Qatar more expensive to build than the UK – report

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Construction workers from Bangladesh take a break near new highrise office buildings and hotels still under construction in the new City Center and West Bay district on 24 October 2010 in Doha, Qatar. Photo – The Majalla

Despite a fall in construction costs over the past year, Qatar is still an expensive place to build compared to the UK, new research said on Monday.

According to the annual EC Harris International Construction Costs Report, the UK is the 15th most expensive country to build out of 53 countries, down from 13th last year. The survey firm ranked each country according to the cost of construction.

The UK, compared to other states across Europe, is the eighth most expensive country in terms of construction costs, up from ninth in 2011, meaning expenses in the UK jumped this year.

Switzerland, despite the falling value of the Swiss franc, is the most expensive country for construction costs across all 53 countries, with Denmark in second place.

The EC Harris study said construction costs are substantially higher in the UAE and Qatar compared to Saudi Arabia, though expenditures have risen by over 10% during the last 12 months. Most countries across the region depend heavily on cheap labour from South Asia, which is continuing to keep construction prices in check. The report also noted that the growing demand for cheap labour, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could create a skills shortage that may see prices escalate in the UAE.

“Those countries that are least constrained by debt problems are continuing to invest in construction activities to help fuel their continued growth,” Mathew Riley, group head of cost and commercial at EC Harris, said.

“In such a scenario the volume of work undertaken is creating an increased demand for both commodities and skills, which is inevitably driving costs upwards. In markets like Qatar and Canada where capital investment has been focused on long-term infrastructure projects, there will be a sustained pipeline of work which is likely to see construction costs rise even further on both a short and medium term basis,” he added.

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