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Making Noise in Qatar

Written by  Author |   Thu, 31 January 2013 14:14


Ahmad Al Naddaf, CEO of Boom Construction 

In Qatar, you can hear the sound of success especially when it comes to Boom Construction, a company with an exploding portfolio of mega projects. Precise cost estimation and expert local know-how has the company bidding on the most lucrative infrastructure developments in the country.

On the eve of its winning of the Lusail Expressway Project, Why Qatar magazine conducted an interview with Ahmad Al Naddaf, CEO of Boom Construction.

1. What is the past history of Boom and positioning in the market?

Boom Construction Company (BCC) is a grade ‘A' contracting corporation established since 1995 as a private limited company, the largest discipline within the professional association that constitutes the Boom Group of companies. The company's position has evolved over the past few years with an increasing number of projects resulting in exponential turnover growth.
BCC competes with large international organizations for projects within the local Qatari market and is frequently approached directly to participate in a substantial number of highly specialized projects where previously only international companies have been considered.

2. What can you tell us about your company's activities, services and the fields you are specialized in? What are your objectives?

As we developed over the years, we explored new fields, undergone a restructuring process and strengthened our management teams, as well as modernized our technology and marketing capabilities, and this despite an international financial crisis and associated recessionary economies. We perform total turn-key contracts and enter joint venture agreements with local and international contracting companies when it makes economic sense. BCC has played a key role in the major expansion and development of projects in Qatar, using our unparalleled depth and breadth of resources and local knowledge. With more than 4900 staff members located in the country, our BCC professionals find solutions in vital construction related areas including the following specialized fields of: Road works; Infrastructure, Water distribution & Waste Management.



3. What drives the vision and mission of the company?

BCC's desire is to become one of the leading local firms in Qatar in the fields of road infrastructure and construction. To succeed in this mission, BCC delivers superior services and precision engineering

4.  Boom has already become one of the most prominent contracting names in Qatar. What's the secret behind your success?

The road to BCC's success is built upon our multidisciplinary teams of award-winning scientists, engineers, designers, planners, and construction managers, all committed to delivering projects that improve the quality of life for the community in which we live and work. Our innovative and safe construction practices, which are behind our sustained growth, have made us the employer of choice in the construction industry.

5.  What are your company's resources?

BCC is continuously upgrading its resources both internally and externally. The company has more than 1300 different types of machinery used in transportation projects, earth works, excavations, logistics, and the asphalt industry including a number of asphalt plants & crushers. BCC employs more than 4900 employees with unequaled cultural diversity and performing at the highest standards thanks to an effective management system that cements the organization into the team that makes BCC what it is today. Today, we excel at the most complex and challenging construction projects because BCC's construction service team is the project manager of choice for high-profile clients looking to develop world-class projects. 

6. How do you maintain a cost effective operation and remain price competitive as you grow?

Over the years, we maintained tight cost controls over our sites. Today's pricing, jobs and specifications are different. We have in place an exercise of having our on-site engineers and finance team involve our estimators with continuous feedback to ensure corrective pricing measures are taken, when tendering. Today, we find ourselves very competitive on the market and using the latest cost estimation software technology allowing us to dissect every item of the job at hand, from the screw to the crew, a $300,000 investment that we made a year ago.  Additionally, the project team managers on the job site take into consideration the cost of the material they are purchasing, the cost of production, whether machine or labor, and their productivity on this particular activity, job or even weather condition



7. What have been your main investments in equipment/machinery or plants to support your client activities and projects? Can you talk about your latest Batch plant purchase in terms of cost, location, capacity and return on investment?

Our bread and butter jobs have been asphalt production and laying work. We usually get the latest technology into this particular field and we are the first contractors to bring in the latest in technology from Germany or Italy or US production lines. We attend these manufacturer's seminars and workshops, where our people are trained on the best laying methods and how to work on these materials.  We recently purchased a 2 million Euros asphalt batch plant from Marini, the best in the European market, and currently using the latest plant technology in this field called "Top Tower Plant". It has all the latest technology and specifications that a client might require, and it produces around 250 tons/hr of finished product. Additionally, the plant has a recycling feature allowing us to use up to 25% of old asphalt material as an additive to our mix, also helping to reduce our cost. The location is near our Lusail Expressway Project with Hyundai on a plot that has been given to us by the government, where we will stay for at least 4 years until we move to another project. The ROI for this type of investment is about 7-10 years on the books but in real terms 3-4 years, because of quality, quantity and speed benefits.

8. Boom construction will maximize resources during a construction boom. Are we experiencing this in Qatar today? 

I think we are experiencing a boom in Qatar today but you will really feel it during the 2nd or 3rd Quarter of this year, whereas what you can see now is a lot of international companies coming to the country, as well as many new local contractors and not enough work to spread around, creating a bottleneck for most. But before the end of the year, you will see huge demand on equipment and contractors mainly for infrastructure work. On the building side, the market is still very poor and it will pick up more in 4 or 5 years, with the current percentage of work is 80% infrastructure related and 20% for superstructures. 



9. What were the key and strategic elements behind your bidding for and winning of the Lusail Expressway from Hyundai?

The Lusail expressway is a mega project and we cannot do it on our own. We don't like to go into a JV for these jobs as such, because it is a big risk for risk and our portion of the work is around 15-20% and it doesn't make sense unless we participate in 40-50% of a project. So we went into an exclusive subcontracting agreement with Hyundai, the main contractor on this job. We had a great estimating team and put a lot of effort from our construction staff and project managers who were previously involved in big jobs Knowing Hyundai, they were not easy to price for. They also go to the very specific details of every item,  and our new estimation software allows for that and gave us a pricing advantage while lowering our risk.  It took us I think around 3-4 months to tender for this project. Also, being a local contractor and knowing where to get your material from, and how to get licenses and authorities' approval, paid back dividends in bidding. The original tender was QR 2.8 billion but it is now around 4 billion QR(Check the number in the table!!) because of VOs, extra work, and other factors. Work began in late April of 2012 and is set for completion in September 2015.

10. Can you give us some details of the completed and ongoing projects by your company?

B.C.C has completed various major projects since 2005 mainly for the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) & Kahramaa (KSCDC).  In the table below you can see a summary for some of the completed & ongoing projects of BCC:

  Starting Date Name Of The Project Client/ Main Contractor Project Completion Date Value of Contract (Q.R)
      1    11/1/2009 Execution of Remaining works for Doha Expressway (Package 1& 2) at 22nd February Street & Al Amir Street. Upgrade and Interchange (Part – 3)   Public Works Authority    9/20/2010    69,769,957.47
     2 11/15/2009 PWA/GTC/015/2009-2010   -   Road improvement works in Muaither West Area Public Works Authority 9/30/2012 40,517,783.62
    3  10/3/2010 PWA/GTC/042/2009-2010  -  Development of Roads in block 1300 Public Works Authority  2/3/2013  239,315,184.83
   4  5/22/2011 PWA/GTC/075/2010-2011/ Do Conversion of Tadamoun & Mall R/A to signalized Junction  Public Works Authority   7/19/2012   56,565,816.00
   5   8/12/2012 PWA/GTC/003/2012-1013/ Upgrading of Existing Route 55 Single Carriageway Connecting Doha to Umm Saieed  PublicWorks Authority   2/7/2013   79,624,026.60
 6   1/6/2011 GTC/346/2010  -  Extension of Distribution Network at Doha & Vicinity (Package 1)(Water)   Kahramaa   6/5/2013   125,769,718.00
      7    5/6/2012 GTC/437/2011- Extension of Distribution Network at Doha Vicinity(Package 4)(Water)    Kahramaa    5/5/2014    173,609,986.00
  8   5/21/2012  P003 Lusail Expressway Project / Qatar (Road & Utility Works)   Hyundai   9/21/2015   499,593,000.00




11. What strength lies behind BCC's marketing strategy?

The marketing plan looks at our company's strengths and weaknesses; the areas where we have a competitive advantage; the markets that we would target for sales, focusing on the demographics of our chosen market; and the pricing structure that BCC plans to use.

The construction market looks very, very different today than it did three or four years ago. Therefore BCC's marketing plans must adapt to these changes accordingly in order to capitalize on potential avenues of revenue.
The 6 step, Marketing Strategy of BCC are:
1. Determining our Objective
2. Performing a "SWOT" Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
3. Analyzing the Current Market
4. Creating a Marketing Budget 
5. Developing a Strategy and List Tactics to market BCC (The Marketing Mix)
6. Monitoring our Results

12. What are BCC's future plans?

• Working with different International Firms on a joint venture basis, to bring the capabilities of our personnel to new heights.
• Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that generates quality management reports in all aspects.
• Initiating a Quality Management System to upgrade standards
• Setting up a Health & Safety Environment (HSE) quality plan that improves the working environment for all employers.
• Introducing training & succession planning for all key personnel to compete at an international level.

13.  Do you have an expansion strategy beyond Qatar?

I doubt we will play a role outside Doha for now, since most of the international contractors and GCC ones are coming to Doha. Why should we go and start spreading ourselves somewhere else where we don't know the field or the outcome?

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