The Sustainable Targets Of Qatar Construction Essay

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This part identifies the outcomes and findings of the research, based on the literature review and the questionnaire analysis, in order to reach the target of the research objectives. The aim of the research is to find the best practices for applying the sustainable construction in Qatar in the construction phase, through presenting the importance of sustainability, and highlighting the main projects in the country. The field survey analysis results are summarized here to give help in finding the best solutions that match the research objectives.

Policies of Qatar is looking to move the country to be in the level as an advanced country, for that Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV) came in the year 2008 to explain the strategy which based on (Human, Social, Economic and environmental) development. In the short term the National Development Strategy 2011-2016 is aligned with QNV goals to work with different business and industrial sectors for their current programs development and improvement.

Qatar is hosting and participating in the most important conferences about sustainability in general, and the ones related to construction side in specific, such as the annual Qatar Sustainability Conference where local and international companies are participating In the new research papers, projects.

The main facilities are being built in Qatar

The country is witnessing a boom in the construction industry, specially After the declaration for Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the government plan is to invest over $150 billion in the infrastructure projects and the real estate sector. Twelve stadia are planned to be constructed within the next ten years, extension and improvement for the sewage pipelines, and new roads and rail way networks are under construction to connect the local areas with each other, and also to connect Qatar with the neighboring countries.

Large construction growing is also taking place to build new cities with all kinds of facilities, that aims not only to fulfill the need of increasing need for new accommodation, but also to create new pieces of art in Qatari projects designs that would be attractive for refreshing the tourism sector. In order to integrate the success and prosperity in different vital area in the country a new international airport is being built on the highest standards of sustainability aspects includes all phases of the project life time, and latest airports technology which help Doha to cope with high demand of passengers capacity.

Some other projects are being planned in the sectors of: Educational, Health care, tourism and energy. Which shows Qatar as one of the fastest growing countries not only in the region, but also in the whole world. These all new projects designs and planning are followed up by the different governmental parties which are concerned to guarantee the highest level of technical and sustainable performance.

How Qatari construction projects follow sustainability, and what are the best-practices ?

In the construction industry Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) has created the criteria for the built environment which aims to achieve sustainability in different dimensions during all the construction phases to minimize the ecological impact, it has been collected from the international standards like LEED and BREEAM and many others, then adopted to suit to the local environment. Certificates are issued for people and organizations who passes the membership requirements. The future plan of QSAS is to spread there standards and regulations within the middle east region.

Another part which plays a primary role in the Qatari construction industry is the QGBC Qatar Green Building Council, which work with the government to support the adaptation and application of sustainable construction by providing the best practices guidelines, through increasing the awareness of people about sustainability in the construction industry through training sessions and consultation regarding different kinds of projects.

Sustainable aspects that are followed in-site

The questionnaire research has given information about the sustainable practices followed in the construction site. According to the opening questions where respondents general information are determined the analysis based on making responses in categories according to their field of work. Categories are companies specialized working in:

Public projects

Residential buildings

Commercial and Industrial buildings

Roads and pavements

Infrastructures

General construction works

Others: where respondents here represent those who work in Oil and gas sector, and others work in the research and development field.

Responses came from different types of working positions in the industry, the analysis showed that majority of the sample are engineers, who work in medium size to large companies which have been working in the industry for more than 10 years.

Results showed that generally firms working in different kinds of building construction are more familiar and faster to adapt sustainable practices in their works than roads and infrastructure companies, with a general believe that sustainable construction is higher costly trend, High cost represent an obvious barrier for sustainability in construction; because of Qatar is not an industrial country, so most of the products and special systems needed in the construction work are being imported, as well as different equipments & technologies that are needed to achieve the target, additional cost of transportation is on the capital cost for that reason. Professionals in different sectors were with the idea that sustainable construction is a way for achieving more competitive advantage in the market, but they were conservative to consider it a more complicated action.

The research found that more than half of the companies are aware of the materials selection, looking for local products, and taking the benefit of using durable, reusable and recyclable materials. The main struggle here is that companies keen to find sustainable materials sometimes face the difficulty to find the needed material with certain features; because there is only one or limited suppliers, which means that the company or sometimes the designer will accept what is available the market.

Professionals in the Qatari construction industry answers ranked the reasons of high energy consumption during the construction as follows :

Lack of knowledge

Lack of top management interest

No obligations for saving energy

Fast tracking principles

Low cost of fuel

Low cost of electricity

Policies of saving energy are only applied in half of the sample's companies but minimal in the residential sector. Few projects use wind and solar energy to generate power but other renewable energy sources are rarely used in the Qatari projects.

In the planning phase for projects, studies for equipments required in the construction are highly being done to get matching between the work needs and equipments capabilities which guarantee higher efficiency.

Results of the research illustrated that building sector companies have is slightly interested to educate employees or train them on the sustainable construction practices, infrastructures and roads sector are the minimal concerned, in addition that this sector offers the least clean and healthy work place.

Through study results, it is found that the concept of formulating waste management plan (WMP) in construction companies is broadly used, but following this plan in the real work life is not performed all the time, infrastructures sector is the least. During the construction time revision for plans and designs are occurred to minimize materials waste, this is done by most of the engineering companies in Qatar, but roads and pavements companies lay in the bottom of the list.

Regarding water subject, from the research it is found that consumption in construction projects is efficiently controlled inside facilities like: (offices, accommodations, toilets) which researcher gave it the name of the internal environment, and this is more better than the external one - construction site - at which water is less controlled.

Construction site professionals represented some sustainable practices they perform in their projects, screening the site to stop dust spreading to maintain the cleanness and to protect the materials inside. Covering building materials to protect it from being taken by the wind or rains, as well as avoiding the toxic and hazardous materials. But negative practices are still to some extent occurred such as burning materials or products package in the site instead to send it for recycling and the careless about preventing erosion and minimizing land disturbance. Companies specialized in roads and infrastructure works are the most of making ecological study of the project location.

The results showed that most of the professionals in different sectors agree with the idea to have the workers and engineering staff accommodation close to the site, which reduces the cost of transportation and minimizing the risk and dangers on the roads. The exception was the highways companies which depend more on equipments than the labor force.

On the same point one of the observations in a company showed that certain calculations were made to find the cost of keeping the workers accommodation in a place that was around 17 km far from the project location, but with a reasonable price for water supply , instead of having a new very close place of housing with higher water price. The decision was made according to the cost issue, although the result would support the sustainable concept, but environmental or human considerations were not in mind during the decision dimensions.

Referring to the research analysis, few construction companies are committed to assess sustainable practices during the construction phase in a regular base, at the same time they have given a degree of agreement that Qatari regulations encourage and regulate sustainability in the construction field.

The major defects and good solutions

Through research it was identified that the term sustainable construction is generally not clear enough to stakeholders in the Qatari construction industry; because many professionals connect it only with the environmental issues, without having the knowledge to take social and economical aspects into consideration.

The next point is the disintegration in sustainable objectives between different parts of the project. it is supposed that designers are striving for a certain level of sustainability, then contractors and operators should work within the same stream of sustainability.

Lack of interest depending on renewable sources of energy. Although the Qatari government raises the prices of fuel and electricity when it is sold to the construction projects; in order encourage companies to avoid the misuse of energy, but the trend toward using solar or wind energy systems are still limited.

Barriers to implement sustainability concepts in projects, and what are the suggested solutions

Applying sustainable construction and good practices in Qatar face some defects related to the top management of some companies, the research showed that the concept of sustainability is not in the main priorities in some organizations management, and even if it is found, sometimes it confronts resistance from other individuals in the pretext of the extra cost and effort, in addition to skills and educational level that employees should provide. For that it is recommended that a third party should be responsible about monitoring the sustainable policies of the companies, assuring the understanding an evolvement of different stakeholders, as well as following the applicability level in the projects in different phases.

The initial cost of deployment is another factor for companies reluctance applying sustainable practices. Although many studies have proved that the total cost during the construction life cycle will be less in the case of applying sustainable concepts, but companies consider the responsibility would be on another part after finishing the construction.

6.2 Recommendations

Through the research some recommendations are suggested to be considered on the private and governmental sectors:

6.2.1 Private side

A clear sustainable plan should be sit before design and construction works started, this plan shows the main objectives and priorities regarding sustainability in the project, and discusses the conditions of practices during the construction and operational stages.

To increase the level of coordination between design and technical team in a side and the construction management staff in the other side, that will increase the understanding of sustainable goals, and challenges would be easier to over come.

To embed the sustainable key performance indicators in the decision making and strategic planning in the projects.

One of the techniques that is now available to reduce the dust and sand storms around the construction site is by using dust control polymers. As shown in figure (6.1) the suppression chemical is sprayed over the soil surface, forming larger drops that is able to attract larger number of dust particles, that increases the weight for each single drop to be carried by the air stream, that will increase soil stabilization and give a higher depression.

Figure 6. : Smaller liquid particles colloid dust particles [1] 

Taking the benefit of the nanotechnology in the construction materials, which proved positive results in providing lighter in weight and more durable products when used in the production of different industries: concrete, metals, glass, paintings and many others.

6.2.2 Government side

To encourage companies adapting sustainable actions by offering them incentives through rewarding policies, which stimulate companies to compete toward applying the best practices. Then to identify benchmarks in the industry which would be reference for others.

Regular inspection for level of commitment to the regulations and guidelines in the construction companies, in-site concrete plants and ready mix concrete manufactories.

Water desalination using solar power, Although in the current time it is not so costly in Qatar to use fossil fuel as a source of energy to desalinate water, but it is not a sustainable method due to the negative impact on the environment, and it is not the best way on the long term when fuel increasingly becoming scarce. Because Qatar lays in a good to excellent sun radiant zone then using solar power to desalinate sea water is one of the big solutions to offer a sustainable energy source. This idea will help not only in finding a clean and sustainable solution, but also will help avoiding the overexploitation of ground water ( [2] ).

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