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Qatar’s towering building costs

Construction costs highest in Qatar

State is most expensive in the Middle East to build in, reveals report.

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September 10, 2013 12:28 by



The 2013 International Construction Costs Report, released yesterday by global built asset consultancy, EC Harris, measured building costs in 47 countries and revealed that Qatar was the most expensive country in the Middle East to build in.

It also revealed that costs across the world have been affected by currency fluctuations throughout the year. With Gulf currencies “closely tracking” the US dollar, the impact of these fluctuations across the GCC region has been minimal.

Nick Smith, head of cost and commercial Middle East at EC Harris, says that Qatar’s construction market is relatively small and is historically associated with a steady rate of development.

“All of this is about to change with a set of major programmes linked to the 2030 National Plan and the 2022 Qatar World Cup. This investment programme includes major elements of social infrastructure, transport and energy to support population growth and economic diversification,” he adds.

Smith continues: “In 2013 we are seeing a more broadly based recovery in the Gulf markets, with a general shift towards increased spending on social infrastructure in the wake of the Arab Spring and positive signs emerging that the construction markets in the UAE are set for recovery.”

The preparations for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar is the most obvious manifestation of accelerated growth, according to Smith, adding that the emerging recovery in the UAE is also particularly significant.

According to the study, the highlights of the UAE’s construction market include major transportation infrastructure schemes, including: the Abu Dhabi light rail, the start of work on major projects previously cancelled in 2008 and the re-start of stalled residential schemes.

“The UAE is one of the Gulf’s larger construction markets and the pipeline of projects is increasingly strong. However, if the UAE does stage a recovery, it will be competing with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar for resources,” adds Smith.

The top 20 most expensive countries to build in are:

1. Hong Kong
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Sweden
5. Macau
6. Australia
7. Japan
8. France
9. Singapore
10. Belgium
15. Qatar
20. UAE



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