Director of £3.5bn Doha scheme says British will continue to snap up work over next five years

British construction companies “continue to have the edge” when it comes to international firms winning work in Qatar, says the development director of one of the country’s biggest clients.

John Rose of Msheireb Properties - the firm behind the $5.5bn (£3.5bn), 31ha Downtown Doha project, which will create an entirely new part of the city comprising more than 100 buildings - said there was “a lot of respect” for British firms in Qatar.

He said: “British firms got here first. I said to some Spanish firms who came out to Qatar recently, ‘You are about 20 years too late - 20 years behind the British’.”

The Downtown Doha project was masterplanned by Aecom, Arup and Allies & Morrison. The first of five phases, which will involve the creation of a new quarter for Doha’s government buildings, is due to completed by the end of this year. All but one of the architects involved in designing the first phase were British-based firms.

Rose said opportunities for UK contractors, consultants and subcontractors would continue over the next five years as the work built up. He added that a UK construction delegation to the country before Christmas included “every major UK contractor and architect”.

“They were out here talking about opportunities and there is a lot of interest here in working alongside them,” he said.

The package for the main building work on the third phase of the Downtown Doha project, which comprises retail, commercial and cultural and leisure work, is expected to be awarded in May this year.

Issa M Al Mohannadi, chief executive of Msheireb Properties and founder and chair of the Qatar Green Building Council, said Qatar was embracing sustainability and green technology and that Downtown Doha could become the largest collection of sustainable buildings in the world.

He added that UK expertise would also be called on forthe design and construction of the venues and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

As revealed in Building last month, ODA chairman John Armitt has already visited Qatar to discuss UK involvement in the World Cup construction.

Downtown Doha

  • 280,000m2 commercial and government offices
  • 94,000m2 retail
  • 117,000m2 hotels
  • 222,000m2 residential
  • 47,000m2 community and cultural schemes
  • 120,000m2 of parks and open space