What is the importance of heavy equipment and tools in the construction industry in Qatar?


The topic has been chosen and is important in the sense that the appropriate use of heavy equipment has implications on the progress of a construction project. There is a likelihood that the inappropriate choice of equipment may have negative implications on the performance of the construction project and the general development of a country.

The construction industry in Qatar has been transforming over the years. Although change is not new in the construction industry, there is a sense in which various changes are converging and hitting the industry collectively at once. The adoption of heavy tools and equipment in the construction industry is associated with an increase in customer value. There is an emphasis on excellence in operational scale and low-cost production. The construction equipment industry has been heavily engineering-focused, with factors such as cost and scale prioritized as competition intensifies. The rate at which countries such as Qatar are developing can partly be attributed to the use of heavy tools and equipment in construction, just as it is the trend in the rest of the countries in the UAE. For instance, it has been estimated that the projects under construction are estimated to exceed Dh 1.83 trillion ($0.5 trillion), which has registered a growth rate of about 83.4 percent (Halpin, Lucko & Senior, 2017).

The results obtained will help in addressing the gap in knowledge of the importance of leveraging heavy equipment and tools in construction within Qatar. The policymakers and industry practitioners will also be guided to focus and act on regulation of the most significant factors that are perceived to affect the efficiency of the constructers using heavy equipment and machinery in Qatar. With adequate justification on the use of heavy tools and equipment, there will be more ground to pursue the issue further in order for it to be adopted as a policy when it comes to heavy constructions. As such, the outcomes of the research will be helpful to various stakeholders such as the policymakers, the researchers (who have an opportunity to build further on this study), private and commercial contractors. The local authorities in Qatar can also leverage the report in supporting the construction endeavors. The importance of the heavy tools and equipment can be looked at from the perspective of the safety of the people and the productivity and the performance of the construction processes themselves. These are some of the factors that are explored in ascertaining the extent to which heavy tools and equipment have been important.

Research problem

Qatar as a country has experienced a boom in construction, especially during the past two decades, to the extent where the construction industry was the greatest recipient of government spending during that period of time. Constructions are still going on in and around cities on a relatively big scale. Despite the economic boost associated with these projects, there are concerns about the extent to which safety guidelines are met as the construction companies start to use heavy equipment and tools in completing these projects. The effectiveness of the heavy construction equipment has implications on construction’s cost and time of projects, and it tends to be the most important constraint for the success of a project. As such, the equipment effectiveness in meeting the construction objectives is one area of concern. Some factors cause cost overrun when it comes to construction projects, and therefore, it has been important to unveil how some of these factors are controlled when heavy equipment and tools are used in construction in Qatar. These issues determine the productivity of the constructions. There have also been huge amounts of losses associated with the use of these equipment, and some are associated with equipment breakdown or failure or the failure to adapt to proper equipment maintenance management strategy. Overly, these issues highlight the importance of heavy tools and equipment in the country’s construction industry.

Research questions

The following research questions will be used to guide the study. The research questions are aligned with the objectives of the study in the following section. They are as follows:

  1. What is the relationship between the use of heavy tools and equipment and the performance of construction projects in Qatar?
  2. How has the use of heavy equipment and tools affected the safety in the construction industry, and what are some of the general problems that are inherent, the circumstances that might have led to the problems occurring, and the lessons supposed to be learnt to improve the safety in the construction in Qatar?
  3. Finally, what are some of the ways construction equipment and tools management is leveraged in construction projects to improve productivity?

Research objectives

The first objective is to unveil the relationship between heavy tools and equipment and the performance of the construction projects in Qatar. There is also a need to assess and ascertain whether there is some improvement in the safety in the construction industry, describe some of the general problems that are inherent, the circumstances that might have led to the problems occurring, and the lessons that are supposed to be learnt to improve the safety in the construction. Finally, there is a need to ascertain how construction equipment and tools management is leveraged in construction projects to improve productivity.

Literature review

According to Halpin, Lucko, and Senior (2017), construction equipment and tools greatly impact logistics and operations. Ideally, the objective of a business or construction company is to cut down on the operations, repair, and maintain costs while at the same time ensuring that the use and utilization of the equipment are optimized. These roles have been categorized into two broad divisions, namely, strategic and operational. The constructers bear the task of determining the requirements of equipment in a given period.

A study on 20 heavy equipment companies unveils some of the factors that affect the management and the use of heavy equipment. Here, the equipment choice, appropriate design, operation, and installation were pointed out as some of the important factors that determined the productivity of the entire process. Mäki and Kerosuo (2015) also pinpointed that the performance of the construction projects has been boosted by heavy equipment and tools because they help in saving time. In this case, manual excavation can be successful and possible, but this entails a lot of workforce and time, hence derailing the amount of time taken on the entire process. Heavy machines such as excavation machines can reduce the manual labor and help in increasing the work output in a construction. Construction workers tend to rely on excavator machines. Even though the construction workers can rely on the equipment and tools, there have also been concerns whereby constriction sites can put the constructers at risk of injuries and even death. Heavy equipment and tools do some dangerous tasks, which in turn provide safety to the workers. As such, the authors recommended the need to observe safety in a construction site because unintentional deaths and accidents tend to be constant worries of many builders. Heavy tools and equipment have further been painted as having the ability to speed up the work without necessarily compromising efficiency. They heap the workers to create an increased work output and speed up completion, which in turn speeds up the economic development of the respective countries. Many construction firms have confirmed that they can complete their projects easier and faster. As a result of the promise of faster completion, a lot of builders have been able to rely on heavy equipment during every construction. The huge industrial growth in developing and developed countries has been attributed to the use of heavy machines and equipment. The construction of bridges and roads has given an opportunity for people from marginalized areas the opportunity to bridge the gap with the developed areas.

Despite the increase in the number of constructions that are taking place, there has been an increase in the fatalities and the occupational industries that are taking place every year. Compared to the other industries, the historical trends justify that the construction industry has experienced a very high rate of fatalities and disabling injuries for its size. Even though there have been improvements in occupational safety in the various regions, over the last decade, approximately 6000 people are said to lose their lives every year through the work related accidents in the GCC countries. Many others, approximately 80,000, end up with severe disabilities to such an extent that they cannot work again. The major surveys have also unveiled that people experience more physical problems in construction-related environments as compared to the former days. This dispels the belief that the use of modern tools and equipment has done away with difficulties such as the lifting of heavy objects. There are many fatalities within the industry, with thousands of major injuries and more minor injuries. Together, all these things result in lost time, which would have otherwise been used to accomplish more in the construction sites. In the year 2014, the 923 sites of accidents of grade IV and above were recorded in the countryside constructions, whereby approximately 2000 workers lost their lives, according to the Qatar Statistical Yearbook of construction (Mäki & Kerosuo, 2015). During these times, the rate of accidents was put at 3.8 per 100000 workers, while the fatality rates in these accidents were ranked at 4.5 for every 100,000 workers. These figures are alarming and draw concerns about the heavy tools and equipment used in these constructions and the safety measures taken in the use of these equipment and tools.

Other authors have also made contributions to the importance of heavy equipment and tools in construction and the various ways in which these impact productivity and other important dimensions. Some of these can be summarized as follows:

Mäki and Kerosuo (2015) used a purposive sampling technique to unveil the use of heavy equipment practices in different construction companies that were named A, B, C, D, E, F, and G to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on how heavy tools and equipment have been leveraged in the randomly selected companies. It was recommended that the construction practitioners should tap the equipment maintenance strategy in construction project maintenance strategy as part and parcel of the construction project management. This is likely to help the construction companies cut down on the construction expenses, reduce the chances of an unexpected failure, minimize the equipment’s downtime, and optimize utilization. In return, all these will increase the profitability of the construction projects.

Phadatare and Charhate (2016) suggested that the policy on the use of heavy equipment and tools has a huge impact on profitability. This is the case both for the owners of the constructions and the contractors who have more investment in the equipment. On the cost of the engineering construction projects, it has been approximated that the cost of equipment varies from 25 to 40% of the total cost of the project. The researcher noted that even though heavy tools and equipment were important in the construction, the overall use of the equipment is improved with low machine breakdown, less idling, and minimized accidents in plants, which have been able to optimize productivity.

Finally, Halpin, Lucko, and Senior (2017) noted that construction projects on a large scale need sternward equipment to ensure effective operations, especially when it comes to infrastructure development. As such, the heavy equipment and tools are a major determinant given that most of the construction being pursued is also heavy. The use of heavy equipment and tools has helped construction companies to remain competitive and optimize their productivity. Heavy equipment and tools are associated with better equipment maintainability and reliability. 

Conceptual or theoretical framework

The new construction equipment are emerging daily, and this has an effect on the methods of construction adopted for the construction activities in the various countries. The methods in which the construction activities are structured and the utilization of different equipment and tools are collectively referred to as the construction systems. The construction systems tend to be very important for the success of construction projects in various countries. According to Pan et al. (2008), an inappropriate construction system would expose the projects that have been put in place to risk. The success of most of the constructions is said to be contingent on the objectives set for the various projects. Ideally, the objectives of the constructions are normally determined by the value that is expected for the construction projects. The project teams ought to be qualified to select the available and suitable heavy tools and equipment within the right construction system. It has also been ascertained that the use of a construction system for the various construction projects is likely to lead to a better assessment of the performance of the projects and the effectiveness of the construction methods and the tools and equipment being used. There is the heuristic-based selection framework for the construction system, while other authors such as Mäki and Kerosuo (2015)  came up with a framework for selecting the appropriate conventional and industrialized construction systems for the construction projects. Again, Pan et al. (2008) came up with a decision support matrix meant to select the right construction equipment and tools for the residential constructions. Ferrada and Serpell (2013) also postulated a model that was knowledge-based for selecting the methods of construction. Finally, Nanyam et al. (2015) created a framework for evaluating construction tools and equipment for residential buildings.

The selection of the right construction system tends to be crucial for the success of the construction projects. It is important that there should be a systematic selection framework for the construction heavy tools and equipment to improve the understanding of the various construction projects to ensure that there is always the achievement of the project objectives. There is a need to utilize a systematic framework to select the tools and equipment for construction to cut down on the failure factors associated with the various projects. The framework outlines six criteria for selecting the right heavy tools and equipment for construction. This is done in light of the importance or usefulness that is likely to derive from the tools and equipment under consideration. The benefits or importance of consideration include work quality, economic viability, project complexity, safety, labor intensity, and productivity. The construction tools, equipment, and technologies entail the construction methods for the construction project. The significance of the framework is in the process of decision making for the viability of the project. The framework also tends to be applicable to all types of projects. It is likely to increase the chances of success within the constraints of the available heavy tools and equipment while at the same time underscoring the importance or benefits associated with the various tools and equipment.

 Research methodology

The research is both exploratory and causal. It is exploratory in the sense that there is a focus on the discovery of insights and ideas instead of merely collecting data.  The research here is commonly used to define the issues further, the alternative courses of action, among others. With regard to the topic, exploratory research will help in obtaining more insight on matters pertaining to the role that has been played by heavy tools and equipment in construction in Qatar. This will help in providing more significant insight into the use of the heavy tools and equipment and the benefits that have been obtained from the same, from both a narrower and a broader perspective. To some extent, the research is also causal in the sense that there is a need to determine some cause and effect relationship. In this study, the heavy machinery and equipment can be considered as a variable that has some effects on the various aspects of construction, such as the productivity of the construction and the equipment contractors, matters pertaining to the safety of the workers and the users of the buildings, and the performance of the projects.

The approach being used in this case is the deductive research approach. In this regard, the research is going to be built on the existing theory. Reasoning deductively will therefore mean testing some of these theories. Some already existing theories about the importance of heavy equipment and tools in construction have been pointed out in the literature review section above. There will be an attempt to test the hypothesis on the existing theory. Some data will then be collected in order to test the hypothesis. The results will then be subjected to an analysis to determine whether the data reject or support the hypotheses. In this case, what is being studied is what others have already done; therefore, there is nothing new that research is attempting to unveil. There is only an attempt to study the phenomena of what is already existing. There exist various theoretical frameworks that the research is striving to lean on, some of which have been discussed in the section above. The research is likely to adopt a mixed-method approach because there is a need to ascertain some causal relationship, and therefore it is both quantitative and qualitative.

The data collection process will take into consideration both secondary and primary data. In this case, the basic sources of data will entail secondary and primary sources of data. Secondary data will be obtained from the observation checklists, literature reviews, and other documentation that will be available from the identified 15 construction companies from Qatar. Primary data will be obtained from the interviews and questionnaires.  The questionnaires and interviews will consist of both closed-ended and open-ended questions. The questionnaires will cover three important parts, namely the general data and the respondents’ different perceptions about the importance of the heavy equipment-related factors that affect the performance of the construction companies, the safety associated with the various tools and equipment used in construction, among other factors.

In data analysis, a basic correlational analysis will be done to determine the relationship between the use of heavy equipment and tools and the productivity levels associated with the use of the equipment and tools. The qualitative data will be put into categories to seek common themes. According to Yates and Leggett (2016), substantive categories in data analysis can be used in coming up with more general theories of what is happening. After the common themes have been identified in their substantive categories, there is a need to interpret the data to answer the research questions. The coded themes make it possible to identify the importance of using the various heavy tools and equipment in construction. The table below gives a summary of the research process.

Fig 1: The research process

A sample size of about 60 participants from 15 companies will be ideal. For the data collection, simple random sampling will be used, as most of the important stakeholders from the selected companies will be required to complete the questionnaires. Simple random sampling is actually the basic sampling technique where each participant is only chosen by chance. Every person has an equal chance of being selected for the study. This will only apply at the company level, from which four members have to be selected from each. Probability sampling of this nature is necessary in order to be able to generalize the outcomes to the other contexts.

Given the respondents’ demographics, the respondents’ designation will be expected to be upper management, technical staff, safety personnel, and middle management. The upper management respondents will include the directors, managing directors, senior project managers, and project managers. The respondents in the middle management will include the assistant general managers and the general managers. The safety auditors will include safety auditors, safety supervisors, safety officers, and safety managers. The technical staffs include the clerk-of-works, the site coordinators, and the supervisors. However, the study will not be restricted to these groups as long as the respondents amount to 90 participants across any of the above categories. The respondents should have an average working experience of about 12 years in the construction industry.

 Scope and limitation of the research

The study will only be limited to the construction companies in Qatar. As such, it may not be possible to generalize the findings to the rest of the Middle East countries. The sample used may also not be statistically representative to depict the ideal picture of the relationship between the use of heavy tools and equipment and the productivity and performance of constructions. Other limitations entail bias on the part of participants and failure by the researcher to give standardized interview questions or questionnaires. This will be overcome by careful interview/questionnaire questions, a blueprint for interview questions to ensure consistency, and the use of the quant data to focus the discussions.

Research ethics

The anonymity of the study will be upheld by removing the name of any contributor. There will be acronyms that will be used to identify people or other titles such as gender, age, or length of service that can be used to identify the participants. The prospective participants will be required to give full consent. If any participant chooses not to participate or continue participating, they can stop at any point, without repercussions. The solicitation will be done by meeting with the leadership of the prospective participants’ company and sensitizing participants about the need for the study and the specific actions required of them if they choose to participate (Rani & Sharma, 2012). All data will be kept only by the researcher, not shared, and kept in a locked drawer or kept in a password-protected file in the case of electronic data. Consent will also be sought to access the required documents.

 Time frame (Gant Chart)

Fig 2: Gannt chart

 The study is expected to run for approximately 8 months. The process of seeking permission from prospective participants and collection of data is likely to take the longest time.



Ferrada, X., and Serpell, A., 2013. Using organizational knowledge for the selection of construction methods. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.

Ferreda, X., Serpell, A., and Skibniewski, M. 2013. Selection of construction methods: A knowledge-based approach. The Scientific World Journal. DOI: 10.1155/2013/938503.

Halpin, D. W., Lucko, G., & Senior, B. A. 2017. Construction management. John Wiley & Sons.

Mäki, T., & Kerosuo, H. 2015. Site managers’ daily work and the uses of building information modelling in construction site management. Construction management and economics, 33(3), 163-175.

Nanyam, N., Basu, R., Sawhney, A., and Prasad, J. K. 2015. Selection framework for evaluating housing technologies. Procedia Engineering, Elsevier, 123: 333 – 341.

Pan, W., Gibb, A. G. F., and Dainty, A. R. J. 2008. A decision support matrix for build system selection in housing construction. International Journal for Housing Science and its Application, 32(1): 61-79.

Phadatare, D. B., & Charhate, S. B. 2016. Impact of Construction Equipment’s on Building Site Productivity. International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, 7(4).

Rani, R., & Sharma, R.K. 2012. Ethical considerations in research. International Journal of Education, 4(1), 45-48. Retrieved from https//www.i-scholar.in › index.php › ijne ›article › view

Yates, J., & Leggett, T. 2016. Qualitative research: An introduction. Radiologic Technology, 88(2), 225-231. Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Yates,+J.,+%26+Leggett,+T.+(2016).+Qualitative+research:+An+introduction.+Radiologic+Technology,+88(2),+225231.&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

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