Friday, October 24, 2014


English: Transmission Electron Micrograph of t...
English: Transmission Electron Micrograph of the Ebola Virus. Hemorrhagic Fever, RNA Virus. Français : Virus Ebola. Italiano: Fotografia al microscopio elettronico della trasmissione del virus Ebola. Русский: Изображение вируса Эбола полученное с помощью просвечивающей электронной микроскопии. 中文: 電子顯微鏡下的伊波拉病毒結構. Türkçe: Ebola virüsü. Føroyskt: Ebola virus, eitt (-)ssRNA virus, undir elektronmikroskopi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Then, vomiting, diarrhoea and rash usually follows, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time, generally, some people begin to bleed both internally and externally. Death, if it occurs, is typically six to sixteen days after symptoms appear and is often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss.
The virus is acquired by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected human or other animal. This may also occur by direct contact with a recently contaminated item. Spread through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. Fruit bats are believed to be the normal carrier in nature, able to spread the virus without being affected. Humans become infected by contact with the bats or a living or dead animal that has been infected by bats. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months. To diagnose EVD, other diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, cholera and other viral haemorrhagic fevers are first excluded. Blood samples are tested for viral antibodies, viral RNA, or the virus itself to confirm the diagnosis.
The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveller only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveller) to Senegal.
The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
A separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak began in Boende, Equateur, an isolated part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus causing the 2014 west African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.
Outbreak control requires a coordinated series of medical services, along with a certain level of community engagement. The necessary medical services include rapid detection and contact tracing, quick access to appropriate laboratory services, proper management of those who are infected, and proper disposal of the dead through cremation or burial. Prevention includes decreasing the spread of disease from infected animals to humans. This may be done by only handling potentially infected bush meat while wearing protective clothing and by thoroughly cooking it before consumption. It also includes wearing proper protective clothing and washing hands when around a person with the disease. Samples of body fluids and tissues from people with the disease should be handled with special caution.
No specific treatment for the disease is yet available. Efforts to help those who are infected are supportive and include giving either oral rehydration therapy (slightly sweetened and salty water to drink) or intravenous fluids. This supportive care improves outcomes. The disease has a high risk of death, killing between 25% and 90% of those infected with the virus, averaging out at 50%. EVD was first identified in an area of Sudan (now part of South Sudan), as well as in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The disease typically occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa. From 1976 (when it was first identified) through 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases. The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, which is currently affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. As of 22 October 2014, 9,964 suspected cases resulting in the deaths of 4,881 have been reported. Efforts are under way to develop a vaccine.
Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:
  • Providing intravenous fluids (IV)and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
  • Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
  • Treating other infections if they occur
  • Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive care and the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, possibly longer. It isn't known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola. Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.

Monday, October 20, 2014

MEP Fix Classification

First fix comprises all the work needed to take a building from foundation to putting plaster on the internal walls. This includes constructing walls, floors and ceilings, and inserting cables for electrical supply and pipes for water supply.

Second fix comprises all the work after the plastering to a finished house. Electrical fixtures are connected to the cables, sinks and baths connected to the pipes, and doors fitted into doorframes. Second fix work requires a neater finish than first fix.

The division of work is a convenient description because electricians, plumbers and carpenters will probably have to make two separate visits to one property under construction, at separate times. Project managers can report "first fix complete" or "second fix 50% done" and others can understand.

The installation of this equipment takes place in the "third fix" segment of a construction project. It is especially important that installation of sensitive electronic equipment be installed only when a construction site is dust-controlled and prepared for what would be considered "dust free" conditions


Plumbing (Drainage/Water Supply & Fire Fighting)

  1. First Fix: Surveying, Marking, Supports and Brackets Installation    
  2. Second Fix:
  • Stage 1: Installation of Main Plumbing Header & Branch pipe
  • Stage 2: Insulation of Branch pipe & Installation of droppers with Valve accessories
  • Stage 3: Testing of Main & Branch Pipe lines
  1. Final Fix: Installation of Hose Bib & Sanitary fixtures (All Exposed Plumbing Items)
  2. Equipment Installations: Sump Pump & Water Heater (All Plumbing Long Lead Items)



  1. First Fix: Surveying, Marking, Supports and Brackets Installation
  2. Second Fix:
  • Stage 1: Installation of Ducts/CHW/Refrigerant Pipe
  • Stage 2: Insulation of Branch Ducts/CHW/Refrigerant Pipe & Installation of droppers with Valve Accessories
  • Stage 3: Testing of Main & Branch Ducts/CHW/Refrigerant Pipe
  1. Final Fix: Installation of Grilles & Diffusers (All Exposed HVAC Items)
  2. Equipment Installations: Chillers & AHU's (All HVAC Long Lead Items)


  1. First Fix: Surveying, Marking, Supports and Brackets , install conduits & back boxes in wall
  2. Second Fix:
  1. Final Fix: Installation of Light Fixtures (All Exposed Electrical Items)
  2. Equipment Installations: HV Switch gear & DB's/SMDB's/LCP's (All Electrical Long Lead Items)

High Level Installations refers MEP Works in Ceiling Void Space
Low Level Installation refers MEP works below the false ceiling board enclosure
Generally MEP Risers are given more importance .It has separate WBS named Risers in which respective risers are mentioned it is not classified in to fixes

L is for Lien

English: Contractor-led design-build, architec...
English: Contractor-led design-build, architect as subcontractor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants cite "not getting paid" as one of the biggest challenges to operating in the construction industry in Qatar.  Understandably, companies are starting to look for opportunities to secure payment.  Effective, practical methods are proving difficult.  Liens are not without their difficulties but are another method to throw into the mix.
A "lien" is a priority right over property, moveable or immovable. Liens can arise where money is due from one party to another in order to satisfy or secure that debt.  In its simplest form it is hanging on to goods/materials/equipment which are properly in your possession but belong to someone else; someone whom owes you money.  In the construction context this becomes more difficult when those goods or materials are delivered and incorporated into a building or structure.  At this stage the lien is exercised as a "priority right", or an "attachment", broadly similar to a mortgage over a property.
A supplier has a lien or priority right over the materials supplied for as long as they maintain their "intrinsic nature".  Again, in the construction context, once incorporated into a building or structure they are likely to be inseparable, no longer of the same intrinsic nature.  A further problem arises if the goods or materials are sold on and the purchasing party knows nothing of the debt owed to the supplier – in these circumstances the lien may be lost. 
There is a risk that the goods or materials may be subject to other priority rights.  Judicial costs, costs of sale, costs of preserving or storing the materials, and wages to workers all taking precedence over the supplier's right to recover the debt it is owed.
Qatari law makes specific provision to cover the fees of contractors and designers whose work is in immovable property. i.e. The construction, rebuilding, restoring or maintaining of buildings or installations.  Such contractors and designers have a priority right over the building or installation to the extent of the value in the building or installation arising from the work of the contractor or designer. 
These priority rights must be registered as a charge over the property. They will rank behind other prior registered charges save where the prior registered charges were in existence before the works carried out by the contractor or designer added value to the property.  Registered charges whilst securing a debt may do little to assist in the short term as the contractor or designer, the lien holder, may not be able to force the sale of the property to recover its money.
Some contractors are deprived of the opportunity to secure payment by way of lien or priority right by being obliged to provide waivers or releases.  A release indicates completion and payment, or that a claim has been satisfied.  Releases may be required as a pre-condition to payment or to the issue of a taking over or initial acceptance certificate.  A waiver is typically obtained before commencement of the works and may be drafted into the terms of the contact itself.  A waiver relinquishes any existing or future right to a lien/priority right.
It is sensible for the construction client to protect itself by requiring that a contractor provide waivers or releases from its subcontractors.  This avoids a subcontractor registering a priority right over a property due to non-payment by the contractor where the contractor has been correctly paid by the client. 
Suzannah is a guest columnist for Construction Week Online.  As published in May 2012. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Eichleay Formula Calculations

Home Office
Home Office (Photo credit: Wikipedia)This paper is intended to be a fairly straight forward explanation of how to perform Eichleay formula calculations. It is not a definitive text on calculation of delay damages. There are normally many components to consider when calculating delay damages and the Eichleay formula deals with only one of these components.

The Eichealy Formula is widely used as a method of calculating home office overhead damages in construction delay cases. This component of delay damages often accounts for a very large portion of the amounts claimed.

If you are currently dealing with a case or claim involving construction delays you will probably need more information than is presented here. Construction delay claims are among the most complicated claims and almost always require the services of an expert to both determine damages and to defend against them.

Information presented in this article is categorized into the following specific sections.
  • The basic formula
  • A sample calculation
  • Problems associated with using and applying Eichleay

The Basic Eichleay Formula

The basic Eichleay calculation normally comes at the end of a project when all work has been completed. In that case, the following 3 step calculation is used to determine damages.

1. Allocable Overhead. This is a calculation to determine the portion of the home office overhead that should be allocated to this project. This project is expected to pay it's fair share of home office overhead and this is a way of calculating that amount.

2. Daily allocable overhead. Next, we want to determine a daily rate for the allocation of home office overhead.

3. Home office overhead damages. This is simply a matter of multiplying the number of compensable delay days by the daily allocable overhead rate.

A sample basic calculation

Let's assume that we have a contract amount of $2,700,00. The contractor has suffered compensable delays amounting to 45 calendar days. During this period, the contractor has 5 projects underway whose aggregate value is $10,000,000. The contractor's home office overhead during this period totaled $250,000. The duration of this project, including delays, totals 265 days. Our sample calculation of home office overhead damages follows:

1. This project's allocable overhead

2. Daily allocable overhead.

3. Home office overhead damages. This is simply a matter of multiplying the number of compensable delay days by the daily allocable overhead rate.

Thus, in this case, our contractor's claim is $11,462 in compensation for home office overhead that should have been allocated to this job because of the increased duration of the project.

Problems Associated with applying the Eichleay Formula

The Eichleay formula is considered an estimate or an approximation and it's accuracy can be questioned. Even so, the Eichleay formula is generally considered to be a reasonable basis for estimating the amount of unabsorbed home office overhead resulting from construction delays.

It is reasonable when questioning the validity of Eichleay calculations to demand that the calculations be based upon audited financial statements to determine actual home office overhead costs. Many small contractors may not have audited information available and even larger contractors may not have audited information available immediately upon the completion of a project.

An objection to the inclusion of certain components in the value of home office overhead may arise. For example, on public works projects which are obtained through hard bidding, the cost of advertising and entertainment may be disallowed.

Some state courts may not recognize Eichleay as an acceptable method for calculating delay damages.

It can be difficult to accept Eichleay calculations if the delay occurs late in the project. As an extreme example, if the delay occurs when the project is 99% complete, it can be argued that all allocable home office overhead expense has already been paid to the contractor.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Qatar's sponsorship (kafala) system

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...
Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The kafala system (sponsorship system) is a system used to monitor the construction and domestic migrant laborers in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the small Arab States of the Persian Gulf.[The system requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status. This practice has been criticised by human rights organizations for creating easy opportunities for the exploitation of workers, as many employers take away passports and abuse their workers with little chance of legal repercussions.

About 1.2 million foreign workers in Qatar, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines, make up 94 percent of the labor force. There are nearly five foreign workers for each Qatari citizen, mostly housemaids and low-skilled workers.
In the latest prominent example of why the sponsorship system in Qatar is very very bad, an Arab American businessman has gone public with his tale as an “economic hostage” here.
Nasser Beydoun, a 46-year-old executive, husband and father, launched a website Friday to raise attention about his situation. Beydoun served as CEO of the Wataniya Restaurants group from 2007 until the end of 2009, resigning after the global downturn caused business to sour.
Beydoun has been trying to leave Qatar ever since, but Wataniya refuses to grant him an exit permit. The company’s Qatari owners are suing Beydoun for $13 million, accusing him of mismanagement and overpaying himself.
“I just want to get out of here,” Beydoun told the Detroit Free Press in a phone interview this week.
But unless somebody throws wasta his way, Beydoun will remain in Qatar until at least December, when he’s scheduled to appear in court.
The newspaper said Wataniya did not respond to requests for comment.
The Dearborn, Mich. resident isn’t the only victim of Qatar’s sponsorship system, which the prime minister himself has criticized as a form of modern-day slavery - and that was way back in 2007.
Since then, Bahrain has abolished its kafala system so that expats can enter and leave the country on their own free will. And this year, Kuwait has modified its process to expand workers’ rights.
Sadly, Qatar has backpedaled on promises to change its system, announcing this week that it is shelving all plans pending the outcome of Bahrain and Kuwait’s experiments.
So for now, expats should look to Beydoun as a cautionary tale about the power their sponsors hold over them.
In his words:
"You cannot leave without your sponsor’s OK. You can’t rent a house. You can’t open a checking account. You can’t get a driver’s license. … And if you get into a legal issue with them, they have the home field advantage."
 In 2010 Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Gulf countries to “replace the Kafala system with updated labour laws that can better balance rights and duties”. The International Labour Organisation has also called for ‘major reform’ of the sponsorship system.
A comparative study below examines the key points of the sponsorship system in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Though all countries maintain some form of sponsorship, only Qatar and Saudi still have the exit permit system.
CountrySponsorship LawExit Permit
BahrainIn 2009, Bahrain adopted the strongest sponsorship reforms in the region by permitting migrant workers to change employment without their employers’ consent and in the absence of allegations of nonpayment of wages or abuse. 2009′s legal reforms allowed migrant workers to change employment after meeting certain notice requirements and provided a 30-day grace period to remain legally in the country while they seek new employment. However, these positive changes do not apply to domestic workers.Not Required
QatarExpatriates are allowed to work only under sponsorship. Once sponsored, the employee can not work for another employer unless a special permission has been granted.
Sponsorship can be transferred to another employer only after agreement from the existing and new employers. The right to change sponsors is not mandated by law and is left to the discretion of sponsors.
If the employee has not been granted a release letter or No Objection Certificate (NOC), he would be required to leave the country for a minimum of two years before returning to work for another employer.
UAEUAE Laws require foreign nationals to be primarily sponsored by a UAE national (citizen), except in the case of domestic workers, where foreign nationals can be sponsors too. Businesses are able to sponsor their employees mainly because a UAE national is a partner, owner or a majority shareholder of the business-sponsor (this might differ in the free zones).
As a general rule, a labour ban is still imposed on all expatriate employees in the UAE who are working in the private sector when they want to change from one employer to another if they left the current employer without having completed a minimum of two years service. The ban could be for six months or a year.
But the ban can be lifted if the new employer offers the candidate a higher position and a salary equal or above the salary set by the ministry against his or her qualifications.
Not Required
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia’s sponsorship system, requires all migrant workers to have a Saudi citizen as their sponsor who is usually the employer. The sponsor is responsible for their visa and legal status.
In April 2012, Labour Ministry had proposed abolishing the kafala system by transferring immigration sponsorship to newly created recruitment and placement agencies, but later retracted its decision.
KuwaitUnder Article 3 of Kuwait’s Private Sector Labour Law, an expatriate worker must obtain a work permit issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, under the sponsorship of a Kuwaiti entity. The law also states that a release is required from the sponsor for the work permit of an employee to be transferred to the sponsorship of another Kuwaiti entity.
According to recent reports, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour has established the Public Authority for Labour Affairs in a bid to abolish the sponsorship system for private sector labour force. The authority would be directly responsible for all matters concerning private sector employees, including recruitment of expatriate labour forces and managing employer-employee relationship.
Not required
OmanUnder the Kafala system, migrant workers are not allowed to change employers without their sponsors’ consent. Otherwise the worker is considered as an illegal resident in the country according to a law issued in 2003.
If the worker’s service period was less than two years in Oman, there must be a release letter from the former sponsor indicating that he (the sponsor) has no objection to the employment of that worker by any other employer without being subject to the two-year restriction.
For a migrant worker to change his sponsorship to a new sponsor (employer) while still inside the country, there must be a release letter from the former sponsor and approved by the Directorate General of Labour.
Not requir

The government announced proposed changes to the labor law in May of this year. The legislation is supposed to make it easier for expats to switch jobs and leave the country.

As part of the reforms, companies will also be required to pay their employees through direct bank transfers, making it easier for expats and the government to scrutinize and document any late or non-existing payments.

However, many residents and international organizations criticized the fact that changes would fail to eliminate the exit visa system, and preserve no-objection certificate requirements for expats to change employers.

Despite pledges made before Eid Al Fitr by Labor Minister Dr. Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi that the changes would be brought in “as quickly as possible,” there has been concern that the consultation process was moving slowly.

In August, the Ministry of Interior’s director of research and follow-up, Brig. Nasser Mohammed al Sayed, warned that the reforms may not be finalized until next year.

Winning over the business community has been crucial to getting the reforms passed and the latest announcement seems to signal that discussions with the chamber moved more quickly than had been expected.
Under the new rules, a Qatari employer would have to show "compelling" proof of any objection to a worker leaving the country. Disputes would be resolved within three days. Other possible changes include mandatory employee welfare contracts, sanctions against employers who fail to meet their obligations, and closer bilateral regulatory links with the workers' countries of origin. Experts say tighter implementation across the board will be the key.
The reforms are based on recommendations by the London law firm DLA Piper, which was commissioned to review the legislative and enforcement framework of Qatari labour laws after the Guardian's investigative reports last autumn. The firm has had a 10-strong team working on the 140-page report for six months.

Proposed changes

The current exit permit system largely requires foreign workers to get their employer’s consent to leave the country. Officials today proposed shifting this process to an automated system run by the Ministry of Interior.
Expats would apply for a permit at least 72 hours prior to departure. It would then be up to their employer to argue why the individual should not be allowed to leave the country, such as criminal or financial wrongdoing. Any objections would then be reviewed by a special committee.
Travel applications for emergencies would be flagged and dealt with separately, an official told Doha News.
Some employers in Qatar have previously argued that the exit permit system is needed to prevent foreign workers from fleeing the country after taking out loans that the sponsor is liable to cover.
The government appears to have undermined that argument by proposing that employers no longer be financially responsible for their employees. Instead, financial obligations incurred by foreign workers will be governed by the country’s civil and commercial laws.

Changing jobs

Currently, expats require a no-objection certificate from their employers before they can change sponsors and take up a new job in Qatar. Alternatively, they can leave the country for two years before taking up a new position.
Under the government’s new proposals, employees who sign a fixed-term contract would be free to transfer to a new employer at the end of their contract.
However, those who sign an indefinite contract would have to work for their employer for five years before being allowed to change positions.
If foreign workers want to change jobs earlier, they would still need the permission of their employer.
Other key points of the reform package include:
  • Increasing the penalty for confiscating a worker’s travel documents from a maximum of QR10,000 to up to QR50,000 per passport;
  • Distributing a “model contract” that employers must follow in principle when drafting employment agreements;
  • Requiring wages to be paid electronically to ensure wages are deposited into a worker’s bank account on time;
  • Enforcing a new accommodation standard for workers’ housing. No details of those standards were provided; and
  • Formulating harsher penalties for labor law violations, such as late payment of wages and violations of the new accommodations standards.
Officials said the changes would cover all foreign employees in Qatar when asked if the proposals included domestic workers, who are not currently covered by the country’s labor laws.