gracie
Gracie
5 years ago

I guess penalty fines will mean the contractors will start to cut corners to make sure they deliver the work on time. Can imagine taking a leisurely drive on one of Doha’s many poorly signed roads and finding myself falling off the road into a pit full of crashed cars with no prior warning.

R_Chow
R_Chow
5 years ago

Wow… what a unique idea!!! How come no body think of this before???

Coco
Coco
5 years ago

All projects are fast-tracked in the “jaldi-jaldi” way. Perhaps begin by changing that.

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

The contractor will simply add the fine in the next tender. It would be better to penalise the contractor with a lockout period on tendering for future contracts.

CeePeeEm
CeePeeEm
5 years ago

It is very surprising if the penalties are not in place in the civil works contracts. In the industry I am in (IT), even for a day of delay, certain organisations impose penalties, and goes upto 10 percent of the contract value; unfortunately, as a contractor, the companies cannot put penalties on the very same organisations for delayed payments.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

OK the only way someone could suggest this is if they have no idea how it works in Qatar. Why was HIA delayed? Constant changes by the client to scope and deliverables.

Other projects? Lack of available visas to bring in the people needed for projects.

Other factors? Materials tied up in customs forever.

Some more. Lack of quality staff because they want the cheapest Asian labour possible to deliver a world class job. Qatar deserves the best but wants it at Asian rates.

It’s a constant struggle to get jobs completed on time in Qatar. For some companies even getting paid is a challenge.

Whatever
Whatever
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Spot on!

UVAH
UVAH
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Do you really think all asian labour are of poor quality.? do a quick research…!
by the way 1 european labour cost will cover 8 asian labours and i can guarantee european labour will need atleast 1 hr break in the morning, 1 hr in lunch, another 1 hr in evening before depart… productivity going to take a sip…!!!

Most of the projects in Qatar are delayed because of unrealistic programme set by clients..

lack of materials in the local market all the time everything has to be bought from out side…

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  UVAH

I think you need to re-read this post as you have taken the phrase “the cheapest Asian labour possible” and then twisted his post and inserted your own phrase “all asian [sic] labour”.

Surely you are able to see the difference.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  UVAH

That’s a bit of a racist statement, saying all Asian labour is poor quality. Then you are racist against Europeans implying they are lazy and do not work as hard as Asians.

onthefence
onthefence
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If this is related to new projects toatlly agree, if its related to maintenance works on existing roads they have a case. Poor planning and traffic management by the contractors has a big part to play, however unrealistic timescales set by the employer and the low prices set by the contractor to try and win work are all contributing factors.

Alex
Alex
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Look at the roads in UAE. They were also made by Asian labourers. Go for quality and not for the cheapest pricing will make the difference.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Dubai – quality and vision. Doha Expressway – three lanes only, by the time they finished it it was woefully inadequate.

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Kuwait too has an impressive road system. *All*ringroads have *all*their intersections grade separated. The same for the arterial roads which are numbered logically. Almost all the arterial and the ring roads have emergency lanes. No roundabouts, therefore no stunt driving required.

qsas
qsas
5 years ago

penalties clauses were always in Ashghal Contracts, BUT were never applied!!! since 10 years experience on this field in Qatar, consultant always recommend penalties to be applied to contractor as per clause 47. BUT Ashghal always ignore!!! and instate, they reward the contractor with new additional scope of work to extend the contract and avoid penalties clauses. On current PWA contract penalty clause on contractor shall not exceed 10% of contract sum. and this shall be applied on the end of project period only. which in short is nothing. Moreover the application not intended to correct contractor performance. the question is why Ashghal not applying penalty on contractors!!!! since 10 years i do not experience this, and to happen Ashghal need reform in higher level of responsible bodies.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  qsas

Because at the end of the contract 2 Sheiks meet over coffee and all the problems suddenly disappear.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

It shouldn’t be an issue if it is mentioned in the contract. However, if they put a clause in the contract Ashghal may have problems finding companies who sign these contracts.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Ashgal will never have a problem finding contractors. See my newer post for the reason.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago

Blacklisting of non compliant contractors is more effective

Joe
Joe
5 years ago

Simple common sense rules fail to apply in this region for some reason!

Joe
Joe
5 years ago

Maybe the societies are not fully developed into statehoods yet.
They’re still driven by tribal, communal, sectarian and other primitive traits.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

In Doha, construction contractual disputes are settled behind closed doors at the end of the contract between the Sheik who sponsors the contractor and the head of the Client body (if public) or another Sheik (if private). Nothing ever goes to court and nobody knows what they decided between them. In the meantime the Contractor and Consultant team have jumped through hoops, and at the end wonder why they bothered.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

The dispute between Ashghal and Bilfinger Berger over the D-ring road construction went to court back in 2009. Basically Ashghal stopped paying Bilfinger so Bilfinger stopped working (they had this curious notion that if you aren’t getting paid, why should you be doing the work). So then Ashghal terminated their contract because of the delays. In the end Bilfinger was stung for literally hundreds of millions of Euros that they were owed but were never paid.

When it went to court, the courts ruled in favor of Ashghal and awarded the remaining work to 3 Qatari companies.

At the time Bilfinger released a statement:

‘The bad experience with the Doha project prompts us to reconsider our commitments in the Gulf region,’ Bilfinger Berger chief executive Herbert Bodner was quoted as saying in a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.

qsas
qsas
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Bilfinger got not paid, Bilfinger Terminated, Bilfinger lost Court case, Because Bilfinger has no local Sponor. they jump to this project through their Dubai office. Not welcomed !!! Companies that not willing to share with locals are NOT welcomed !!! “Ashghal + !” treated Bilfinger case as a massage to be conveyed to other Mega GCC international companies. I think it is Clear

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

The same happens all over the GCC. The forensic planners and delay analysts of the Owner and Contractor get paid for preparing and rebutting delays and finally things get sorted out between the big guys.

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

Subtext to story. Ashghal is getting heat from influential people who are being delayed on the roads (oh dear). Company sends out PR release blaming delays on contractor overruns and that they are taking action. Media picks up on the ‘story’. Everyone happy. Close case. As you were. Carry on.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

This unfortunately wouldn’t work and wouldn’t be fair simply because the contractors are not stalling work on purpose. Actually, if they can do things quicker and get more projects they would do it, but because of many things that are out of their control (and that MMIH brilliantly explained in his comment), they have to delay work and wait until things are sorted out by the government/port authorities/construction material importers/labourers recruitment agencies/whoever creating the delay.

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