October 22, 2021

How engineering firm Coastal has been a beacon of Qatar’s self-sufficiency at World Cup 2022 projects

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Qatar have encouraged local firms to get involved with the World Cup 2022 projects and the approach has produced good results…

In many ways, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been a story of self-sufficiency amid quite a few challenges including an economic blockade and a global pandemic. 

The Middle-East nation has found ways to deliver world-class facilities, relying on its own resources and expertise, for the global footballing extravaganza. 

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has already managed to unveil four of the eight planned venues for the World Cup. While work on the fifth stadium is complete, it is progressing on schedule at the remaining three. 

And playing a key role in the work at these stadiums is Qatari engineering firm Coastal, which incidentally is headed by CEO Nishad Azeem who hails from Kochi, India. Coastal, established in 1979, is a leading engineering firm in Qatar and has played a huge role in developing Doha into a sporting hub of the area, right from 2006 when the Asian Games was held there. 

For the 2022 World Cup, Coastal played a key role in the redevelopment of the Khalifa International stadium where they were involved in the fabrication, supply and delivery of secondary structural steel work and cladding. 

But more importantly, the firm installed premium hospitality seats and seats for the redeveloped accessibility areas in the stadium. This meant that SC, in 2017, tasked Coastal with the job of installing spectator seats for six more World Cup venues – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Education City Stadium, Lusail Stadium and Ras Abu Aboud Stadium. 

And so far, the results have been spectacular.

“For Al Janoub, you see the sea waves, or at Ahmad Bin Ali, you have the lion’s head. All these colour patterns were developed by Coastal at a very early stage,” Coastal’s Project Manager, Emad Izmegna, told sc.qa in an interview. 

“We provided a few options to SC management and officials, and they selected the colour patterns you see now in the stadiums. We then manufactured the seats accordingly.”

They started from scratch and now have the capacity to produce 600 seats per day at the company’s highly-sophisticated manufacturing facility. They were supported financially by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) inline with Qatar’s National Vision 2030 in promoting local manufacturing. 

“When we were awarded the contracts, rather than become an agency for the seats or become a trader, we wanted to add value and do something that is made in Qatar. We wanted the fans to feel the pride of sitting in Made in Qatar seats. And when you export it outside to other countries, having the name Qatar on it was something we were excited about,” said Nishad Azeem, the CEO. 

“Of course, it was a huge challenge. The manufacturing wasn’t there, the eco-system wasn’t there. A lot of people were laughing at us saying we don’t have the technology, machinery or know-how. When we proposed the idea of building the seats in Qatar, we had huge support from the SC. The vision of the leadership to support and promote the local companies and contribute towards the growth of the country and the World Cup was commendable. 

“It was a brave decision from SC to give a company without a manufacturing capability the contract but we built that and we have delivered on schedule and hopefully, we continue to do that with the remaining stadiums as well.”

And Coastal’s manufacturing also takes care in implementing sustainable practices which sits in with SC’s vision for Qatar 2022 as well. 

“We don’t waste anything from the plastic,” said Azeem. “Sometimes, we have rejections, or when we are changing colours, we have some seats that end up being mixed colours. All that is recycled and we have a team that does all that.”