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

Concrete Transformers

Written by  Author |   Mon, 19 October 2015 14:14

Concrete is being transformed and upgraded to adapt to the new requirements of Qatar’s emerging urban status as a modern and sustainable country.

Qatar has since 2005 become one of the most attractive countries in the construction sector employing many engineers and professionals in the field. This rise started with the development of a new city look to serve the 2006 Asian Games and continued especially when Qatar weathered the global economic crisis while other Gulf countries didn’t. Foreign and domestic demands for real estate opportunities in Qatar are increasing; these are driven by the construction activities which have been ramped up with the steady approach of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Even though the World Cup brings many opportunities in terms of construction and infrastructure projects till 2022, this industry will continue plowing forward over the next five to seven years due to a long-term vision by the Government of a new and modern style of living for residents by 2030.

Qatar is continuously increasing the quality of construction; one of the practices towards this improvement is the manufacturing of new building materials in order to help achieve an upgraded level of self-sufficiency and consistency. Qatar is building mega projects and towers are shifting construction needs into concepts better geared towards sustainability and environmental friendly structures in lieu of traditional trends in construction.

The new projects in Qatar are predicted to be worth around $500~$700bn by 2020; around $90bn alone will be spent on infrastructure projects for the purpose of the World Cup in the next decade.

Durability as a priority

New specifications for construction place durability as a priority thus requiring additional expertise to cope with the supply-demand gap especially with the lack of skilled labor and technical proficiency. The new specifications will force construction to go more with the new developed standards and codes. The companies (Engineers, Contractors, Testing Laboratories, Materials Suppliers and Ready Mix Supply) will have to stay up to date and upgrade their know-how with the new requirements. 

Major projects include several high rise towers, the New Doha International Airport, the Qatar national railway endeavor, the Lusail development, the Doha port and the Qatar-Bahrain causeway. Concrete and other construction materials will be of high demand. Several approaches were made in the past couple of years to amend the Qatar Construction Specification “QCS” in order to provide Qatar with a modern construction specifications in order to cope with the demand for high rise buildings and other specialized requirements. This uplift will not only consider concrete as an end product but will also include the construction materials mixed within it.

Going green

Qatar is moving with the new worldwide trend of “green and sustainable construction”; large scale projects applying these practices attract several international and regional companies wanting to benefit from the favorable market conditions. The concrete sections under the Qatar Specification have been recently updated to address the environmental techniques and sustainability needs of the industry.

More than $30bn will be spent on the national rail project providing several opportunities for contractors. The massive project includes plans for a high-speed long distance rail link, and driverless four-line Metro service for Doha and freight lines. The initial push will be to develop the Doha Metro Red Line that runs between Messaieed in the south with Al Khor in the North. The line runs through the heart of Doha, with branches to the New Doha International Airport and underground tunneling required running through the heart of the old city to Al Bidda and West Bay. The central Doha Metro underground will excavate more than 70 million cubic meters of soil and will be using more than 8 million m3 of concrete.

Infrastructure to serve 100 - 150 years

Civil engineering structures such as bridges, tunnels, towers marine structures and other infrastructure projects, are now being designed for a service life of 100 or even 150 years.

Concrete specifications have been modernized including new techniques to identify the durability and sustainability of the structures by adopting the new versions of EN, ASTM and ACI codes. Concrete is considered durable when validated through testing such as with Rapid Chloride Penetration ASTM C1202 and Water Penetration BS EN 2390 Part 8. 

The limitation in each test is based on a thorough understanding of the relevant international standards complemented by an extensive knowledge of concrete and materials technology in combination with experience in a various construction techniques. It’s quite an achievement for Qatar.

High strength concrete needed

Most of the projects are requesting high strength concrete of at least 60MPa whereas the compressive strength of concrete in some particular projects will reach up to 90MPa as in concrete core walls for high rise towers.

These types of requirements (durability and strength) mandated the use of supplementary cementing materials such as Fly Ash, Silica Fume and Ground Granulated Blas Furnace Slag as replacement to the cement. The total cementing materials is of average 400Kg/m3 to maximum 500Kg/m3 with special attention to the heat of hydration to avoid cracks. The heat of hydration resulting from the chemical reaction of cementing materials is controlled by many projects in particular where raft foundation is taking place and monitored by means of thermocouples. For such high strength concrete and stringent requirements in durability, the concrete mixture is designed to have very low water to cementing ratio sometimes less than 0.35 which require the use of specialized admixture such as high range water reducer and polycarboxylate.

Latest techniques in additives

Some concrete are designed to have high performance properties or to be self-consolidated concrete which requires the use of the latest techniques in additives in order to provide the required fluidity without jeopardizing the concrete quality. Touring concrete ready mix suppliers in Qatar, you feel the absence of the normal to medium range plasticizing admixtures due to the highly required standard of concrete. Most of the concrete, if not all, is being ready mixed at a stationary mixer. The ready mix suppliers are using the latest models of stationary mixers and agitators to meet with the capacity of work needed and the quality of the projects. These suppliers are forced to have such machineries in order to cope with the newly developed market.

Nowadays, the concrete construction is towards being environmental friendly and some projects are looking after earning points in green construction. Qatar’s Sustainability Assessment System “QSAS” has been developed to be the green building certification. The primary objective of QSAS is to create a sustainable built environment that minimizes ecological impact while addressing the specific regional needs and environment of Qatar.

The development of the rating system took advantage of a comprehensive review built for Qatar and specific to the needs of the local environment. The practice is a combined effort employed by a mix of established international and regional rating systems. Measurements for the rating system are designed to be performance-based and quantifiable. 


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