A CHARTERED Surveyor from Peebles has spoken of his pride at his role in the ‘mega project’ construction of the Al Bayt Stadium in the State of Qatar where the opening ceremony and first match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will take place.

On Sunday, the eyes of the world will be on the stadium and Ian Thomson led the construction and consultant teams in delivering the stadium ready for the inaugural FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 that took place in November/December 2021 and ultimately the full handover to FIFA for the World Cup in February of this year.

The stadium is scheduled to hold nine fixtures and Ian is convinced that the tournament will be a success.

He said: “I became involved in Al Bayt shortly after construction commenced in late 2015 with my role concluding in February this year and have been proud to have been involved in and ultimately led the teams that delivered the largest sports project in the world.

“The stadium takes it’s name from Bayt Al Sha’ar which were the tents used by nomadic peoples both in Qatar and the Gulf Region and in Arab culture is a symbol of warm hospitality and welcome for those passing through the desert.

“The stadium is constructed on a man-made mound which raises it by 18m above the desert floor and with the peak of the roof rising a further 100m can be seen from over 20km away.

“At each of the East & West access bridges to the stadium there are braziers that, when lit, traditionally offered a welcome to travellers and now offer the same to supporters.

"These braziers were manufactured near Adelaide, South Australia, and flown over for installation and testing. 

“The patterns on the tent and the inner linings follow traditional weaving patterns called sadu.

"The tent fabric around the Stadium has become the largest Bayt Al Sha’ar in the world.

"The fabric components, which forms a woven fibreglass membrane (PTFE), were sourced in France and Germany and woven together in Turkey.

"Much like our own tartans, the fabric has been named Naseej Al Bayt.

Border Telegraph:

“The project was not just the stadium but the provision of an extensive parkland area with water features, lakes, gardens, jogging and cycling tracks, exercise areas and trees together with nine restaurants and a seniors club together with tennis, padel, volleyball and basketball courts for use by the local Al Khor community after the tournament.
"The overall area of the development exceeds 1 million m². 

"While actual figures must remain confidential, I can state that the overall construction costs were in excess of £1.6 billion.

“During the construction phase there were 91 package contractors active from all around the world.

"The main stadium contractor was a joint venture between two Italian and a local Qatari contractor.

"At peak there were over 15,000 operatives active and from 24 countries around the world.

"A feature in the stadium is what is known as the 'selfie wall' where every participant on the project had their picture taken and these cover an entire wall of the circulation area and will remain for posterity. 

“The main structure is a mixture of precast concrete (387,102 m³) and steelwork (85,360t, 30,000t in the retractable and cantilevered roof) all shipped from Italy with the upper tier element being designed in order that it can be removed post-tournament and form a legacy small stadium in another part of the world.

"The stadium capacity is 67,500 but will be reduced during the tournament to around 60,000.

“There are 100 hotel suites within the stadium that will only be used as a hotel after the tournament.

"There are four team changing rooms each with their own warm-up areas and jacuzzi/hot tub recovery suite.

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“The 'air-conditioning' of the stadium and pitch is of very simple design but ensures that the players and spectators are kept cool.

"It is so efficient that whilst attending the Arab Cup Final I was 'frozen'. 

"The temperatures in Qatar during the tournament will be very pleasant with daytime around 30C dropping to 20C in the evenings.

“The pitch was laid in a record time of six hours and 41 minutes and incorporates fibre optic wiring for the VAR that will be used for the tournament which includes a sensor in the match balls.

“The stadium was one of the first World Cup stadia to receive a five-star sustainability rating and all the external parkland and car parking lights are solar-powered.

Border Telegraph:

“In addition to my day job, I was fortunate to meet and host many people from the world of sport and politics and show them around the stadium including host broadcaster, Bein Sports, a cross-party UK Parliament delegation who were visiting to look at and report on the workers' accommodation and welfare as well as stadium progress, hosting the British Ambassador to Qatar on a tour of the Stadium together with other ‘celebrities’ from football, music and showbusiness.

“I hope that this gives everyone a taste of Al Bayt Stadium as it prepares to host nine matches in the tournament from group matches through until the semi-final and I am sure that Qatar will deliver a unique World Cup tournament.”