Posted on July 15, 2016

As oppressive weather conditions continue in Qatar, a number of construction firms are deploying their personnel for outdoor work in the evening or the early hours of the day, according to sources. 

Gulf Times has learnt, through queries made over the past few days, that these firms have partially or completely shifted outdoor activities to the evening or early morning. Some of these companies are undertaking large-scale projects in Doha and beyond. The change in schedule has provided relief to the workers as they do not have to toil during the daytime, when temperatures hover around the mid-upper 40C levels. It also ensures the smooth and efficient delivery of construction duties as conditions are more bearable in the late-evening hours, which makes things easier for the workers and boosts productivity, the sources point out.

A midday work ban is implemented in Qatar every year during the peak summer months. Under a ministerial directive, no outdoor work is allowed between 11.30am and 3pm during this period, which runs from mid-June until the end of August. To further ease conditions for workers, some companies have introduced shifts that begin after 7pm or around 2-2.30am, it is found. While working in the daytime heat cannot be avoided if the shift begins at 2.30am, which continues until 10.30-11am when it is already quite hot, the workers still get some relief as they do not have to report for duty in the afternoon (after 3pm), when the temperature is generally higher than in the morning hours and the conditions are worse, according to the sources.

A senior supervisor of a firm engaged in a major road project on the western side of the Industrial Area said they initially wanted to start work early in the day during the peak summer months but workers expressed their preference for evening hours. So, all activities were shifted to the evening, generally after 7pm. “Our findings are that the combined work output has been remarkably better and the results have been encouraging since the timings were changed. Hopefully, this schedule will continue in the coming years also. At present, work is going on smoothly without any hindrance,” he added.

Meanwhile, the representative of a company working on electricity-related projects voiced similar views. “Now, there is only one straight shift at most of our sites, with work beginning at 2.30am getting over by 11am,” he noted. At some of the sites outside Doha city, his company has deployed workers only for a shift beginning at 7.30pm, queries found. One of the advantages of the revised timings, besides providing relief to those who have to work on outdoor projects, is that the staff transporting such workers between their accommodation and the site also get sufficient rest. It also takes less time to transport workers from the site to their accommodation as there is negligible traffic on the roads at around 2.30am.