State rail firm wins contract for 2022 World Cup Stadium

By Li Xuanmin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/30 23:18:41

China Railway Construction Co (CRCC) has won a 5.17 billion yuan ($751 million) contract to build the main stadium for Qatar's 2022 World Cup, the first time a Chinese company to serve as the main contractor for a World Cup venue, according to a statement on CRCC's website on Wednesday.

A joint venture formed by State-owned CRCC and Qatar-based HBK Contracting was chosen by Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy as the main contractor for Qatar's iconic Lusail Stadium, where the opening ceremony and final match of the 2022 soccer tournament is scheduled to take place, the statement noted.

The contract has a term of 40 months. Under the agreement, a 92,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be completed in 2020. It will incorporate 45,000 square meters of membrane structure by using 100,000 tons of steel.

The venue will also be the world's largest building of membrane structure, a newly developed architecture technique for non-structural cladding.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the committee's secretary general, was quoted in the statement as saying that the committee is "delighted to award the main contract for Lusail Stadium to HBK and CRCC as a joint venture … Lusail Stadium will be the centerpiece of our tournament in 2022."

The site construction work began in 2014. It is expected that the main-work contractor "will be mobilized on site" by the end of 2016, and the stadium's design and its legacy concept will be revealed in 2017, Gulf Business reported on Tuesday, citing Thawadi.

Considering the relatively short period for construction work, concerns have been raised over whether the stadium can be completed as scheduled.

For example, it took around 54 months to complete the 80,000-seat Beijing National Stadium, or Bird's Nest, the main stadium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, with 53,000 tons of steel used in the construction.

"Although the Bird's Nest was a more complicated project compared with Lusail Stadium, time pressure is an issue," Wu Weijia, deputy director of the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"It would be much better if the local contractor has produced supporting facilities," he said.

Cooling technology also poses a challenge, as average high temperatures in Qatar are 41 C in the middle of the year, Wu noted.

Six companies participated in the bidding, including well-known contractors from Germany, Italy, France and Spain, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday, citing Wang Lei, the principal of the project bidding group at CRCC.

The contract was awarded to CRCC after five rounds of business negotiations and nine rounds of technology negotiations, said the report.

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