Delivery time of formwork materials is as important as engineering
In an exclusive interview with QCN, Ralf Bürger, managing director, Doka Qatar, shares details about the company’s presence in Qatar, and solutions it offers for Qatar’s growing construction sector.
Amstetten-based Doka Group, which offers formwork and engineering solutions, expanded its operations into the Middle East region with the opening of its first office in Kuwait in 1977. With more than 160 sales and logistics facilities in over 70 countries, Doka currently has an efficient distribution network that ensures that equipment and technical support are provided swiftly and professionally. Doka’s first project in Qatar was a water tank in 1998, and since then it has grown step by step to eventually offer all services in 2002, when the company opened its office here. “We have grown ever since and we currently have 46,000 square metres of office, yard and warehouse facilities here at the Light Industries Area in Mesaieed,” says Ralf Bürger, who took charge as the managing director of Doka Qatar in 2012. He says Qatar is a booming market in the building and construction industry, which makes it very important for Doka. “We have over 100 branches worldwide, and we are active across the Gulf. In the region, we see Qatar as one of our most important operations,” he adds.
Doka, which mainly offers formwork solutions, is a market leader in high-rise buildings, but Bürger says, they have executed various other projects, right from small to large buildings, tunnels, and bridges. “I would say our greatest service is not our product, but our engineering – our knowledge in what we do and on what we deliver to our clients.”
Bürger adds that the company has large warehouse and yard facilities that are capable of storing materials in large volumes. “The availability of our materials is a big advantage,” he says. The company is also capable of manufacturing formwork panels in its yard instead of doing it on site.
“Another thing that I would like to highlight in this regard is the quality of our people. Our human resource department at our headquarters takes special care of the education of our people. We have highly skilled people from all over the world, and every year, we offer them specialised and individual training, because we want to have the best team possible,” explains Bürger, who holds a degree of civil engineering and has more than 20 years of international experience in construction.
Our greatest service is not our product, but our engineering – our knowledge in what we do and on what we deliver to our clients.
Highlighting some of the key projects being done by Doka, Bürger says his company is currently working on several government projects, such as the Doha Metro, for which Doka is involved in works on several lines, including the Red Line North and South’s tunnelling, Green Line’s tunnelling, and Red Line South and Green Line’s elevated and at-grade facilities. Bürger considers this is a good opportunity to have their name among the key authorities that will lead the World Cup preparations. In order to deliver now and in the future, he points out that the most important thing is a large yard and extensive stock. “We have the larger yard, and although engineering is very important, you need to deliver your materials very fast which is the biggest benefit we can show to our clients,” he emphasises.
However, projects of such scale and complexity come with their own set of challenges. What does Doka consider as the main challenges of working in Qatar? “I think for the next few years, it will be the timing of deadlines,” says Bürger. He explains that there could be a situation when they have to deliver services at a very short notice due to time constraints. “That means we have no time to plan. However, based on years of working in Qatar and in the Middle East, we can definitely manage it. Still, that is a major endeavour at the moment, and it will be a challenge in the future,” says Bürger.
Sharing the company’s future strategy, Bürger says Doka wants to maintain its position as a market leader. “That is our challenge at the moment, and it is not easy as we are not alone,” acknowledges Bürger. In order to retain that position, the company’s strategy is to implement some more onsite services. “Doka’s engagement with customers initiates from the earliest design stage of a project through to its shell completion. With each project requirement, customers receive value-added services from us, including consulting, engineering, onsite supervision by Doka formwork instructors, sales, rental, preassembled formwork, material inspection, reconditioning and return,” he tells QCN.
According to Bürger, Doka’s ‘ready-to-use’ service plays an important part for its clients as it saves time. “Time is important, so assembling the formworks in our yard and preparing products beforehand is in high demand.
Summing up about Doka’s operations in Qatar, Bürger says, “There is a local saying here: Qatar deserves the best, and I am sure we are one of the best.”