Page 1




Hunt new territory Adnan Al-Mubarak on Black Cat’s expansion

JULY 17–30, 2010 • ISSUE 330

Medical attention What to watch for in hospital development

Page 28

Page 42


Elite Residence’s core is at G+64, just 22 more to go


CONTENTS JULY 17-30, 2010 • ISSUE 330


BED COUNT CW investigates the challenges and complexities of hospital building


10 18 20 56




THE BIG MONEY CYCLE Keeping track of payment flows on an ongoing project can be a challenge.




POST HASTE Post-tensioning reinforcment now dominates many areas of GCC construction, though innovation hasn’t stopped.


34 4

DOHA PORT PROJECTS ANNOUNCEMENTS DUE Companies bidding for work on the Doha port project will soon find out who has been awarded contracts.

HIGH PROSPECTS 91 levels, complete with a crown the Elite Residence is Dubai’s next big residential project.



42 8

DUBAI WORLD MEETING Creditors to Dubai World have been given a meeting date of 22nd July to discuss terms for restructuring. ROUND UP


TAYSEER PROJECT FUNDING SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS Unfinished projects are not guaranteed funding.

BED COUNT CW investigates the challenges and complexities of hospital building.



QATARI CONTRACTOR ON THE PROWL CW speaks exclusively to Black Cat Engineering and Construction’s general manager Adnan Al-Mubarak. JULY 17-30, 10-16, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 1

The most important project, contract and tender information, updated every week

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The New Doha port will spread over 20 km2, changing the city’s coastline.

Tenders of note : Doha Port project announcements due next month


ompanies bidding for work on the massive Doha port project, estimated at US$7 billion (QR25.48 billion), don’t have long to wait to hear whether they’ve been successful in their submissions. The project is being commissioned by the New Doha Port Project Steering Committee and has been divided into 21 smaller projects to be completed in three phases over the next four years. The port will cover an area of 20 km2 and will include construction of five general cargo terminals and berths, four container terminals and berths, a roll-on/roll-off berth, an administration and customs complex as well as a berthing area for tugs and pilot boats. The contract calls for significant excavation works, covering eight kilometres of quay wall and a five-kilometre stretch of breakwater, constructed from rubble. 4 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

The port is located in Economic Zone 3, Al Wakra, and will be linked to the mainland by an 8.5-kilometre long trestle bridge. The port will have the capacity to handle up to two million containers a year following the completion of Phase 1, six million by Phase 2 and 10 million by 2030. The site’s conceptual design has been produced by the Scott Wilson Group, while master planning was completed by Royal Haskoning, and detailed design by Worley Parsons. The main consultant is Cowi and Partners, while project management will be handled by Cansult Maunsell. The Steering Committee expects to announce contract winners next month, and for work to start on site soon after. Another round of contracts is expected to be announced at the end of the year, as work develops on site. -By Carlin Gerbich

INTELLIGENCE For upto the minute tenders log in to

Bahrain housing tenders close soon

DEWA awards AED522m contracts

Companies wishing to be part of a 198-unit housing development at Madinat Hamad in Bahrain take note: tenders for the project close on 21st July. The contract is offered by the Bahrain Ministry of Works (Housing) and includes site preparation and earthworks, plus the construction of 192 type 3M town houses. The contract is for 18 months and includes a 15-month maintenance period. The ministry also has many projects starting in September, including a 27,175m2 shopping centre in Al Hoora, plus two other shopping precincts in Manama; a multi-storey carpark for ministry staff in Al Hoora, and several health centres and schools. Documents for the Madinat Hamad project should be sent to the Tender Board in the Al Moayeed Tower.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has awarded AED 522m in contracts to expand its facilities. The company stated that it has signed a 10-year, AED 450 million agreement with Ansaldo Energia SpA, a unit of Finmeccanica SpA and Italy’s leading producer of thermoelectric power plants, to supply spare parts and services for the Jebel Ali Power Station. DEWA also signed deals with ABB Industries, a AED 70 million contract, and Areva T&D ME, a AED 2.5 million contract, for transmission system upgrades involving various substations. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said the company would further equip its facilities with the latest technologies.

A prospective view of the Information Technology and Communications Centre.

Drake & Scull wins SR469m ‘Smart City’ contract Drake & Scull International PJSC last week won an SR469 million contract for Riyadh’s Information Technology and Communications Centre (ITCC) project. The MEP giant will undertake the project in a joint-venture with Al Zamil Group, one of the larg-

est conglomerates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that includes lines in glass and steel. The contract was awarded by Rayadah Investment Company, the investment arm of the Saudi government’s Public Pensions Agency (PPA). It takes the value of contracts won by

DSI this year to AED2 billion. Khaldoun Tabari, DSI CEO, said the dynamics of the Saudi market were different to the rest of the GCC. “We had to ensure that we adapted our practices to meet the strict requirements of the Kingdom’s construction industry, which can be very challenging,” he said. ITCC is the Kingdom’s first ‘Smart City’, a SR6 billion project that, when completed, will offer widespread broadband services and other technological offerings. The 776,000m2 project will include four 20-storey towers, two business technology incubator buildings, a sports club, and government service buildings.

TOP TENDERS Construction of 10 Classrooms Mixed Basic Education School at Wadi Al Arabiyeen Country: Oman Closes: Aug 23, 2010 Category: Buildings Issuer: Ministry of Education Design and Construction of Service Roads at Tiwi Country: Oman Closes: Aug 23, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Ministry of Transport and Communication The Ain Humran Houses Project in Salalah Country: Oman Closes: Aug 23, 2010 Category: Buildings Issuer: Ministry of Tourism Construction of Yanbu Power and Desalination Plant Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Sep 22, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Rehabilitation of All Fire Fighting System at Shuqaiq Plant Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 22, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Construction of 380-kV Ras AlZour Substation Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 21, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Annual Maintenance of Track Roads in Al Dakhliyah Region Country: Oman Closes: Aug 2, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Ministry of Transport and Communication Jaber Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Bridge (Al Subiya Connection) Country: Kuwait Closes: Aug 8, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Central Tenders Committee Construction of 380-kV Ras AlZour Substation Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 21, 2010 Category: Power and water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation JULY 17-30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 5

INTELLIGENCE For upto the minute tenders log in to

TOP TENDERS Housing complex, Phase 2 Buildings Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 31, 2010 Category: Residential Building Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Housing Complex in Different Areas of Saudi Arabia - Phase 2 Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 31, 2010 Category: Buildings Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Construction of New Ahmadi Hospital & Residential Building Country: Kuwait Closes: Jul 27, 2010 Category: Industry Issuer: Kuwait Oil Company

The Aldar Academies portfolio includes Al Yasmina School in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Aldar.

Refurbishment of Several Pumping Stations - Phase 8 Country: Qatar Closes: Jul 27, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Public Works Authority

Wates and Al Fara’a to build Al Bateen school

Khidmah scoops Abu Dhabi FM contract

Wates Construction International and Al Fara’a General Contracting Company were jointly awarded the AED 150 million contract to build an 1,500 place secondary school for Aldar Academies at Al Bateen in Abu Dhabi. The win is the second contract in a month for the joint venture between the UK and UAE firms, which snapped up an AED65 million deal to upgrade the British School Al Khubairet on 20th June. The 24,000m2 school is due for completion next year and will be managed and operated by Aldar Academies, which operates three schools in the city. The design concept for the school is based around a less hierarchal educational structure, allowing more student circulation and interaction. The school will feature a swimming pool, library and extensive outdoor sports facilities.

Khidmah was last week awarded the FM contract to manage buildings for the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. The work includes the maintenance services of 18 buildings both in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region. “Winning this contract really reinforces our effectiveness in combining good quality services and low prices. This is another expansion of our FM services across the UAE,” said Khidmah managing director Abdulla Al Qamzi. The latest contract win adds to Khidmah’s portfolio of properties, which includes villas at Golf Gardens, Sas Al Nakhl Village and Khalidiya Village in Abu Dhabi, Al Oyoun Village in Al Ain. In May, the company also won the facilities services contract to manage MAG214, part of the Jumeirah Lake Towers project in Dubai.

Construction of Royal Commission Public Housing Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 25, 2010 Category: Residential development Issuer: Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu Supervision Consultancy Services for an IWPP in Salalah Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC Upgrading of Khuwair South Substation Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC EPC for Upgrading Water Supply System at Kumzar Plant Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC













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Ready mix

Red meranti

Scfldi planks


Steel props

Per tonne

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Dubai World meeting revealed Creditors to Dubai World have been given a meeting date of 22nd July to discuss terms for restructuring of the indebted state-owned property developer, a source at the company revealed last week. Following broad support for the restructuring plan, in which the company is seeking to manage AED86.3 billion of loans, the Dubai World is aiming to draw a line under the structure and time frame of its repayments. Details of the upcoming meeting were reported to Bloomberg. On 20th May it was confirmed that the company, which contains developer Nakheel, had support for its restructuring to the value of 60% of the total loans from the bank consortium set up to negotiate with the company. Investors have been given a series of options, or ‘tranches’ by which they will be repaid.

The World, one of Nakheel’s most famous developments. Dubai World got 60% support for its restructuring plan in May.

Dramatic effects Dubai’s main index has seen quarter-by-quarter volatility Share price in USD 2009

Share price in USD 2010




18.50 18.00 17.50


17.00 16.50


16.00 15.50 15.00














Expert Views Mohammad Al Mojil Group. Is the 22% share fall last quarter par for the course, or is more pain in store?


Mohammad Al Mojil Group has carved a significant niche in industrial contracting as one of the few firms permitted to perform welding in live plants. This has given it a significant amount of work in the oil and gas sector, including many offshore developments – profitable, if your home country is Saudi Arabia. It has a market capitalization of SR2.318 billion, though its share price fall of more than a fifth may have caused some to look again at the company. Analysts have not been fulsome in their recommendation of the company in the last year. By the end of 2009 Roy Cherry

at Shuaa Captal decided the stock was worth selling and predicted a target price of just over SR16. This was just a few months after Justin Tantalo at Calyon Credit Agricole Chevreux in Dubai had tagged it with an ‘underperform’ sign. But this year forecasts have improved. Last month the team at TAIB Securities in Manama recommended an overweight position on the company shares, lifting the target price to SR21.48. And last week Alia El Mehelny at HSBC Bank in New York set a target price of SR20 but kept a neutral position.


SELL: A diverse company, but has not attracted enough support from analysts.


Mabanee Company SAKS:


Market shifts:



rise in millions of dinars, net income year-on-year

Kuwait’s weighted index at deadline



share value fall since 1st April

fall in Oman’s MSM between May and June

Mabanee sees rise of more than a fifth

Kuwait exchange outstrips region

Pre-cast building manufacturer Mabanee Company shot to stock market prominence last week to beat construction and materials rivals with an outperformance of 21.43%. The Kuwait company has barely registered in CW’s regular round up of risers and fallers across the GCC stock markets (see right) in recent weeks, but it has risen so far in July with an increase from KD2,204 per share to KD2,282 in three days. The recent surge ran opposite to the declining Kuwait Real Estate Unweighted Index. Mabanee’s other business lines include the installation of sanitary, mechanical and electrical equipment related to construction. But like many rivals it also invests in different types of real estate, and real estate portfolios.

Kuwait led the regional stock exchanges up to 11th July following a boost to its economy in the new budget, which includes an increase to construction spending. Last week CW reported that the oilrich country would spend 66% more on building projects in the next fiscal year. Markets responded by lifting the Kuwait SE Weighted Index by 4.1%, its biggest rise since the first week of February. The rise beat the two main indices of the UAE, Abu Dhabi and Dubai – which registered gains of 0.4% and 2.5% respectively. The Tadawul in Riyadh rose just 3.3%, edging beyond the gains seen in the new QE index in Qatar, which increased by 3.2%. Oman and Bahrain, which both saw big falls in their indices over May, rose by 2.8% and 0.05% respectively.

Mabanee Company: +21.43% Saudi Ceramic Company: +17.23% Abu Dhabi National Company: +10.53% Gulf Cement Company: +10.30% Mushrif Trading: +9.62% Kuwait Company for Plant Processing: +8.62% Kuwait Building: +7.14% Salbookh Trading: +6.25% Fujairah Building: +5.98% Kuwait Portland Cement Co.: +5.26%

TEN BIGGEST FALLERS National Industries: -20.00% Specialities Group: -7.56% United Projects Group: -5.26% National Cement Company: -4.82% Hilal Cement Company: -2.75% Combined Group Contracting: -2.33% SIDC: -2.25% Umm Al Qaiwain Cement Ind.: -1.96% Gulf Rocks Company: -1.82% National Gypsum Company: -1.57%

SECTOR INDICES: Banking: Insurance: Fin & Inv : Real Est & Constr: Transportation: Utilities: Materials Consumer Staples Telecoms

-0.28 -78.69 +2.23 -17.66 +7.08 +3.60 0.00 0.00 0.00

-0.03% -2.69% +0.13% -0.63% +1.53% +0.54% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%

(Data accurate as of close 11 July 2010)

Update 10 latest marine project updates PROJECT TITLE







24,000,000,000 EST.







































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1 2 3 4 5

Top 20 MEP Consultants Two killed by falling concrete slab in Abu Dhabi Tall-tower trend far from over, says Al-Futtaim Kuwait budget boosts construction spending by 66% Size matters


Iraq’s five-year development plan will transform the nation’s capital as the country continues to diversify its economy.

Iraq launches five-year plan for development to boost growth Iraq’s economic recovery received a boost last week when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Minister of Planning Ali Baban launched the country’s five-year National Development Plan 2010-2014. The plan was announced during a live television broadcast to the nation. It aims to boost economic growth in Iraq by 9.4% and cut unemployment, while also reducing the economy’s dependency on oil. Crude oil exports account for around 90% of Iraq’s revenue and the government is keen to diversify its economic base. The plan includes more than 2,700 projects worth around US $186 billion, though details have to be finalised. The scope of the works, the types of projects available, and all other details have not yet been released. However, Iraq is about to embark on one of its largest real estate projects, according to CNN. Namir el Akabi, CEO of Almco, says the Amwaj is about to start work on Baghdad Gates. The $238 million development includes 3,500 residential apartments, a five-star hotel and an upscale shopping mall. Work will start later this year and has a four-year time frame.

SPOT POLL Would you consider working in Libya?





Maybe. The opportunities are tempting.

Absolutely not. It’s too difficult to establish a presence there.

No. Not until the government makes it easier for developers.

Absolutely. It’s a goldmine of opportunity.


Rufi Site Visit CW takes a look at the construction of the new twin towers at Dubai Sport City


Analysis Still on Track – Ben Roberts takes a look at progress being made on the trans-GCC Union Railways project. Interview Building from the Inside Out – AEME’s Ahmad Matar talks to Ben Roberts about seeking opportunities. On site Lagoon Low-down – Elizabeth Broomhall reports on the progress being made on Schön’s Dubai Lagoon project.



Tayseer project funding subject to conditions Unfinished projects to be financed by the Tayseer initiative are not guaranteed funding unless the developers can meet certain conditions. The programme, in which the Land Department of Dubai has committed to fund the completion of selected unfinished projects, makes clear that the cost of funding has to be negotiated with banks on an individual basis. To meet the criteria, developers must have paid 100% for the project land and must be able to prove good collection from investors as well as having completed and sold a minimum of 60% of the project. The department’s director-general Sultan bin Butti bin Mejren said: “Tayseer offers the financiers precisely what they have been asking for: well resourced projects that meet strict rigorously enforced criteria which virtually guarantee they will be finished to a specific schedule. “The key offering is a government

guarantee, through the Land Department, that Tayseer qualified projects meet the required criteria to be classified as tier one.” Introducing new laws and procedures, the Tayseer initiative will effectively act as a ratings agency for the Dubai’s property developments. So far as many as 40 projects in the emirate have been shortlisted for the first phase/tier one of the programme, which aims to boost liquidity in the market and bolster confidence in the sector. A statement from the Land Department confirmed that 15 banks will formally submit requests for Tayseer authorisation within 10 days. Sultan bin Butti bin Mejren added: “While the final details of the agreement between the Department and the bankers will be completed within one month, they already know what they will get from Tayseer.” — Elizabeth Broomhall

Building boost: the Land Department has shortlisted 40 projects.

“A lot of our business is very short-term [so] we eat on a Thursday what we kill on a Monday.”

“What makes it different now is you are always under the spotlight.”

RUPERT SOAMES, CEO of Aggreko and Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson on the temporary power business.

ZEINA TABARI, Drake & Scull’s chief corporate affairs officer on the company being publicly listed.

In Quotes “I want to be one of the pioneers who lead the industry and take it to the next level.” ALI AL SUWAIDI, on climbing the FM ladder after providing services to the Burj Khalifa.



Around the GCC 3 1 2


Al Arrab Electromechanical Engineering’s AHMAD MATAR on the Pearl Qatar.


Bahrain moots plans for town-sized labour accommodation


Officials have proposed a labour town to accommodate workers of hundreds of factories in Bahrain’s Central Governorate. The accommodation would serve workers from factories in the Sitra, Ma’ameer, Nuwaidrat and Salmabad areas. Central Municipal Council chairman Abdulrahman Al Hassan said Salmabad has been put forward as the possible location of the new town. The camp is being modelled on a similar project in Hidd, which houses some 2,500 workers, but will eventually accommodate up to 7,000 people.

Qatar has vowed to crackdown on companies breaking the midday work. Labour Inspection Department acting director Khaled al-Ghanim said his department had increased enforcement efforts. The ban is between 11.30am and 3pm until 31st August.

2. KSA



Saudi’s Yanbu Cement Co announced a 25% fall in second-quarter net profit as sales fell because of increased competition and an export ban. Yanbu Cement made a net profit of SR113 million riyals for the three months ending 30th June. This compares with with SR151 million in the same period a year earlier. Operating profits declined by 23.7% to SR115.8 million, the company reported in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange.

Building a sea port on Boubyan Island is an integral part of Kuwait’s ambition to become a regional economic and trade hub, a senior official has said. Fadhel Safar, Minister of Public Works, made the comments ahead of the signing of a KD300 million contract for the second part of the first phase of construction works. The contract will involve conducting studies, collecting data and checking the sea bottom.

Natural gas connections have soared in Sharjah, with new figures showing a year-on-year increase of nearly a third, as the emirate tries new ways of using the fuel. ‘’SEWA is exploring the possibility of using gas in other sectors like air-conditioning,” said Tareq Demas, director of natural gas at the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority. ‘’Gas connection points saw a substantial increase to 156,859 in 2009 from 133,227 in 2008.” Consumers increased by 24,700 last year, he added.

Yanbu Cement net profits slip 25%

“The project has learned from the Palm Jumeirah, and in doing so it has added value.”


Port plans key for Kuwait

Moves to enforce work ban rule

Sharjah expands natural gas plans



Worker deaths prompt call for better safety

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Construction firms are under pressure to improve safety standards after 10 construction workers have died in less than a month. Two Bangladeshi workers were killed when a slab of concrete fell on them at a site in Abu Dhabi and crushed them. Three workers died on a site in al Nahda, Sharjah, after the scaffolding they were working on collapsed, causing two to die at the scene and another to die in hospital from a severe haemorrhage. This followed the death of four other workers at Ansar Mall in Sharjah just a fortnight before, after their maintenance cradle collapsed. A tenth man died in Bahrain when he fell from the third floor of a building in Hoora. Early reports suggest that the men who were working in the maintenance cradle at Ansar Mall were not wearing safety harnesses, nor were they tethered to the building independently of the cradle. Peter Neville, BuildSafe UAE Sharjah spokesperson, said: “As tragic as this news is, it is not at all surprising.”


THE LARVOTTO DEVELOPMENT RISES above boats moored in the Ap Lei Chau district of Hong Kong. Under a new policy, buyers will only be able to purchase one flat and will not be permitted to resell the unit before its completion date. The guidelines issued by the Real Estate Developers Association follow a police probe into the controversial sale of luxury flats that fell through months after its developer said one of them had set a world-record price.


Kazakh tent is world’s tallest A 150-metre building that qualifies as the world’s tallest tensile structure has been unveiled in Kazakhstan. The Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre, in the Kazakh city of Astana, was opened by the company’s President Nazarbayev and is designed by Foster and Partners, the practice headed by renowned British designer Norman Foster. The tent-like, cable-net structure is located at the northern

end of the new city axis and soars 150 metres from an elliptical base to form the highest peak on the Astana skyline. The building encloses an area in excess of 100,000m2 within an ETFE dome, with dramatic views over the city. SUSTAINABILITY

Consultant flags UAE domestic water use Families in the UAE could reduce their annual water use by more than 11,000 litres by shaving a minute off their shower time every day, according to

a report. Markus Oberlin, general manager of Farnek Avireal, a company that advises building owners on cutting carbon emissions and utility bills, also said that filling a bath tub only halfway would save 13,870 liters of water per year. Abu Dhabi and Dubai will together invest AED120 billion over the next five years in power plants, desalination units and sewerage systems to meet future demand. Oberlin added that governments, businesses and homeowners could reduce water

In Numbers


The litres of water a day consumed in the UAE per resident.



% of survey respondents with ‘an understanding’ of green building and its environmental benefits.


Years in the Salalah IWPP deal executed by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company.


bills and curb their carbon emissions by landscaping their gardens and common areas with artificial grass. “The savings potential for local governments using artificial grass in pubic urban landscaped areas such as road verges, traffic islands and interchanges, must run in to hundreds of millions of Dirhams,” he said.


ASHRAE adapts ecostandard for Kuwait ASHRAE’s Standard 90.2 for residential energy conservation has been adapted for use in Kuwait through a collaborative effort between ASHRAE and Kuwait University. “A similar effort is underway for Standard 90.1 and Standard 100,” said newly-inaugurated ASHRAE president Lynn Bellenger. Bellenger pointed out that ASHRAE developed Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings in 1975. PROJECT

KSA mineral railway picks up steam Six diesel locomotives and 125 wagons will start


RAK Ceramics’ rank among ceramic tile firms in 2009, according to industry journal .

arriving in Saudi Arabia from August to begin work on the kingdom’s mineral railway line project. The 2,400km North-South Railway starts at Hudaitha in Al-Jouf province and passes through Hail, Qassim and Riyadh provinces and 1,050km of a total 1,486km of new track has been laid. The trains will haul phosphate and bauxite mining products in the north of the country that will link up with processing plants and smelters on the Gulf coast. The service will also increase other cargo operations, as well as goods and passengers. The Ministry of Finance awarded a $765 million contract to a group comprising Mitsui & Co. Ltd, Barclay Mowlem Ltd. and Al-Rashid to provide civil and track work services for a 508-mile stretch of the new railway line. FINANCE

Barwa City enters deal with Qatari Diar Finance Barwa Real Estate Company’s vehicle for its Barwa City development has entered into a Shariah-compliant property purchase deal with Qatari Diar Finance. The deal between Barwa City Real Estate Company and the Qatari Real Estate subsidiary will also extend to real estate projects undertaken by Barwa Financial District WLL and Barwa Commercial Avenue


Company WLL, providing capital and discharging liabilities previously incurred in connection with those projects, according to Ghanim Al Saad, Barwa Real Estate Company chairman and managing director and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment company managing director. The terms of the deal follow murabaha principles, in which the borrower pays 20% of capital as down payment before the lender buys the relevant land or property and sells it to the borrower at a higher price. PMV

Sharjah cracks down on diesel dumps Sharjah Economic Development Department has taken action against ‘diesel dealers’, both suppliers of the fuel as well of stockists of accessories. This follows a meeting in May that revealed that demand for heavy oil peaked in high summer, and there were disproportionately more fires and accidents. Inspectors will ensure that the fuel is bunkered correctly, and that the people hold the relevant licence. City chiefs are also concerned that chemical products, tyres, sponges and oils are warehoused in a safe way. SUSTAINABILITY

Survey: Green laws in UAE will hit 2012 Regulation for building green is unlikely to hit developers

Number of schools cut from the UK’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

in the UAE until two or three years’ time, according to a property survey. Research conducted by Landmark Advisory, a Dubai based consultancy, found a general consensus from those with connection to the real estate industry that although regulations for sustainability should be implemented immediately, the current over-supply in property will see little new building, and hence little implementation of the law until at least 2012. In contrast, regulation for retrofitting – improving a building’s sustainability after its construction – should be put in place from at least 2012, rather than immediately.


GE to provide IWPP gas turbines in Oman General Electric won contracts worth OR115.35 million to provide five gas turbines for a power plant in Salalah in Oman. The plant, in the Taqah area of Salalah, will have a capacity of 445 megawatts of electricity and 15 million imperial gallons per day of desalinated water to meet increasing demand.


Millions of Bahraini dinars set aside for improvement to the Saudi-Bahrain causeway.




Monopoly money If district cooling was an employee, would you hire it?


f district cooling was a prospective employee, would you hire it? Let’s look at the CV. This potential job candidate believes he can save you around 55% of your energy consumption, plus he says he is good for the environment. On the surface, this seems excellent. But, while your employee can save you and everyone else a load of energy, he will cost at least twice the going rate of other employees with a similar output. Normally you might not notice the extra cost, but this guy wants all of his money up front, once a year, before he does a day of work. Not only that, you have no recourse to fire him, because, although you are doing the paying, he will actually work for someone else. This third party will be getting a big slice of the action and is the reason the guy costs so much, but there’s no room to negotiate. This sounds dreadful. You might like to consider other candidates, but there aren’t any. Now the third party is saying this guy’s your only choice - but no, he’s definitely not a monopoly. ‘How come?’ you ask. Well, it turns out he ‘competed’ to be the only person you could hire; lucky you. As absurd as it sounds, this is the reality facing many district cooling end-users. These homeowners can’t help but see the business model for the utility – one they are compelled to buy – as flawed. The question is, is the flaw fatal? I’ve just been in a room full of angry people who certainly hope so. The object of their fury was district cooling’s cost, one of the most divisive issues in the local residential property market. Ultimately, end-users are the people paying for 18 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

district cooling; the first business that figures this out may actually make a few dollars, without attracting a groundswell of public resentment. Whatever district cooling may be saving us in energy – the figures are varied and debatable – it is costing us plenty of cash. Partly, this is down to how bills are structured. Paying a year’s worth of cash up front for a utility is outrageous, especially when it isn’t based on individual usage. Also, the simple fact is, district cooling companies don’t always regard the end-user as their customer. One district cooler told me so in an interview a couple of years back. Depending on how the deals are structured, the ‘customer’ is in fact the property’s developer. The developer will pass on the charges, which do not necessarily reflect consumption. Frequently they include an amortised charge for building the system in the first place. The pay back period for this kind of infrastructure runs into decades, far longer than most end-users, also known as the real consumer, stay in one place. Building a system that ignores the likelihood people will want individual charges, rather than to pay a ‘square metre’ proportion of a building’s usage, is deliberately ignoring what is best for the end-user. It also means there is no hard financial incentive to moderate use, which leads to massive waste, completely undermining the purpose of district cooling in the first place. How these flaws have been ignored is beyond any consumer to fathom. The only thing they are certain of is that it has to change. Until then, since we’re forced to hire district cooling, it would be nice if we could pay him in Monopoly money.

District cooling is a subject that gets people’s temperatures up.

Whatever district cooling may be saving us in energy – the figures are varied and debatable – it is costing us plenty of cash.



Plugging into innovation Gerhard Hope explains how to talk an old-timer into trying something new



headlines in the industry as one of the first in the region to apply BIM to a large-scale project. I use the word ‘headlines’ reservedly, because you will not be reading about this company’s leadership in innovation anytime soon. It declined the opportunity for a case study because – and this is a direct quote – “its competitors will follow, and it will lose its competitive edge”. So, it prefers to operate in secrecy and not inform its clients about how it is embracing the latest trend in cost-efficiency and value addition? How about the next MEP contractor who bumps into BIM, decides it is a good thing … and makes a big splash about it? That initial contractor, who was first to apply BIM, will be last in terms of the marketing potential it squandered. Sadly, such conservatism is not unknown in the construction industry. It is bizarre that alongside such achievements as the tallest building and a veritable slew of other world-firsts, many regional practices and mindsets are still hidebound by tradition. We all know how rapidly technology advances; surely outlooks should be adapted accordingly? Recently I spoke to a company that is introducing a pre-manufactured wiring solution into the region. Basically this is a fully ‘pluggable’ system from the DB right down to the final connection. All fittings required are off-the-shelf, from sockets


to switches, light fittings and even FCUs. Pre-wired conduit, available in either PVC or metal, is made to specific lengths to facilitate the socket-to-DB connections. Once on-site, all that is needed is for the DB and final points to be installed … and then simply plugged together. Voila! Now every electrical contractor knows how many man hours, sheer physical effort and materials are expended on the relatively straightforward, but vital, process of terminating DBs. As a result you would expect any MEP contractor to jump through hoops at the chance of availing himself of the opportunity of an average 20% cost-saving and 70% reduction in the installation schedule. Of course not. The company’s business manager told me: “Literally, I have had a guy stand up, slam his hand down on the table, and say, I have been here 25 years, and have done things the same way all that time. It has always worked, so why change? Your system will never work.” Not only are the benefits of this premanufactured wiring solution proven, they are also rather obvious – unless you have accumulated enough experience to cloud your common sense. “Then you are faced with a situation of telling this guy, without actually saying it, that I know better than you …” The gentleman’s antipathy was based on two common misconceptions: that labour is an insignificant project expense because

it is so cheap in the region, and that a premanufactured, modular system can in no way compete with ‘best price’ (that is, rock bottom) raw materials assembled by said low-cost labour. Now we all know that the global financial crisis is bringing about a new business paradigm in the region’s construction industry. Contractors are realising that inefficiencies glossed over in the past – such as labour over-supply and material wastage – can weigh significantly on the bottom line. Fortunately, it is quite easy to deal with the gentleman who has been doing things ‘his way’ for the past couple of decades, for psychology has advanced as much as business practice in the interim. “You make it seem like he came up with the idea himself. You get him to speak to his peers who have used the system, so they can tell him about its innate benefits, so he can then tell you, in turn: 'I have a brilliant idea …'” It is vitally important for the MEP industry, and construction as a whole, to not only adopt the latest technology, but also to encourage its long-term practitioners (we do not wish to antagonise them by using the potentially pejorative ‘old-timers’) to think creatively. And to make a big noise about it when they get things right, so others can learn as well, and thereby raise the benchmark for all. Gerhard Hope is editor of MEP Middle East.

LETTERS successes. Learn from the companies like BK Gulf, who follow a Zero Harm policy and implement it successfully. Be safe and make others safe. JITENDRA

RE: New $3bn terminal inaugurated in New Delhi Hats off to India! I am really happy to see that Indian infrastructure is attaining new heights at a very fast pace. I wish good luck to the Indian government for their future endeavours and projects. SALMAN

RE: Integrated design a big challenge: ASHRAE Two workers lost their lives when a slab of concrete collapsed at a construction site in Abu Dhabi.

RE: Two killed by falling concrete slab in Abu Dhabi It is obvious that the floor slab was not positioned in accordance with any known standard, as bearing of the support requires a minimum of 45mm, and if that was adhered to, then the only thing which could have caused failure (collapse) would have to be either seismic activity, grade of concrete at support, or simply lack of care during the positioning of the slab. Pre-cast concrete has one of the most stringent manufacturing standards for quality and safety; it is sad that two human beings have had their lives extinguished in such a manor. We in the industry must give our condolences to the families and friends of the two men and make certain that it never happens again. THOMAS I have worked with projects worth billions without any fatal accidents, even though we used to have day and nights shifts. The reason is because those projects had very good and rigorous safety and quality procedures. Safety and quality standards are the areas where the UAE needs to make a lot of improvements and have some solid policies. ATHAR 22 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

An accident is an unexpected event, which can happen at any time, so please follow safety rules and regulations while on construction sites. SACHIN RIKAME This seems to be a case of inadequate review of the method statement, or lack of compliance to the agreed method statement. The competency of the team that re-

viewed the method statement needs to be looked into. NAME WITHHELD There are many projects done in the world without an accident. A few of them I was part of it. Even at Yas Island we have done projects without an accident. It is the precautions we take, people who follow instructions and rules at the site. There is team behind all these

Engineers have been asking for integrated building design for many years. When I hear a well-known architect say in public that it is essential, I will know that the penny has finally begun to drop. TONY MARSHALLSAY

RE: Zetas wins early deal for Lebanon project There is nothing to be proud of for Damac or others, converting one of the most beautiful cities in the world into a forest of ridiculous buildings. The culture in Lebanon is not same as the Gulf, and buildings made of glass have nothing to do with Lebanon or Beirut architecture. If Damac wants a nice PR story, then let it build according to Beirut’s architecture, not Hong Kong or Dubai’s. Taste is not the same all over the world. Don’t make our city ugly just to make money. JAMIL To submit a letter, write to editor@ or by post: Construction Week, PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE. Letters relate to stories posted on www., not just those in the print magazine. Please provide your full name and address. Letters may be edited for space and style. Submission constitutes permission to use. You can also log in to www. to join the conversation.


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ANALYSIS ALARM FOR THE PALM Design changes to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah had complicated cost issues, says a project manager.

The big money cycle Keeping track of payment flows on an ongoing project can be a technical and occasionally legal challenge, and standards must only get tighter. Ben Roberts reports CONSTRUCTION PROJECT CAN



currency, with an infinite number of incoming and outgoing flows of money to counterparties across the supply and investment chain. The variables can be a matrix that are difficult to track: vehicles that need hiring, materials requiring purchase and signoff on delivery, incoming payment from developers, sub contractors and employees needing payment – among a thousand other assets and liabilities. Controlling costs and maintaining transparency is a perennial issue for main contractors. Accounting and accountability needs to remain high as disputes claims increase across the region. Steven Hunt, regional head for construction and engineering at law firm Al Tamimi told CW in May that the company is seeing more work in Abu Dhabi around dispute cases, for example, though not necessarily in conjunction with record keeping. 24 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17–30, 2010

In the boom years in places like Dubai, where a lot of property was sold off-plan, some argue there were dangers that standards in cost control and keeping money traceable could have slipped. Mike Aspinwall, managing director at RedSky IT, an accounting software provider, concurs. Further, he says the ability to keep track of expenditure will be one of the dividers between winners and losers in contracting. “I think what’s happening is that the smarter companies know they have to be accurate with their costs and must tightly track variations when billing clients,” he says. “This is a question of information, visibility, and low overheads.” Some say there are systemic challenges to keeping track of payment flows. Fadi Elayache, general manager of Master Mason CPM, identifies five areas that present problems to the monitoring of cash flow either caused or affecting developers, contractors and consultants.

The first involves the evaluation of ongoing work. “A contractor might have the quantitative surveyor who estimates the work is 20% complete. The consultant might agree to avoid an argument – but is it really at 20%? If it’s not, there is a risk for the client.” He says this milestone percentage of completion can complicate the checks and balances. “Instead of getting lost in details of the stages of work reached, we pay at the

ANALYSIS For upto the minute analysis log in to

end of a project, and at the beginning – but not in between,” he says. The second issue surrounds changes to the contract, which may have started as a lump sum contract, but has been amended into a re-measured contract. This is linked to the third issue, in which, after a contract has been signed, but aspects of the design are altered by different counterparties, the resulting changes may affect the overall cost.

Elayache recounts his time as a project manager on the Palm Jumeirah. “When we started it was a lump sum project and we said to the developer to ‘go ahead with the requirements’. Then people in the developer started to change bits of the design. “I got AED100 million from Nakheel and I had to fight for my contractor. People from the developer said ‘we can improve here’ and thought they could get away with it.”

The fourth issue is the difficulty in obtaining the right information. Elayache explains that it is often a challenge to get a thorough overall view of a project even aside from monetary issues, which is why his firm advocates the use of value engineers. “I hired three project control companies as I wanted to get a good picture and we had bonuses linked to performance. With the traditional way of construction it’s difficult to control work progress.” JULY 17–30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 25


The last issue regards the processing of costs. To maintain a clear separation of the different types of outflows, Elayache recommends logging all overheads at the beginning of the contract, with costs for specific work undertaking of the contract later. This allows changes to the design if needed. The alternative is to calculate overheads with each specific work activity, which can quickly complicate matters and be difficult to calculate, especially when designs are changed and this will affect the work needed and the resulting overheads for that work. Project payment disputes Money flow between developers, contractors and investors has been a critical discussion point amid the economic downturn on the back of high-profile legal cases. One such aspect of this is the introduction and use of the ‘escrow’ payment method – essentially an independent account into which investors would pay funds with payments released to the developer within an agreed structure. Walid Jaafar, partner at Fichte&Co, a Dubai based law firm, says that although the concept has been around for some time, it is new to the real estate market in the

“Instead of getting lost in details of the stages of work reached, we pay at the end of a project, and at the beginning – but not in between.” Fadi Elayache, Master Mason CPM region and coincided with the high-growth years in the Dubai market. “When the escrow account system was created in the real estate industry all developers rushed to their banks to meet a deadline to set them up,” he says. “The escrow system means money is paid into an independent account, and when a milestone is reached, a consultant will verify the payment to the developer. If a project is on hold, the developer is obliged to return money to investors.” However, Jaafar says there have been cases in which when investors seek to

reclaim funds, the money has been taken out by the developer and it is empty. The money should be able to be traced, he says, but the legal representatives cannot go to the bank to seek amends. Court proceedings usually result from the non-completion of a project or when the developer has defaulted – often the two circumstances are linked. But Jaafar adds that developers would defend themselves when the original contract does not state a specific date for completion. “For a lot of agreements the time in which it should be completed is essentially forever. Some developers will be working under a specific completion date, but in other cases a contract is signed in 2007 with a deadline of sometime in 2012, giving them five years. “Legally we would say that this is an unbalanced contract – all the buyer can do is sue the company, which can take a long time with the buyer incurring more costs.” Jaafar believes that on the back of high-profile lawsuits and a deflated property market compared with 2007, there will be closer scrutiny of contracts. “I think people have learned their lesson with regards contracts,” he says.

Developing problems: a case study Developers must also keep a sharp scrutiny over payment flows, particularly given recent high profile cases around illicit transactions. Last year two Australian property high-fliers Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee, formerly of Nakheel, were charged with fraud following claims from developer Sunland that it was wrongly sold a plot in the Dubai Waterfront through an alleged deal between Joyce, Lee and Prudentia Investors which had allegedly no claim on the specific plot. A critical payment of US $1.2 million was dug up by auditors, drawing together the Nakheel workers with the two companies in what became a convoluted case of disputed intentions. All overheads must be calculated at the beginning of a project, some say (picture for illustration only). 26 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17–30, 2010

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QATARI CONTRACTOR ON THE PROWL Black Cat Engineering and Construction’s general manager, Adnan Al-Mubarak on how the oil and gas specialist is branching out into new territory By Daniel Canty and Stuart Matthews


ATAR’S HOME-GROWN Black Cat Engineering and Construction has been grabbing headlines for all the right reasons. The company, which began with a small office in Doha and a single portacabin site office in the Dukhan oil and gas field, is today stamping its mark upon many of Qatar’s most ambitious upstream and energy related projects. The company’s evolution into Qatar’s largest EPIC and maintenance contractor for the upstream oil and gas industry has coincided with quite unparalleled activity in the small Gulf state. Today the company claims a manpower base of over 2500 men and anticipated annual turnover just shy of the US $100 million mark. Now it is starting to look around the Gulf, as well as international markets, in the search for more projects to make its mark on. “We have also begun to properly invest in areas outside our traditional energy remit, in particular civil engineering,” said Adnan Al-Mubarak, the general manager of Black Cat Engineering and Construction. “Doha JULY 17–30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 29


Black Cat is an established player in the Qatar construction market, having specialised in supporting the development of the local petroleum industry (picture for illustration purposes only).

will see around $60 - $70 billion worth of rebuilding and civil engineering projects in the coming years.” “We obviously want to be aligned with those opportunities. Roads, utilities and MEP work is all something we can bring with our background.” Al-Mubarak has been with Black Cat since 2007 and has presided over a period of significant growth. This period has seen company turnover grow from around 40 million Qatari riyals in 2007 to 450 million riyals in 2009. Like other specialist contractors who have migrated from the demanding field of oil and gas, with its detailed specifi-

2,500 US $2.8m 450m Current manpower

Value of latest deal signed with ABB

2009’s turnover in Riyals

cations, civil engineering work is something well within the company’s scope. Currently much of the civil work it does is to support other company divisions. “A lot of our experience in the oil and gas business is geared around the support infrastructure of the massive engineering sites and projects, which have sprung up in Qatar,” said Al-Mubarak. “In Qatar we have become known for the strength of our technical ability. Trust is a massive issue in Qatar, so once you have fostered that sort of relationship with companies here then life becomes much easier when the big contracts come up.”


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Black Cat is expanding into civil work (illustration only).

“I want my guys everywhere, learning all the time. That way when the big jobs come, we are there and we know how they [the customers] operate.”

The company has expansionist ambitions. It is eyeing work in the UAE and Iraq and is looking to establish itself as a skilled engineering contractor in these markets, but is aware that competition for work will be tough. “The system we have put in place to handle the type of complex jobs we are undertaking is totally suitable to being rolled out further,” said Al-Mubarak. “I think the Emirates will be a good place for us to do business, plus, we all hope Iraq. “Abu Dhabi is, of course, the hub and the greatest potential business area for us in the UAE. We have already begun negotiations to form a company in Abu Dhabi. Once Iraq is stabilised it will be a good place to move in for a company with our skill sets.” Black Cat is also investing in an operation in India, which it hopes to use as a vast source of engineering manpower. “With more engineers in the organisation we can take even bigger jobs, as well as enabling a faster in-house implementation of engineering tasks,” said Al-Mubarak. The kind of work he has an eye on is civil engineering, especially the associated packages that come with big oil and gas jobs. The


Adnan Al-Mubarak is a mechanical engineer by profession. He first graduated from the University of Baghdad, Iraq, in 1972. He then completed a master’s degree at the Cranfield Institute of Technology in the UK. He returned to Iraq in 1978, but describes the situation there as ‘becoming intolerable’, so soon afterwards he moved to Abu Dhabi. There he spent 12 years at Abu-Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), seconded to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Limited (GASCO). He started out as an office engineer, and rose through the ranks to take on managerial and supervisory roles including the contracts administration superintendent, engineering superintendent and the head of the planning section. Time in Canada followed, before a return to the GCC in 1995, when Al-Mubarak took up a role with QatarGas. There, as head of engineering services, he worked with a $5 billion operating group for Qatar’s North Field Gas Project and directed the implementation of major capital engineering projects for the optimization of plant and field systems. He joined Black Cat in 2007, when the turnover was around 40 million Qatari riyals. Al-Mubarak encouraged Black Cat to bid for big jobs when he first joined. By 2009 turnover had risen to 450 million riyals. Having been on both sides of the client-contractor equation for so many years, Al-Mubarak feels he was able to bring some customer alignment to the operation. “Previously we hadn’t really had the rigorous enough policies and procedures in place for everything,” said Al-Mubarak. “This gave us a strong core of knowledge based operations, which in turn helped build trust with our customers.” This has worked. Qatar Petroleum has been happy to award the company $100 million-plus jobs.

• 450 million TURNOVER IN 2009 JULY 17–30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 31


Al-Mubarak: “When quality becomes the watch-word for the civil projects we want to be ready...”

civil work is intended as an additional business stream for the company, which is well aware that the competition will be stiff. “Around the Middle East there is a tendency not to invest top dollar in civil projects, but in Qatar they will,” he said. “When quality becomes the watch-word for the civil projects we want to be ready and there with proven capabilities under our belt, and that’s how we will position ourselves.” Al-Mubarak acknowledges that developing know-how and management systems takes time, so the company is not rushing into new markets. He raises a concern that operating companies are looking for the highest technical and safety standards, but ‘aren’t really willing to pay for it’.

“With more engineers in the organisation we can take even bigger jobs, as well as enabling a faster in-house implementation of engineering tasks.”

“Often we have seen technical competency and safety compliance like a finish line,” he said. “Once you cross a certain threshold – that’s enough. Going much further than that isn’t valued as highly as it should be. Because of this, performance throughout the market doesn’t improve. It’s like saying to contractors I don’t want injuries, so firms just hide them and deliver a clean safety record.” Naturally safety is a big issue for a company which started out in the oil and gas business – just as dangerous as regular construction, with the added risk of explosion – but there is a price to pay as a contractor building a record like Black Cat’s. “The difference between having all the best systems in place is ultimately higher overheads,” said Al-Mubarak. “We have layers of safety managers and technical advisors, which other firms do not bother with, so our base operating cost is obviously higher. But we want to go forwards and this is the way to do it. “It’s the same with those companies who do not pay salaries for six months. For a responsible company to compete with cowboys is impossible, so I think there should be more responsibility on the client to understand who he is doing business with.” Al-Mubarak knows his company’s strength lies in EPC work and lays claim to being the only Qatari contractor with its engineering capabilities in-house, something he believes creates an advantage. “All the others have alliances with international companies, but for us that is a big handicap,” he said. “Having engineering in house is much more flexible, otherwise you are not much more than a paper-pusher.” That said the company is not averse to developing the right partnerships and JVs, if they can strengthen its position. In October last year AMEC, one of the largest international engineering and project management companies, joined forces with Black Cat, forming a joint venture agreement to offer asset support services to the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors working in Qatar.


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Black Cat counts QatarGas and other heavyweight oil industry companies among its clients (picture for illustration only).

“Ras Laffan in quite an amazing sight these days and these vast investments will take a lot of looking after,” said Al-Mubarak. “I think the technological know-how is vital when you are dealing with such safetycritical, and valuable assets and infrastructure. That’s one of the primary reasons for the joint venture with AMEC. Through the joint venture we can bring vast international know-how and experience to the Black Cat offering.”

Black Cat’s strength lies in EPC work (illustration only).

The JV should be seen as part of a wider trend, which is accelerating in the region, of forming top tier, preferred bidder status firms with global competencies, but national backing. But this large-scale international cooperation doesn’t mean Black Cat’s business development work is just focused on scooping up the biggest jobs. Al-Mubarak is a strong advocate of looking out for the smaller ones too. “We are engaging with as many customers as possible, even on quite small jobs,” he said. “I am often asked by the board ‘why do you take this small job?’ The answer is because this is the best way to learn the [clients] characteristics and processes, direct from our customers. “I want my guys everywhere, learning all the time. That way when the big jobs come, we are there and we know how they [the customers] operate.” Other contractors take note, when the big jobs come round, there may well be a Black Cat waiting to take them.

Black Cat is currently executing projects in Dukhan, Mesaieed and Ras Laffan and its client base includes Qatar Petroleum, Gasal (a JV between QP and Air Liquide), Rasgas, Qatargas, QChem, Qafco, Petrofac and Hyundai. Recent and ongoing projects include pipelines and compressor stations, storage facilities, control room upgrades and brown field modifications to existing process plants. Last month Black Cat awarded a US $2.8 million deal to ABB to design and develop a major integrated Safety Integrity Level 3 and process control solution for a gas pipeline project in Dukhan. Dukhan is home to one of Qatar’s largest oil fields, encompassing four reservoirs, three of which are oil reserves and one containing associated gas. The production facilities located in the oil field produce over 335,000 barrels per day. In 2009 the firm scooped a major contract from QP for the EPIC of Sweet Fuel Gas Supply to Dukhan consumers. With an approximate contract value of $110 million, the project is scheduled for completion in March 2012. In addition, 42km pipeline, cable trenching, road works, 62 culverts, 83 track crossing, pig launchers and receiver stations, valve stations, 33 KV sub-station & control system works are involved. For Qatar Petroleum the company is also working on Ras Laffan Emergency & Safety College in a joint venture with SEG. The contract is worth an estimated US $302 million. Due for completion later this year, the object of the academy is to provide a fully functional, state of the art, training facility for Qatar and the wider MENA region. The brief involves the design and construction of a centralized fire and emergency response training facility capable of meeting all of the possible hazard scenarios faced by the local petrochemical industry.



High prospects 91 storeys and complete with a crown – Elite Residence aims to be ti l projects. j t CW W wentt on one of Dubai’s most prestigious residential site to check on construction progress By Elizabeth Broomhall


T IS, ONE OF SEVERAL HIGH-PROFILE residential projects in Dubai to get back on its feet this year, but Elite Residence is by far among the fastest-progressing. Constructed as far up as the 64th floor with just 20 residential levels and a roof still to go, the tower, quite literally, has high prospects. Advancing quickly and efficiently alongside its sister project The Princess Tower, (located just metres away), Tameer’s second-tallest, quickestmoving development is a clear indication that Dubai is looking forward to an upturn. “The recession has had an impact on the Elite, I would be lying if I said otherwise,” says Tameer’s chief development officer John Zwets. “Although we had sold the majority of the [residential] units at that time, the financial crisis impacted on how people deployed their capital and paid their bills. One of those bills was to satisfy their agreements with the 34 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17–30, 2010

developer. It became more labour intensive to get people to make payments.” He goes on to say how, as a result, it became more difficult to pay the main contractor Arabian Construction Company, which in turn slowed construction down and delayed the project by as long as six months (though he reiterates that the scheduled completion date has not changed since the project received RERA approval in August 2009). And yet today, it is almost as if the downturn never happened. Up on the 64th floor, a level which so far consists of just the lift shaft or ‘core’ of the building, workers are preparing steel for concrete casting, and ‘jumpform’ formwork is in place ready to be deployed for further upward excursions. Luckily for the workers, safety seems to be a priority for the developer. As well as being equipped with safety hats, the men are enclosed by what looks like a rather secure

fencing structure. “We are very focused on safety,” says Tameer’s development director Darren Ingram, adding: “as a result, we have had no major incidents on site.” Valued somewhere between US $250million and US $299million, with a total built-up area of 135,760m2, the project involves construction of a 380m tower located close to Dubai Marina, facing The Palm Jumeirah – the aim being to provide panoramic views of one of Dubai’s most prestigious stretches. When finished, it will have a total of 91 floors, including four basements, the ground floor and an additional 86 floors above ground level, with four parking decks and 82 residential levels. It will offer 697 residential units to wealthy investors, with amenities such as temperaturecontrolled swimming pools, high speed elevators, a ballroom and a billiards hall. With this in mind, it becomes difficult to see how Elite Residence is any different to the


LEVEL 64 Arabian Construction Company has built the core of the tower up to level 64, with another 20 floors to go until the last residential level will be completed.

“You can’t call Elite a traditional building, because it is simply not. I think what the architect was trying to do was give it a Dubai flavour.” – Tameer’s chief development officer John Zwets

large number of other prestigious, residential developments that are back in business this year now that the worst of the downturn has passed. According to the developers, it’s all about architecture. “If you look at the shape and the formation of the building, it could probably be described as an interesting blend of what people consider to be modern architecture and what obviously is a remarkable building that really drove the emergence of technologies and architectural expression,” says Zwets. “You can’t call Elite a traditional building, because it is simply not. I think what the architect was trying to do was give it a ‘Dubai flavour.’ And by this, I mean something different to the bland sky scrapers you would see in another metropolis like Hong Kong, or New York. I think he tried to give it a bit of soul.” This so-called ‘Elite theme’ is perhaps better depicted by reference to the project’s unique

features. According to Ingram, the colour scheme is particularly important, as are the finishes and structural idiosyncrasies. “Among the things that distinguish Elite Residence from other developments are the location and the unique design attributes,” he says. “The façade system will provide a superior external finish, quite unlike some other residential buildings, and for this particular tower, there is a very unique roof feature.” Otherwise known as the ‘crown’, the roof, as explained by project manager Frank Zaid, is a key part of the Elite theme, and will be fitted with 400 small lights that will change colour at night. These lights are in addition to lighting down the mast and sides of the building. Customised by a specialist lighting consultant, the external lighting for the tower is itself another fundamental element of the design, which according to Ingram, highlights Elite’s unique architectural features. JULY 17-30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 35


ZONE 3 Belhasa has finished block works on the basements and will soon start work on the super structures.

With the tower standing at 380m high however, it is important to consider how the roof will be constructed, and indeed how the lights will be fitted safely. “The roof will be pre-fabricated at ground level, and lifted up to the top of the building in stages and installed by crane,” explains Arabian Construction Company’s (ACC’s) project director Bill Parker. “The light fittings will be pre-installed into the cladding at the cladding factory, to avoid having to fit the lights at height and ensure safety.” But the developers are keen to stress that Elite as a project is “not a pre-fabricated development but a built building”, which may explain why lower levels of the project are at different stages to those higher up. The first floors for example, are complete with plastered walls, windows and kitchen furnishings, in sharp contrast to level 64 which remains an open air space. Parker explains why. “The construction of Elite is all being done in a planned sequence. Effectively what you have is a vertical climbing of trades, which is an efficient way of constructing this kind of building. The nature of high rise demands a vertical progression based on the structural plans.” He adds: “What we like to talk about is a typical ‘floor cycle’ where each trade is trying to meet its own target within that cycle.” In the case of Elite, the first stage in the cycle is the structural works, followed immediately by the cladding to enclose the building quickly 36 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17–30, 2010


PANORAMIC VIEWS The developer distinguishes Elite from other projects partly because of location.

and maintain safety, and additionally because the walls and ceilings act as a buffer for the skin of the building. The block work, plaster work and tiling is next, followed by the MEP works, joinery, ceiling grids, ceiling plaster, paint work and finally the fit outs. The whole process takes approximately nine months, suggesting that the structural works for the last main floor must be completed by early 2011, should the tower be constructed in time for its scheduled completion date – the end of Q3/Octo-

“The construction is being done in a planned sequence. Effectively what you have is a vertical climbing of trades, which is an efficient way of constructing this kind of building.” - Arabian Construction Company’s project director Bill Parker

ber next year. The question is: are the time schedules feasible? “I think it is a reasonable programme,” confirms Parker. “We’re working steadily towards completion.” To achieve it however, he suggests that coordination between the main contractor and subcontractors is critical, which at Elite, is being well managed by the site engineers. Certainly the developer seems happy with the site’s progress. Speaking about the structural works, Zwets says: “The project is currently progressing at around four, sometimes five floors a month, so that’s a five to seven-day cycle per floor. The contractor, ACC, is doing remarkably well, so we’re very happy with them. We hadn’t used them before except for The Princess Tower [also under construction] and we’ve had a similar experience there. They are a very good contractor.” Subcontractors include MEP firm Reliance Electro-Mechanical Contracting (REMCO), lifts provider Kone and cladding expert Cladtech. The steel is being supplied by three different contractors, including Cicon (which is providing the rebar), Freyssinet (which is supplying the steel for post-tensioning) and Tiger Steel, which was only recently awarded the contract to provide the fabricated steel for the roof feature. Concrete is being supplied by Universal Concrete Products Limited Company. The developer anticipates that the project will

require 17,900 tonnes of steel and 75m3 of concrete to complete. To reduce the volume of steel and concrete used however, and minimise material handling on-site, not to mention the time and costs of the overall project, post-tension reinforcement technology has been incorporated into the structural design for the floor slabs in the place of traditional reinforced concrete. “Posttension concrete slabs are leaner so your building gets lighter and you need less traditional reinforcement,” explains Zwets. “This reduces the mass of the building, and means you can construct faster because the slabs require less steel and less steel fixing, therefore less action by the workforce, so there is a reduction in time as well as costs. “It is also means the floors are lower and around 5cm thinner than traditional concrete, which makes quite a difference when you’re building a 91-storey tower, with 5m less to build to achieve the same number of floors.” Time and efficiency certainly seem to be of the essence with the completion date little more than 12 months away. “The structure is reinforced steel because this is more efficient for the vertical structure, but the floor slabs will rely on post-tension reinforcement as it carries the load better,” adds Parker. Efficiency seems to be important for Tameer both in terms of the construction of the building and its long-term operation. Though they JULY 17-30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 37


TAMEER’S CURRENT BIG PROJECTS: Elite Residence, Dubai Princess Tower, Dubai The Imperial Residence, Dubai Silver Tower, Business Bay, Dubai Regal Tower, Business Bay, Dubai Tameer Towers, Reem Island, Abu Dhabi

38 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 10-16, 17–30, 2010 10–16, 2010




maintain that “Tameer’s objective is to be a developer and not an asset manager,” executives at the firm are keen to emphasise their consideration for the building’s long-term maintenance. According to Zwets, an example of this was when they employed an internal facilities management team to carry out a comprehensive service review at the beginning of the project, which meant that managers were able to rule out any concerns over how the building would be managed and operated efficiently in the long term. To encourage environmentally-friendly living, Tameer has also installed a central chilled water system on site for the air conditioning of the building (with a view to reducing energy costs). This system will be in addition to relying on a high-tech cladding system that will maximise insulation. “The cladding system consists of unitised panels which are manufactured in the quality-controlled factory situation and then installed on site as complete panels,” says Ingram. “This provides excellent thermal insulation and acoustic properties, as well as minimising the amount of work on site.” As it stands there is a significant amount of work currently taking place at Elite, all the major contracts having been awarded to subcontractors and as many as 1,400 workers on site at any one time. As the tower grows in height, Tameer expects an increase in man power, with a peak of around 2,400 workers as the project draws closer to completion. Thus, the only outstanding concern is how a 697-capacity residential building will manage to fill its units in the context of Dubai’s hous-

380m 91 697 135,760m project height


residential units


total built up area



A VERTICAL CLIMBING OF TRADES The tower is being built floor by floor, with kitchen fit outs already complete on some of the lower levels.

ing surplus. Zwets is quick to answer. “The easiest thing to say is that this building was designed and started a few years ago before the recession. To date we are 95% sold out.” he says. Perhaps then, there is room for more residential projects after all? Maybe another Elite-themed tower – continuing the brand name? “It’s an idea,” he says, “but not something we’ll be doing right now. I don’t know if the market is ready for new buildings at the moment. Like all developers in the region, and probably across the world, Tameer is focusing on delivering its existing projects, rather than starting new ones.” He’s not wrong there.

“The recession has had an impact on the construction of Elite, I would be lying if I said otherwise.”

Contractors: • Arabian Construction Company, main contractor • Adnan Saffarini Design, architect and lead consultant • Reliance Electro-Mechanical Contracting (REMCO), MEP works • Zemin Teknolojisi A.S. Foundation Technology, piling works • Kone, elevator supplier • UTS Carrier, air conditioning and heating supplier • Cladtech, cladding and aluminium products supplier • Universal Concrete Products concrete supplier • Combisafe, safety products supplier • Grocon Lubeca Systems, formwork supplier • Doka Gulf, formwork supplier • Cicon, reinforcement steel supplier • Freyssinet, Post-tensioning steel supplier • Tiger Steel, fabricated steel supplier



Bed count

As the demand for hospital beds increases across the GCC, the number of construction projects in this sector continues to rise. But for those looking to bid in this developing market, hospital building presents a number of challenges. CW investigates the issues and complexities involved in construction. Elizabeth Broomhall reports





hospital projects are one of the few types of development that are unlikely to slow down. Leading the GCC with a US $10 billion hospital building initiative currently, Saudi Arabia is certainly preparing for a sharp rise in hospital demand, whilst according to healthcare engineering experts, Kuwait has set aside roughly KD 37 billion (US $127 billion) to spend on hospital projects in the next four years with a view to replacing inadequate facilities built three decades ago. In the UAE, two of Abu Dhabi’s biggest projects include the complete refurbishment of both Al Ain and Al Mafraq hospitals, whilst in Dubai, a report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry anticipates as many as 17 new hospitals providing 2,325 beds will be built in 2010 alone. The increase in demand, expected to hit a massive 165,000 beds by 2025, pushing healthcare costs up five fold to US $60 billion according to a report by McKinsey, is partly due to a growing

prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity throughout the region, as well as increasing populations and a fresh influx of expatriates. In some countries, there is an additional necessity to bring in more healthcare tourism. But with a growing need for healthcare facilities, inevitably, there emerges a new demand for hospital building, and as with all developing markets, it is critical for contractors, architects and consultants to consider the pros and cons. Speaking about the negatives, WSP Middle East’s technical director for healthcare Carl Platt says: “Healthcare facilities are far more complex in their design than other types of projects. The entire construction team is liable for ensuring quality standards are met, and there are far more opportunities to get it wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.” On the other hand, he adds, there are plenty of new business opportunities for contractors and consultants, with a guaranteed

Arzanah Wellness and Diagnostic Centre, to open in 2012, is being developed by Mubadala at Arzanah Medical Complex.



“A continuous supply of power is especially important in an operating theatre where a mains failure can be a matter of life and death.” demand for additional projects irrespective of the world’s economic challenges. According to a chief designer of hospital projects from an Abu Dhabi consultancy, there may also be less competition for hospital projects due to their complex nature, while profit margins tend to be slightly higher and a good reputation awaits the relevant contractors. But before firms can even think about the general risks of hospital building, industry specialists urge them to consider the less obvious complexities that make hospital construction so unique.

Big demands and tight specifications “Hospital projects are more technologically advanced than standard construction projects as they have more intelligent systems built into them,” says Aldar Properties’ senior development manager Hadi Sha. “Due to the number and complexity of these systems, there is typically a lot of infrastructure congestion which can create coordination issues and slow construction down. Medical equipment, IT and security systems for example are constantly being updated during the construction period, which can mean last minute modifications are required.” At the same time, he maintains, contractors and designers are expected to ensure a certain standard of quality. “Minimising the changes to the project can help prevent a number of issues, but it is part of the industry’s DNA to continuously seek new and innovative methods of delivering healthcare facilities without compromising on quality.” Intensifying difficulties is the fact that the UAE has no specified healthcare standards, but tends to adopt US policies and Health Technical Memorandums (HTMs) from the UK when required. Meanwhile, the projects continue to be subject to government and 44 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

An artist’s impression of the Cleveland Clinic hospital in Abu Dhabi, which is under development by Mubadala.

local health authority requirements, (which vary according to the individual project and regional demand), as well as an array of conflicting departmental specifications. “Each hospital department has a different set of end user requirements,” says Meinhardt’s hospital expert and head of MEP division Stephen Clough. “In some projects you can deal with as many as twenty different departments, so coordinating needs can be challenging. Often they each wish to impart their own set of requirements which may be contrary to the agreed general standards.” Referring

to a trend of tight programmes and detailed design specifications, he adds that collating comments and approvals from hospital operators can be a lengthy process. “Budget can also be an issue as additional requirements by the end user can have a significant effect on costs.” Whilst costs are generally not a huge concern for the more standard types of projects, when it comes to hospital building, the issue of finance continues to crop up. The Abu Dhabi designer says hospital projects are “definitely pricier than other projects,” and that the cost


architectural thought. One hospital feature that is particularly dependent on good design is the need for privacy, though the requirements will vary according to the type of hospital and location of the project. In Saudi Arabia for instance, it is necessary to separate ladies’ and men’s sections when designing the unit, whilst the number of rooms and services of any facility may be affected by the unit’s medical specialty and average length of in-patients’ stay. The amount and size of equipment will also be considered. As regards upholding patient dignity and care, space planning by architects is essential. “It can be difficult, but it is nonetheless critical to ensure adjacencies between departments for the sake of patient dignity,” says Platt. “For example, diagnostic and imaging suites should be positioned close to accident and emergency departments.” Architects also need to take special care at the design stage, he says, to avoid patients being wheeled around highly populated areas on trolleys or in hospital clothing. Designing the building in such as a way so as to eliminate the spread of noise through a facility may also be important, though Platt emphasises the role of engineers here, whose responsibilities include acoustic control through strategies like fitting attenuators in air ducts to limit sound travel.

Complex MEP works

is often “two or three times the amount for a residential project per square metre.” Platt agrees. “People don’t realise exactly how much it costs to build a hospital. Just because the projects are sometimes of higher value, doesn’t mean they necessarily yield more profits.”

Architectural sophistication Whilst high rises, hotels and residential developments are commonly renowned for their architectural significance, it is actually healthcare facilities that invite the most advanced

Perhaps more widely acknowledged than the architectural complexities are the extremely specific MEP requirements of hospital projects – central to efficient operation due to the need for a closelycontrolled, infection-free, safe environment, impervious to electrical failure. The unique challenges, which largely revolve around thermal control, air management, power generation, waste disposal and equipment installation, not only impact on the MEP contractor, but on all parties involved in the project’s design and construction. Unlike the UK where thermal control is about keeping hospitals warm, in the UAE there is a clear need to keep the facility cool. Contrary to standard projects where sustainable air conditioning systems are installed simply and easily, hospital cooling is more complex. Burdened with having to balance the demand for cold air with that for nat-

ural light, hospitals are under pressure to reduce the amount of energy used by cooling systems whilst preventing the spread of airborne diseases – a difficult task given that most sustainable air conditioning systems rely on re-circulated air. Platt explains: “One of the challenges of hospital building in the GCC is to reduce the large solar gains into the hospital. The use of glazing to provide natural light (proven to be beneficial in the healing process) can be problematic when you imagine what the

Aldar’s Head of HSE Andrew Broderick on health and safety during hospital building “The main issue when building any hospital is the extra amount of MEP works required, which can be between 40% and 60% more than those required for a standard project. The risks include manual handling, working with electrical hand tools, working from mobile scaffolds and stepladders (which occurs more during MEP work) and eventually working on live electrical circuits. Injuries that result from this kind of work tend to take the form of hand injuries, eye injuries, back strains, falls from height (since all MEP services are contained at height) and electrical shocks.

How to avoid injuries: • Daily tool box talks. These are essential for explaining methods and carrying out risk assessments for the tasks ahead. • Use specialised stepladders where possible. These have a frame that fits around the worker to prevent them from falling rather than the traditional A-frame stepladders that easily topple over and have no way of stopping the worker standing on the top step. • Ensure workers are trained and competent when erecting mobile scaffolds. • Remember that safety should always come first.



inside of a car is like in the summer. But of course, we don’t want to simply install bigger chillers, due to the large amount of energy they consume. “Thus, to maintain thermal control,” he goes on, “architects and engineers need to consider alternative options, such as greater insulation to keep warm air out, and shading options which can limit the solar gains onto the fabric of the building. “The difficulty with re-circulated air,” he adds, “is that you risk spreading infection. In a normal building you would literally just re-circulate the air, but in a hospital, especially areas such as operating theatres and intensive care units, this is not possible, as you would be re-circulating contaminated air.” A more efficient system, he explains, is to pump filtered fresh air into a room, pull the air out and just cool it down with the existing air. For architects, engineers and contractors, the means for doing this can be complicated. Containing airborne diseases generally in areas of risk such as operating theatres and intensive care units is also complex due to the need to be positively pressurised to protect the patients. “The mechanical systems in a hospital are very advanced, the MEP works specifically have a higher and tighter specification in a hospital than on other projects and there is more emphasis on air filtration,” says Clough. “Services are designed in such a way as to compartmentalise areas to prevent the spread of airborne diseases, and the pressurisation arrangement has to be carefully considered.” As it happens, infection is not only spread through the air, but through waste. Platt suggests waste disposal is also a huge consideration for designers and contractors, with different systems having to be installed for different types of waste. “There are three types of waste in hospitals, one is the general waste from sinks and toilets, another is the chemical waste from laboratories and the last is the waste from cleaning and sterilisation. Each type of waste must be managed separately so as not to enter the water system and spread infection. This creates additional challenges for construction firms and MEP specialists, who respectively have to design and implement these systems.” 46 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

“It is part of the industry’s DNA to continuously seek new and innovative methods of delivering healthcare facilities without compromising on quality” When it comes to power, there are even more problems, since hospitals must ensure a continuous supply of energy at all times. According to Clough, they may even require many different back-up systems to provide electricity in the event of a mains failure. “This is especially important in an operating theatre where a mains failure can be a matter of life and death,” he says. Thus, hospitals need to have back-up generators and uninterruptible power supplies installed during construction, which Clough says must be “connected through one or more primary automatic transfer switches, to emergency lighting systems, alarm systems, blood banks, nurses’ calling systems, telephone equipment, task illumination and receptacles in patient-critical areas.” Linked to this issue is that of equipment installation. Since each division of the hospital is likely to require high-tech equipment, installation jobs would be extremely difficult for non-specialists. “If you consider X-ray equipment for example,” says the Abu Dhabi designer, “it requires a specific power supply, certain wirings and cables, specific connections to the Building Management System (BMS), its own flooring requirements or platforms and room temperature control. The walls will also need to be insulated effectively to protect them from X-rays.” And where multi-million pound machines such as MRI scanners need to be integrated, there is an added risk of serious financial outlay should the contractors take it upon themselves to install this kind of equipment and accidentally damage it. Even where specialists are brought in, project managers

17 165,000 US$ 127 b

New hospitals planned for Dubai in 2010

Extra beds needed by 2025

Kuwait to spend on hospitals in the next four years


Building hospitals sustainably WSP Middle East’s technical director for healthcare Carl Platt says: “Hospitals in the UAE are notoriously energy draining because of the need to provide controlled conditions and supply large items of medical equipment. The challenge is always to make them more sustainable, which is where the skill of design comes into play and the ability to innovate.”

Tips from the experts at Meinhardt and WSP: • Install energy saving equipment, such as Air Handling Units (AHUs), automatic taps, waterless taps and dual flush toilets. • Make space for shading. Shaded areas and tempered zones are able to buffer heat loads without using energy. They also respond well to evaporative and natural cooling techniques. • Control the amount of energy entering and leaving the conditioned space by insulating the building as as much as possible (high roof and walls insulation). • Consider alternative energy sources to replace back-up generators. • Replace traditional materials and equipment with such things as low absorption glass, energy-saving lightbulbs or LED-lighting. Construction work on the 260,000sq² Cleveland Clinic hospital building in Sowwah Island, Abu Dhabi, began earlier this year.

should remain aware of the risk of damage caused by leaving equipment in the heat for long periods.

Tricky finishing works The finishing works, sometimes perceived to be ‘post-construction works’, are extremely important in hospital building. According to technical experts, the need for perfection puts a substantial amount of pressure on those not only carrying out the finishes, but on the other contractors as well. “On completion, a hospital building has to be immaculately clean,” explains Clough. “This means that nothing other than the equipment required

should be left in floor or ceiling voids, dust has to be kept to a minimum during all stages of the build and surfaces have to be sealed.” Central to these requirements is hygiene and the ongoing use of the building after construction – it being imperative to consider the long-term operation of the facility during the design, supply and construction phases. “The paints and all the finishes must be washable and must not allow bacterial growth,” says the Abu Dhabi designer. “All the materials and equipment installed must be suitable for their purpose for a long time without the need for regular repair and maintenance. In a hospital, you can’t tolerate failures or

shut-downs for repairs.” He adds that the public areas where operators expect heavy pedestrian and light equipment movement, must be fitted with heavy duty flooring and paintwork to protect them from damage. Across the board, experts agree that successful hospital building boils down to quick and early coordination. This, on top of expert knowledge of the specific requirements, and an approach to building which is advanced as the systems themselves. Integrated architecture and engineering is therefore paramount, alongside recognition that the hospital environment is profoundly influenced by the building form and envelope. JULY 17-30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 47



Post haste Post-tensioning reinforcement now dominates many areas of GCC construction, though innovation hasn’t stopped. Ben Roberts reports






rarely prevents innovation among its players – indeed, the best ideas often arise when money is tight and needs to be conserved. Advocates of post-tensioning work may attest to this, on the back of the growth in this method of building reinforcement over the last ten years. It has provided stiff competition for other methods of using steel to strengthen concrete, such as the use of reinforcing bars. Today it is ubiquitous in bridge building and for structures that will carry a heavy load, such as multi-storey car parks – and innovations within post-tensioning are continuing apace. Warwick Ironmonger, general manager for the Middle East Region at Dubai-based NASA Structural Systems, the local trading name of Structural Systems, says an educative drive by the company 14 years ago targeting consultants, authorities and contractors, has paid dividends. “Nowadays, most consultants and contractors in the UAE are familiar, at least to some extent, with the efficiencies that can be achieved through the introduction 48 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE JULY 17-30, 26-JULY 2010 2, 2010

of post-tensioning, but the concept needs further explanation to consultants and contractors in neighbouring Gulf states where there is interest in, but little awareness of, the technology,” he says. To begin at the beginning, post tensioning prevents concrete from developing, or at least minimises the development, of cracks, allowing the structure made from that concrete to be able to hold heavy weight without ‘deflecting’ under the pressure. Deflection causes a concrete beam to elongate, causing cracks. The process involves feeding highstrength steel strands – usually referred to as tendons – through drilled holes in the concrete. These tendons are stretched by hydraulic jacks and held in place by anchoring devices that look like wedges. The tautness of the permanently-stretched tendon essentially transfers to the strength of the concrete. Post-tensioning engineers say that it reduces the amount of concrete needed. This allows the same beam, slab or wall to be thinner, with increased strength, allowing for all kinds of elaborate and intricate building designs to come into reality. Plus, less concrete means less cost.

Structural Systems’ projects: Ajman One and Borouge 2.

Anish Thomas, technical manager at Middle East Prestressing (MEPS), says financial districts, where tall towers are constructed in close proximity to each other, also call for post-tensioning of the foundation walls. “Traditionally walls would be supported by anchors, but when you have


walling. In each case, the walls can be made thinner than with traditional methods. “The strand acts as a stay cable as if for a bridge,” explains Thomas. “It’s also quite a fast process too, and there is less concrete needed. For example, for the wall for Dubai Marina, where the concrete blocks could be as wide as eight metres, the thickness can be cut down, as well as the added benefit of better finishes and higher durability.” VSL, the engineering giant that has post-tensioning as its core business, also

“The concept needs further explanation to neighbouring Gulf states where there is interest in posttensioning.”

buildings which are very close together, the client won’t allow you to drill on another’s land, so in that case you can’t have a ground anchor support,” he explains. MEPS is distinctive in the Middle East by offering this service of reinforcing underground walls, also known as diaphragm

conducts diaphragm walling but through its foundation subsidiary Hong Kong Intrafor. For standard post-tensioning, its recent projects in the area include the Saadiyat Road Link, one of the UAE’s largest civil infrastructure projects, which sees VSL provide strands for seven bridges with a total deck length of 1.6km. VSL was also involved with the Adnec Capital Gate Tower, a 35-floor mixed-use development with a total area of 50,000m2, and completed post-tensioning works, as well anchorage sets, for the Palm Jumeirah’s Trunk Spine Bridge, in Dubai. Expansion seems to be the key for all post-tensioning engineers, and the education of the industry must continue. Ironmonger adds that relatively strong demand in Dubai should not affect the drive into surrounding markets. “There is definitely a need to scour adjoining emirates and GCC countries for infrastructure opportunities, as no significant bridge projects such as the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse Development Access Bridges and the Al Qudra Bridge both recently completed by Structural Systems, are currently being tendered by the RTA in Dubai.”

Case Study: The Burjuman Centre Expansion, Dubai Structural Systems’ project showed the versatility of post-tensioning: • typical 8.9m x 9m grids in the retail podium – where shallow “band beams” were provided in one direction, to act as a haunch to the slabs in the transverse direction, and offer sufficient depth at the junction with the columns to satisfy “punching shear” requirements • 18m “transfer beams” in the retail podium – used to safely transfer the “floating” columns at mid span, to permit greater flexibility in the use of the underlying floor • unusually long span slabs – where intermediate columns were excluded • 7m plus cantilevers at the ends of the office tower – which ultimately achieved an impression that the floors are floating • single-span ribs in the office tower – which permitted considerable spans to be achieved with minimal self-weight • beams in the apartment towers – as required to support the shortspan transverse reinforced concrete slabs within the limited structural zone available • zones of unusually high loads – such as landscaped areas, and over-lying steel and glazed structures Post-tensioning was the only structural system that could be economically adapted to the different demands of the retail, apartment and office zones. 20m-plus spans can be achieved by introducing posttensioning in showroom, ballroom and prayer areas, which cannot permit columns.


PROJECT UPDATE ON SITE CW reviews a collection of its most recent site and plant visits to keep you up to date with project progress



kg of steel used so far in zone four

DUBAI LAGOON Location Dubai Visited June 2010

RUFI TWIN TOWERS Location Dubai Visited June 2010


Townhouses in Al Muneera

AL MUNEERA Location Abu Dhabi Visited June 2010


After a slow and troubled start, Dubai Lagoon is a project getting back on track. Three main contractors – Belhasa Contracting and engineering, Bin Sabt Building Contracting and Commodore Contracting – are working across four zones within the development. Buildings in zone one, where eight residential towers in zone one will provide 442 apartments, are due for completion around the end of 2010.

The Rufi Twin Towers project involves the construction of two towers with G+18 floors, in Dubai Sports City. The towers will be joined at roof level by a distinctive sky bridge. Emirates Belbadi Contracting is the main contractor. The company has worked to make sure the project makes steady progress and has agreed a year-long extension with its client, to accommodate a slow down on the job.

Al Muneera is being developed by Aldar as part of the expansive Al Raha Beach project in Abu Dhabi. The projects is made up of two distinct areas, with an island and mainland divided by a canal. A total of 16 residential towers are under construction, along with an office tower, 11 villas and 148 townhouses. Al Futtaim Carillion is the main contractor, with Drake & Scull providing MEP works.


DUBAI PEARL Location Dubai Visited June 2010

KING ABDULLAH FINANCIAL DISTRICT Location Riyadh Visited June 2010

7000t Daily production capacity



With four 73-storey towers planned, the Dubai Pearl project is a massive undertaking that has taken several years and some false starts, to finally get a solid start. Piling was completed in 2009 along with the raft pouring. The towers are just starting to grow, with a 600strong work force moving from building to building, as each one progresses at a similar pace. The project is aiming for LEED Gold certification.

The King Abdullah Financial District is one of the most challenging and intricate projects currently under development in Saudi Arabia. A total of 77 buildings are expected to be built in six zones across the entire site. Saudi Bin Laden Group is building four of the first 10 towers as part of the initial construction packages. The company is targeting Leed ratings for the buildings when complete.

Concrete waste, from construction and demolition projects, now has an alternative place to go, other than straight to landfill. The recently opened recycling facility in Al Dhafra, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, is crushing waste concrete into aggregate for use in road building. The plant will be able to produce up to 7000 tonnes a day, using crushers, conveyors, screens and magnets to break the raw material down to size.

The Saudi Binladin Group for Industrial Precast operates out of Jeddah, a city with a whole street full of offices for the company and on the outskirts there are enormous factories and holding yards. The plant is supplying a number of projects across the country, including the Princess Noura Bint AbdulRahman University for Women in Riyadh and the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology.

JULY 17â&#x20AC;&#x201C;30, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 51



Townhouses in the first part of the project.

AL WAHDA STREET Location Sharjah Visited May 2010

SANDOVAL GARDENS Location Dubai Visited April 2010

MIRDIF CITY CENTRE Location Dubai Visited April 2010


Million m2 of desert is what DIP started with

DUBAI INVESTMENTS PARK Location Dubai Visited March 2010


Central Sharjah is moving closer to a transformed road system to meet today’s traffic volume, following the latest milestone in Package 5 of the redevelopment of King Abdul Aziz Road. The latest completion of note, officially announced on 30th April, is the opening of the viaduct on the west side of Al Wahda Street. The viaduct crosses King Abdul Aziz Road at a 90 degree angle, itself a major project.

Bavaria Gulf’s flagship Sandoval Gardens project has been an interesting mix of German and Arab expertise, and its townhouses are near to completion. The 36 townhouses are the first part of an AED260 million twin-development of the overall Sandoval Gardens. All townhouses conform to TUeV, a standard of quality that is a common benchmark, which means all construction and finishing is assessed by a third-party.

UAE-based Alec was awarded the main contract to build the US $816 million Mirdif City Centre in September 2007, with construction getting under way almost immediately. Developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, more than 16000 jobs were created at the peak of the design and build stage. The team behind the mall are hoping for a Leed Gold rating, to reflect the work they did to make the building sustainable.

In 1997, way before the construction boom really took off, Dubai Investments’ management took it upon themselves to lay foundations across 24 million m2 of desert and start building a mixed-use city from scratch. In March, the developer announced the launch of the final phase of development, which is set to become a hub for logistics services spread across 500,000m2. Construction was due to start in May.


MEYDAN Location Dubai Visited March 2010

OCEAN HEIGHTS Location Dubai Visited March 2010


Levels of difference in U-Bora towers

U-BORA TOWERS Location Dubai Visited March 2010

INFINITY TOWER Location Dubai Visited February 2010

Dubai was thrown back into the limelight when the US $10 million Dubai World Cup kicked off at the new Meydan Racecourse in Nad El Sheba. The enormous 18.6 million m² project consists of four separate areas including the development’s central feature, the Racecourse with Meydan Hotel. Meydan City Corporation has announced plans to build an equestrian city in China’s Tianjin province.

Construction of Ocean heights tower began in August 2007. The US $175.6 million (AED645 million) main contract was awarded to Arabtec. As it rises, the tower’s floor plates reduce in size, allowing the rotation to become even more pronounced. At the peak of construction, there were 30 contractors and 2000 people on site. On December 23, 2009 – 23 days ahead of schedule – the building was topped off at 310m.

Business Bay's U-Bora towers is being built by Korean firm Bando, the project features a podium with a curved residence building, which has a roofline that sweeps from 12 levels at one end, up to 16 at the other. The build was started back in 2007, initially with Simplex acting as subcontractor. The subcontractor left site in September 2008, leaving Bando both as developer and lead contractor.

Infinity Tower, located in the Dubai Marina, is set apart from its neighbours by its rotating structure and is spiraling into the sky at a fast pace. Each slab plate rotates 1.08 degrees around a fixed cylinder core. Once the tower is complete, the 73 floors will add up to a cumulative 90 degree angle. There are no pillars in the building; instead it is supported via a complex concrete column structure.



Get experience Finding the right job can be difficult, but without some industry experience, it can be even more difficult. If you are new to construction, or any sector for that matter, the best way to get some experience in the first instance is to work for free, or as an apprentice. This will give you valuable hands-on experience that will put you in a better position when applying for that important job. Stay positive Often, even with all the necessary experience and qualifications in the world, people find it difficult to get a job, particularly during and after a recession. This can be for any number of reasons – location, availability, nerves get the better of you, you are not friends with the employer’s son, etc. Either way, it is usually not personal. Thus, the only way to beat the feeling of rejection after not being offered a job is to stay positive. Use your contacts If you know someone in the industry, don’t let this contact go to waste. Speak to them to find out what jobs are available. Ask them how they broke into the field and how they got their specific job. Never be frightened to approach a good contact with an idea. Often some of the best jobs are not advertised, so the only way to get one, is to speak to people and use your contacts. 54 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JULY 17-30, 2010

Shuffle David Leatherbarrow, the former Managing Director of Trox UK Ltd, has joined the Board of SAS International in a non-executive capacity. Having worked for more than 35 years in the global building services industry, with significant experience in managing and developing businesses in tthe UK, Europe, USA, Middle East and Asia. Mea anw Meanwhile, Callison has announced the promottion of Jamal Salem (pictured), to the role promotion direccto of its Dubai office. With more than 10 of director years o of M years Middle East and international experiam will provide an on-the-ground presence, Ja Jamal ence and d a link between Callison’s global design ence wor teams w working in the Middle East and North Africa. In th the same week, Buro Happold appointed w director d a new of fire engineering, Andy Passi gh in ham Andy is a chartered engineer with ingham. over 20 2 years experience in the construcover t on ti n industry, in tion and will be driving force in strren strengthening fire engineering group at B Buro Happold.

3 TOP JOBS For more details visit: Please apply directly to the listed consultants. Role: Cost Engineer Agency: Randstad

Role: Chief Architect Agency: Non specified

Role: Junior Planning Engineer Agency: Manpower professional

A leading petrochemical company which operates major plants across Saudi Arabia is currently seeking a cost engineer. The candidate’s main duties will involve budget development for a major projects capital program, establishing work breakdown structures for all budget items and tracking progress against committed and actual costs. Candidates need to have a BSc Degree in engineering or equivalent, 10 years experience in project costs and contract management on large scale petrochemical EPC projects firm and project cost experience with lump sum turnkey contracts. Good understanding of EPC business and its implementation process is important.

The International Hospitals Construction Company requires a chief architect to facilitate its hospital projects in the GCC. The successful candidate will be equipped to ensure close supervision of the architectural department’s staff, to supervise the design team, including the electromechanical and structure departments, and to oversee all phases of the design process in line with the requirements of the project. All applicants will be educated to Masters’ level or higher, with a minimum of 11-20 years’ experience in the field. Essential skills include good project management skills, and familiarity with computer programmes such as AutoCAD, MS Project and MS Vision.

An international company specializing in the field of installation and maintenance of industrial plants in the building, construction and civil engineering sector, is currently seeking a qualified Junior Planning Engineer to assist with its developments. The successful candidate will be responsible for maintaining the project master schedule including the preparation of s-curves, and the collation of weekly and monthly reports. Applicants will need to hold a degree in Electrical Engineering, whilst they must have a minimum of five years’ experience in a similar role with a good track record of working on similar types of projects.

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Rubbish architecture


I CONto be a pretty tolerant kind of a guy. I’ve always welcomed everyone onto my team, and have dealt with site mangers and project managers from all over the world. But there is one type of person that makes my blood boil – architects. Now, I hate to generalise about one profession, but the few architects I’ve met have all been running around with their blueprints – or interactive models on their iPads – using words like ‘inspirational’ and ‘visionary’ without a second thought for how the building services engineer is going to run the sewage pipes, let alone how guys like me might actually build the thing. Fortunately I don’t see them very often, and even then they don’t stay on site long. My dislike isn’t entirely irrational. Just recently we were about to start casting the lower levels of a well-known project, when the site manager noticed that the garbage room was situated on a sub-ground level. Now, as it was, I thought the turn into the car park was ENERALLY



always going to be tight, even for a family car, and looking at it I wondered how some of the big SUVs would fare – but I can tell you now that there is absolutely no way you would get any garbage truck down there. Even if you did, there would be nowhere for the driver to stop without causing a backlog. Naturally we called the developer, who after the usual ‘it’s not my problem’ type conversations put us on to the architects. Eventually the lead guy deigned to talk to us – and his response to our suggestion of putting the rubbish at ground level was that he would refuse to sign off such an ‘eyesore’. Pumped up Now, I realise I should tread carefully before moaning about the cost of motoring but my tank is about to cost more to fill. The price of petrol in the UAE is about to go up for the second time this year and it looks like there may be more ahead. Maybe costly fuel will encourage more of us to use public transport. It’s certainly getting more costly to run our site vehicles. When you add in proposals that I’ve been

Waste of space: leaving room for the rubbish to be collected is a secondary consideration in some development designs.

hearing about for extra Salik gates on Emirates road, as well as the new scale of charges for parking fees and speeding fines, you soon see that the purchase price of a double-cab Hilux is only the start of the money you’ll be spending. I’ve always car shared though, so now I might be trying to fit a few extra people in, to help split the cost of the gas. Taking stock A friend of mine works for a big materials outfit in Saudi. I met him years ago on a job in Egypt, but since then he’s turned into a high-flying corporate type. I was talking to him recently and was going to console him about his company’s share value, which had taken a dive this year, but he said no-one takes the markets seriously because it said nothing about profits.

He buys in a lot of metal and, to my surprise, was equally dismissive of the London Metals Exchange. “Just a lot of people speculating,” he said. With finance on the rocks over the last three years, partly for getting too complex, you’ve got to like someone telling it as simply as that! Keep quiet I took some media types for a site tour last week, under the watchful eye of a nervous PR company. One off the journalists tried to ask me a few questions about the build. Ten seconds later my phone rings and its one of the PR people, calling from a few feet away. She ordered me not to say anything in a panicked voice. Apparently I might not know what I was talking about. She wouldn’t be the first person to think that.


4:34:07 PM


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Construction Week - Issue 330  

Construction Week - Issue 330 - ITP Business

Construction Week - Issue 330  

Construction Week - Issue 330 - ITP Business