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For Qatari residents: Do you prefer a summer or winter World Cup 2022?

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Written by  Author |   Sun, 03 May 2015 07:07

At MEED’s recent Conference, Qatar Projects 2015, Daruna Development, the leading provider of advanced workers’ accommodations in the State of Qatar, announced the signature of a management agreement with Wasita Qatar (ISNAD), a subsidiary of the Wasita Group of Companies. 
The agreement covers the development of 12,000 workers’ accommodations over the next 36 months.  Daruna will maintain ownership of the accommodations, while Wasita will operate and manage the workers’ housing to include:  housekeeping, catering, laundry and maintenance functions.
“Wasita Group” is a Shari’ah compliant service provider.  It holds a leadership position in remote logistics and life support services with extensive experience in catering services, laundry, housekeeping, materials management and services for staff, military and labor camps (BOO, BOT) for the military/defense sector, infrastructure construction sector, oil & gas (On-shore & Off-shore) and healthcare sectors.
Wasita Group operates in UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Turkey. The company operates labor sites in remote on-shore and off-shore locations & Wasita is a HACCP & ISO 22000:2005 certified operator.  Wasita is committed to delivering its services safely and efficiently to the satisfaction of its clients.
Through their agreement with Wasita, Daruna Development will be able to rapidly market the permanent workers’ accommodations in full compliance with all international and Qatari legal standards.  The Daruna designs are the first in Qatar to be certified as compliant by Qatar Foundation according to their Standards for Workers’ Welfare guide published in 2013.
“The coordination from the compliant design and world class certified management, including catering and laundry, gives us tremendous advantages in controlling costs and value driven services which cannot be achieved in any other manner.  This combination, along with the value for money is the reason Daruna chose to partner with Wasita on its first project”, said Ambassador Joe LeBaron, Daruna Vice Chairman
Wasita Group President Basel Yagnham commented, “Our extensive regional experience in managing and operating such facilities along with our HACCP, ISO 22000 and other certifications will allow us to operate the Daruna sites at the highest levels of welfare, safety and international compliance.  We are proud to be associated with Daruna in delivering high standard, cost effective workers’ accommodations to the Qatari marketplace. This will hopefully be one of many Daruna sites in Qatar.”

Daruna: Smart, Compliant Labor Housing

Back in March 17, 2014, Global Building Solutions (GBS), a master real -estate developer with extensive experience in the Middle East, announced it is teaming with Qatar-based partners to rapidly develop high-quality Workers’ Accommodation Villages.

It was announced that these Villages will operate under the brand name DARUNA (“Our House”) and will comply with International and Qatari Standards, including Qatar Foundation’s Mandatory Standards for Migrant Workers’ Welfare (2013). In cooperation with the Government of the State of Qatar, Qatar Foundation, the Supreme Committee for Development and Legacy, and FIFA, DARUNA will be an end to-end Designer- Builder- Owner and Operator providing a vital price competitive labor solution.
DARUNA is securing a number of sites across Qatar on which it is preparing to build Workers’ Villages. The Villages will accommodate the ever growing semi-skilled and unskilled workforce needed to help deliver every infrastructure requirement of Qatar’s World Cup and 2030 National Vision, from rail and roads to hotels and iconic stadiums. Qatar Foundation’s “Mandatory Standards for Migrant Workers’ Welfare” (published 2013) is DARUNA’s blue-print for guaranteeing an environment that is not only pleasant to live in, but also dignified, safe, and healthful. This QF document advocates strict minimum design and operating criteria ranging from mandatory minimum space for living, washing and storage space per person, to catering, retail, recreational and medical facilities, to outdoor open spaces. 

Dr. Joseph LeBaron then stated “....we are proud to be working with a visionary local Sponsor to deliver modern, clean and healthful Workers’ Villages in Qatar… DARUNA is proud to bring the first commercially compliant solution to the marketplace.”

Michael P Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Global Building Solutions, currently the CEO of Daruna commented “ ...the DARUNA value proposition is that we will build and operate the facilities at our cost, and will simply rent them out on a contract basis. We are also seeking to provide the market with an insurance-backed guarantee that our facilities will meet both Qatar Foundation and International standards –giving clients secure peace of mind. We are unique in the market and will be offering the best facilities at zero capital cost to their users.”

On that occasion, back in April 2014, Why Qatar Magazine has held interviews with both Dr. Joseph LeBaron and Michael P Murphy.
We asked Dr. Lebaron:

1- Who was the local sponsor and when did talks start with that sponsor on developing the Workers’ Housing projects?

Our local sponsor is a highly-regarded Qatari businessman who is experienced in working successfully with companies large and small.  We have been working with him and his senior staff for over a year to develop our turnkey approach of Design-Build-Own-Operate.

2- Is this the first GBS project in Qatar? What else in the Pipeline?

The Al Shahaniya project is our first, but it will be far from our last. As for our pipeline, it is steadily growing. We have been deluged with requests for bed space following the three-day launch of our Daruna brand at MEED's Qatar Projects 2014. Clearly, there has been pent up demand for worker housing in Qatar that meets international standards.
What was missing in the market was our unique offering: a Design-Build-Own-Operate approach that is coupled with an unshakable commitment to meeting Qatari and international standards. GBS, using its unique approach and Qatar Foundation's standards as the blueprint for its worker villages, will help meet that corporate demand. By doing so we believe we will also contribute directly toward the fulfillment of Qatar's ambitious Vision 2030.

3- Is the Al Shahaniyah development built already? Please provide information on this project including choice of location No. of Beds amenities and rental cost for Daruna customers.

Our first project is not yet ready, but is taking pre-orders so that space can be reserved on a condition of compliance basis.  We expect occupancy by the end of the year.

4- What is the investment being put in to design-build-own and operate Daruna projects across Qatar?

Obviously, the investment requirements are large for Daruna's turnkey approach of Design-Build-Own-Operate. We are financing our entry into the Qatar market with private equity, but will partner with the local banks once the concept grows to multiple properties.

5- What are the expected long-term returns for this project?

We are confident that the long-term returns will meet the expectations of our private equity investors; but I must add that it is not only the pursuit of profit that guides our activities and those of our equity investors. While we are certainly focused on achieving an attractive long-term financial return for our projects, we are also mindful of the importance of our projects' social return. By that I mean ensuring that our projects are fully aligned with Qatar's goals of social, economic and community development as expressed in Vision 2030. And the clearest way for us to achieve that alignment is to make sure our projects are fully compliant with Qatari and international standards.

We asked Mr. Murphy:

1- What strategy is in place to pick Daruna locations across Qatar?

Our strategy is to be responsive to corporate demand.  If they have the land, we will build where they want us to.  If they don't have the land, we will supply the land by partnering with local landowners.

2- Will location dictate rental price or is rental price a constant throughout? What is the average rental price for Daruna customers (i.e. companies wishing to comply with QF Mandatory Standards)

Location will not have a bearing on the rental price; we are trying to achieve a consistent brand wide pricing scheme. However, there are several levels of options, various food menus, entertainment upgrades, and transport options that will have variable pricing.  We are seeing that we can achieve bed pricing at a competitive price to the existing market, and that as these standards are mandatory for some projects, expect that any increase in cost for compliance will be passed on in the bid documents to the ultimate customer, Qatar Foundation.

3- How do you perceive the impact Daruna will have on the construction sector in Qatar in terms of the country’s image working conditions and ultimately cost of construction?

First and foremost, Qatar doesn't need our help in protecting and enhancing its image. We are committed to Qatar's Vision 2030 and its associated social, economic, and community development goals, one of which is a successful FIFA 2022 World Cup. 
4- Do you see the concept of Daruna expanding in the region in places like the UAE where mega construction is constantly taking place but where labor laws are not as strict as in Qatar?

The intense criticism Qatar has received about its worker facilities could well be directed at many other countries, elsewhere in the MENA region and beyond.  The time has come globally to act, to pay more attention to the migrant and blue collar force that is doing a large share of the work.  Qatar, through these standards, and Daruna by complying with them, will make Qatar a showcase for best practices.

5- How will Daruna customers benefit from renting spaces to their workers as opposed to sticking with old probably less regulated housing formulas?

Daruna's value proposition for our customers is compelling: First, we will be offering the best facilities at zero capital cost to our customers.  We will build and operate the facilities at our cost.  We will simply rent them out on a contract basis. Second, we will build and operate our facilities based on both Qatar Foundation and international standards.  That will give our customers not only peace of mind but a significant marketing and operating advantage.  It protects their reputations.  In fact, we are now seeking to provide our customers with an insurance-backed guarantee that our facilities will meet those standards.  We will be unique in the market. Third, compliance with this and comparable standards will soon become mandatory towards bidding for new projects. By embracing the standard now and joining with Daruna, our clients will have a market advantage on bidding new projects.


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