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    The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is currently expanding its massive power and desalination plant in Jebel Ali to cope with the increased demand for electricity and water as the emirate’s infrastructure and population continues to grow.

    The ‘K Station’ project, which is due to be completed by mid-2002, will add 850 mega watts of power to DEWA’s existing capacity, as well as a daily production capacity of 530 million litres of desalinated water.

    The main contractor is Enelpower, an Italian company specialising in power and desalination plants worldwide, which has commissioned the Al Habtoor Engineering and Murray & Roberts Joint Venture to design and construct the Control and Switchgear Building which will act as the nerve centre of the new plant. The finishing touches are now being put to the Dh 10.2 million building which will house the complex machinery and computer systems used to run K Station’s three gas turbines, two steam turbines and five generators when they come online in the coming months.

    The project is the Joint Venture’s second contract in the Industrial Civils market following construction of the civil work at the massive Borouge Polyethylene Plant in Al Ruwais, 250kms from Abu Dhabi, which became operational in March 2001. Such industrial developments may not be as glamorous as previous work undertaken by the Joint Venture like the Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Rashid Terminal at Dubai International Airport or the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, but for Project Director Ramsay Abbassi and his team, the Control and Switchgear Building is just as important.

    Project Manager André Greyling explained: “It’s a small project but whether a project is big or small, the requirements and amount of work are the same - you just have more staff on a bigger project.

    “The Control and Switchgear Building is a very important part of the power station and we take the same amount of pride in a project like this as we do for the more spectacular jobs. In many ways this building will be the public face of the power station as it will be where most visitors from outside will come. Therefore, it needs to be well-finished and we believe it will serve as another good advertisement for the Al Habtoor Engineering and Murray & Roberts Joint Venture.”

    The letter of intent for the project was issued in December 2000 and work began on site in January last year. The size of the building is 3,600 square metres which is spread over four floors - the basement, ground floor, first floor and second floor.

    “It’s a reinforced concrete structure,” Greyling explained. “Up to ground level it is reinforced concrete, from the ground floor to the roof it consists of reinforced concrete columns and beams in-filled with block work, as well as some partitioning work. The floors vary from tiled floors, vinyl floors, raised flooring, epoxy coated floors and there are suspended ceilings in some areas.

    “The building consists of high voltage and low voltage rooms, battery rooms, auxiliary rooms, offices and the Central Control Room (CCR) where Siemens will install all the control systems for the plant.”

    Greyling, who worked as senior project engineer on the Polyethylene Plant in Al Ruwais, said the Control and Switchgear Building was a testament to the growing reputation that the Al Habtoor Engineering and Murray & Roberts Joint Venture is building in the Industrial Civils market.

    “It was a difficult project, but the team has done an excellent job,” he said. “We have learned a lot from this project and hope it will lead to others in the future as I believe we have proved to DEWA and the main contractor what our capabilities are. This, together with our achievement at Al Ruwais, should bode well for the future.”

    Greyling also paid tribute to the staff that worked on the project, a number of which also worked with him at Al Ruwais.

    “We had a good team on site,” he said. “It’s important to have a good team and a motivated team and that’s what we had here. People worked long hours but the team spirit was good. There is a very good relationship between Al Habtoor Engineering and Murray & Roberts and the joint venture arrangement is working well. There is a good system in place.”

    While the Industrial Civils market is relatively new to the Joint Venture, handling large construction contracts is nothing new for the Al Habtoor Group, which forms one half of the partnership with Murray & Roberts. Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises LLC was the founding organisation of the Al Habtoor Group. It was established in 1970 and its subsequent years of steady success has contributed to the whole group’s expansion and diversification.

    The company’s experienced international management team is capable of undertaking construction projects ranging from hotels and hospitals to residential apartment towers and villas, as well as special projects such as military bases and camps. In 1994 Al Habtoor Engineering completed the prestigious Holiday Centre complex on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, which includes an office block, shopping mall, residential apartment block and a luxury hotel. In 1995, the 29-storey Dubai Creek Tower, an impressive high-rise residential and office complex, was completed.

    Other landmark projects include both the Burj Al Arab which rises 321 metres from the waters of the Arabian Gulf, completed as a Joint Venture with Murray & Roberts, and the 600-bedroom Jumeirah Beach Hotel; the Metropolitan Palace Hotel, as well as residential towers, a palace and military works in Abu Dhabi.

    Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises also specialises in hospital construction, having built the main extension to Rashid Hospital, Al Wasl Hospital and the New Dubai Hospital. The Dh 540 million Sheikh Rashid Terminal Concourse at Dubai International Airport was another structure completed as a Joint Venture with Murray & Roberts and has elevated the airport’s status to one of the most modern in the world.

    The Joint Venture has even succeeded in spreading its expertise overseas and, together with its Egyptian partner SIAC, is constructing the Dh 825 million San Stefano Residential Complex in Alexandria, while closer to home the Joint Venture is continuing its work in the leisure industry with the Jaber Complex/Shangri-La Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai which is due for completion next year at a cost of Dh 302 million.

    Major new shopping malls in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, including the capital’s Dh 255 million Marina Mall, have been recent additions to the Joint Venture’s portfolio in the UAE, while ongoing projects include ADNOC’s new headquarters on the Abu Dhabi Corniche and a new headquarters for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. 

    The decision to branch out into the Industrial Civils market with the Polyethylene Plant in Al Ruwais and now the Control and Switchgear Building at the ‘K Station’ expansion at DEWA’s power and desalination plant in Jebel Ali has added another chapter to the type of work that the highly successful Joint Venture between Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises and Murray & Roberts is able to handle. It represents an exciting new era for the Joint Venture, with tenders for further industrial projects currently being made.




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