We chat with Mr. Rene schumann
TPG: How long have you personally been working for Hochtief in the Middle East – and in particular Qatar and how have you seen the market evolve over that time?
René Schumann: I started in the Middle East in 2007 with ViCon’s first BIM project here in Qatar – The BARWA Commercial Avenue. The Hochtief ViCon Qatar company was launched in 2009 and I took on the responsibility of Managing Director. In 2007 BIM was new in Qatar and nobody was aware of its capabilities; this has changed completely. Now there is a good market understanding and major organisations and bigger projects are requiring BIM as a standard for design and construction services.
TPG: What would you say are the key factors in the company’s success in Qatar?
RS: Close relationships with the construction community and a local presence. We consider a lifecycle approach and follow an overall implementation concept that is software neutral. With our four components (processes, people, technology and policy) we are a unique consultant in this market. Furthermore, we are demanding; we challenge ourselves with every new requirement or client expectation.
TPG: Which projects are you particularly proud of?
RS: All our projects are chosen wisely and make us proud. We have a variety of different and interesting projects around the globe. Each project is unique and we cannot do it twice. But if I was to be pinned down, perhaps the Elbphilharmonic Concert Hall in Hamburg and the Lusail Project in Doha.
TPG: What are you working on at the present time?
RS: We have running projects in different regions and are focused on the Middle East, Europe and North America. Our main projects here in Qatar are the Lusail City Development, where we have been involved for the past five years, the Doha Metro Project, and the Doha Expressway Program.
In addition, knowledge transfer is one of our main principles and so our BIM User Days’ event series, which we have established in collaboration with Qatar University as a knowledge platform, is a first step to identify the needs of the academic sector, as well as the industry. Furthermore, in May 2014, we will start a research and development project in collaboration with Qatar University and Teesside University, focusing on the development of BIM protocols for the local Qatari market.
TPG: What do you consider to be the biggest challenges that face Qatar today and over the next 10 years?
RS: We can only answer this question in relation to our services. The Qatar market is generally open for new technologies and new methodologies to enhance success in business. This is a cornerstone for the change the industry has to execute in order to deliver the ambitious projects for the FIFA World Cup and the Qatar Vision 2030 on time. The main challenges we face in projects are the missing common BIM understanding and BIM experiences. There is currently limited opportunity for professionals to receive training and build up their knowledge on BIM. Many companies understand BIM as a technology only. This is not correct. BIM is a new method to deliver design and construction projects, as well as maintenance services.
TPG: What do you think makes Hochtief ViCon stand out from its competitors?
RS: Our clients can answer this question best. But I would say that we are a strong, locally experienced and committed team in Qatar. We are always aiming to provide amazingly simple solutions and share our knowledge with our clients and other involved project stakeholders. Our slogan is ‘Build Digitally First’.