As Qatar’s business sector continues to mobilise itself to achieve the goals of Qatar’s 2030 Vision and in particular to prepare for FIFA 2022, the legal regime applicable to engineering and architectural services is of particular interest to various stakeholders, both foreign and Qatari. In this article, we summarise Law No. 12 of 2014 (the Engineering Amendment), which amends Law No. 19 of 2005 (the Engineering Law).

The Engineering Amendment was published in the Gazette on February 16th, 2014 and became effective on approximately April 26th, 2014, and it commences by providing new definitions and amendments to existing definitions contained in the law, including:

• The term ‘Board of Directors’ of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) is replaced by the term ‘Council of Ministers’. It is understood that there was in fact no ‘Board of Directors’ constituted by the MMUP.
• The term ‘Engineering Professions’ was defined anew as follows: “The engineering activities practiced by those qualified in the divisions and branches of the specialisations of architectural, civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering, mines and mining and the various other fields of engineering.”
• The term ‘Engineering Consultancies’ was defined anew as follows: “The works of preparing architectural and constructional drawings, diagrams, designs, surveying, and diagramming; supervising over performance; giving advice; conducting feasibility studies; estimating costs and computing quantities and managing projects in the various engineering professions.”
• A definition of ‘Engineer in Charge’ was added as follows: “The Engineer responsible for giving opinion on the engineering and technical matters, signing and certifying designs and contracts and engineering and technical works carried out by local and international Engineering Consultancy Offices.”

The Engineering Amendment also reconstituted the “Committee for the Enrolment and Categorisation of Engineers and Engineering Consultancy Offices” (the PEC) such that the Urban Planning and Development Authority and Q-tel no longer nominate members to the PEC. Under the reconstituted PEC, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are to be nominated by the MMUP, and the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Qatar University each nominate a member to the PEC (in addition to the other members which remain unchanged).

The period of enrolment for engineers was extended from two years to three years. In case of non-renewal, the Engineering Amendment implements a tiered approach such that warnings and fines are assessed prior to an engineer’s deletion from the relevant register.

The Engineering Amendment also exempts Qatari faculty members who hold a PH.D. and teach engineering at a Qatari university from the prohibition against public officials or employees from being owners or employees of engineering consultancy offices.

Penalties and fines for engineers and engineering consultancy offices that are deemed to have violated the Engineering Law have also been amended. Engineers may now be fined an amount not exceeding QAR 10,000 (previously no fine was applicable), and the fine assessable to engineering consultancy offices was increased from QAR 50,000 to a fine not exceeding QAR 100,000. However, in certain cases contained in Article 33 of the Engineering Law as amended, a fine not exceeding QAR 100,000 may be assessed (previously QAR 50,000) in addition to imprisonment up to three years.

Most interestingly, the Engineering Amendment permits the Minister of the MMUP (the previous version of the law granted the same authority to the un-constituted Board of Directors of the MMUP) to grant engineers and engineering consultancy offices performing contracts for the government an exemption from the requirements of the Engineering Law for the period of the contract.

It is not clear in the Engineering Amendment on what basis the Minister of the MMUP may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Engineering Law; however, we are aware that an exemption will usually only be granted for highly specialised works such as those involved in the oil and gas industry as opposed to civil engineering works for which many capable parties in Qatar are licensed. In our view, any exemption will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may not lead to the exemption of foreign branches registered by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce from compliance with the Engineering Law and its registration requirements.

Note: All Qatari laws (save for those issued by, eg the QFC to regulate its own business) are issued in Arabic and there are no official translations; therefore, for purposes of drafting this article Clyde & Co has used its own translation and interpreted the same in the context of Qatari laws, regulation and current market practice.

Clyde & Co LLP
Qatar Financial Centre, West Bay, Doha, Qatar
PO Box 31453
Tel: (974) 4496 7434
Fax: (974) 4496 7412
Email: laura.warren@clydeco.com
ramiz.shlah@clydeco.com
Website: /www.clydeco.com

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