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By Sangeetha Swaroop

  In its breathtaking locale, in its sheer monumental scale and in the sophisticated lifestyle it promises, the upcoming Jumeirah Beach Residence ranks high above all the other property development projects currently on in the UAE. It is also the last of the beachfront properties available in Dubai today.

  Overlooking the brilliant blue of the Arabian Sea, this unique beach resort is located at the heart of new Dubai, which gives it a very interesting neighbourhood – one that includes luxury hotels, the Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City and the American University of Dubai. What makes it more appealing is that your home here would be right on the beach, which means that you and your family can indulge in the pleasures of a beach resort lifestyle throughout the year.

  The Jumeirah Beach Residence is an impressive 22 million square feet development that stretches across a length of 1.7 kilometres. It features 36 residential towers, four hotel towers and beach clubs. Its design reflects the architectural theme of future Dubai through a fusion of Mediterranean and local architectural elements, while retaining a unique style and aesthetic expression of its own.

  Set in an environment of comfort and luxury, the Jumeirah Beach Residence is a complete self-contained urban community in every sense. Every amenity one requires – be it supermarkets, restaurants, medical facilities, sports complexes, health clubs or even play areas for children – are all within a comfortable distance range.

  With such impressive features and destined to be the opportunity of a lifetime for a privileged few, it is not surprising that the construction of this spectacular development has been entrusted only to those engineering firms renowned for their ability to orchestrate and execute large-scale projects to perfection. Chief among them is Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises Co., entrusted with the task of the construction of JB4 - the biggest sector of this monumental project and which comprises the creation of eight residential towers and one hotel.

  Setting up signature projects is nothing new for Al Habtoor Engineering, one of the leading construction and engineering companies in the Middle East. Standing testimony to its construction prowess and setting milestones in its engineering history are marvels such as the iconic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, the world’s tallest hotel, soaring 321 m into the sky from an artificial island in the sea; the stunning glass-fronted Jumeirah Beach Hotel, distinctively designed like a wave; the Dusit Dubai, with its unique inverted Y architecture symbolizing the traditional Thai welcome of folded hands and; Dubai’s first Shangri-La to mention a few.

  According to Ziad Amous, Project Director of the JBR4 project, “The initial phase of the project consisted of two separate contracts for the piling work that included installation of bored, cast in situ reinforced concrete piles for the tower blocks and podium levels. This project cost was estimated at AED 62 million dirhams.”

  The current project, valued at AED 1 billion, calls for the construction of eight towers and a podium with a total built-up area of about 450,000 square metres, he says. “Three towers here are 52 storeys high, four towers are 42 storeys high and one tower is 26 storeys high,” he adds. “Our scope of work encompasses the complete construction of all these as a turnkey project.”

  The JBR site has been divided into five different sectors for ease of construction purposes, he says. “Each sector is managed by a different construction team led by a project manager with a construction manager, project engineers, site engineers, foremen and labourers. However, all sectors work in unison as they share the same materials and are working towards the same end result.”

  The challenge here, therefore, is to ensure that the work progresses simultaneously and that no sector is lagging behind. It also calls to the fore excellent management skills to streamline such a vast operation especially with having to co-ordinate amongst all the various sectors.

  The most unique aspect of the construction of the JBR project is that it is designed to seismic-design standards, says Amous. “This means that in the event of an earthquake of a high magnitude, the towers would be able to withstand the seismic effect and will not come collapsing down like a pack of cards.”

  Of the total of 5,000 units at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, the Al Habtoor share is earmarked at around 1,200 units, he further adds.

  There is a wide selection of apartments here to suit every lifestyle. Small families have the choice of compact homes such as studio apartments and one and two bedroom spaces that give a great view all around. Some of these apartments face the sea; some overlook the beautifully landscaped inner courtyards while the others overlook the Marina Towers.  

  For a more luxurious choice, there are super premium penthouses, terrace apartments, duplex apartments and garden apartments or the spacious and lavishly designed three and four bedroom apartments.

  All the smaller sized homes boast of a kitchen with breakfast counter, built-in wardrobes, balcony with every apartment for a great view and parking for one car. The net surface area that excludes balcony area and external walls ranges from 635 sq.ft. for studio apartment to a comfortable 960 sq.ft. for one-bedroom to a spacious design in 1,240 sq.ft. average net area for a two-bedroom flat.

  The three and four bedroom apartments also feature separate dressing room for the master bedroom, include a maid’s room and an additional utility room, have separate service lobby/entrance and has ample parking space for two cars each. The average net area of a three-bedroom apartment is 1770 sq.ft. while a four-bedroom flat has luxurious interiors of 2550 sq. ft. area.

  The exclusive series of apartments that offer the ultimate in luxury include penthouses at the top of the towers that are spread over 5000 sq.ft. with two-level design options and a private swimming pool. The terrace apartments come with one or two terrace options with a private swimming pool on one of them. Villa-like space and full-length French windows are the highlights of the duplex apartments while the garden apartments, which overlook the main pool area, offer twin-level design and an attached private garden.

  “The interior designs of these super luxury apartments are currently underway in co-ordination with the services of well-established interior designers and architects,” says Ziad Amous. “Now in the final stages of design, these homes will be fitted with some extremely high-quality materials and expensive items.” The tallest building in the entire consortium will consist of 506 units, he adds.

  The podium, consisting of four levels, is the designated parking area for the towers, he says. “The top of the podium will consist of terraces and swimming pools while at its lower level, facing the street will be the retail areas.”

  The cosmopolitan setting at the Jumeirah Beach Residence indeed brings with it an equally exciting and sophisticated retail environment. Positioned as an upscale shopping and entertainment hub, the 650,000 sq. ft. retail arcade of JBR is expected to be the heart of all activity. Here, residents and visitors will have access to nearly 180 outlets retailing high-fashion international luxury brands alongside restaurants and cafes.

  Four luxury hotels will also be part of the Jumeirah Beach Residence development. These will be owned by the leading names from the hotel industry and will certainly be amongst the top destinations for tourists and business travellers.

  As one of the largest construction projects undertaken by Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises Co., the construction for the JBR4 sector has come loaded with challenges. According to Amous, “The logistics involved in the construction of such a project in such limited space and time makes it a very challenging project. Initially, we had to undertake complete redesign of the original plans for the buildings to make them more cost-effective and practical to build without sacrificing the quality or performance of the structures. ”

  Setting up a big team to execute the task too posed another challenge. The total manpower at the site is around 4,500 to 5,000 and co-ordination amongst various project managers who independently handle large teams takes tremendous effort and requires a great deal of precision planning to ensure that the work flows concurrently and smoothly with as few hitches as possible.

  Quality control and safety also represent increasingly important concerns for project managers, he adds. “We try to ensure that the job is done right the first time and that no major mishaps occur on the project. During the preliminary stages, component configurations, material specifications and functional performance are decided and quality control during construction consists largely of ensuring conformance to these original design and planning decisions.”

  Safety during the construction project is also a crucial factor and one that is given utmost importance at any of the Al Habtoor construction sites, says Amous. “Especially in the case of high-rise structures, the higher you go, the riskier it is. For instance, when fixing pre-cast units, some might weigh as much as seven to eight tonnes, and placing them at high levels is a risky factor indeed. Similar is the case with elevator shafts. There are specifically designated people to ensure that it is always closed or barricaded when in use.”  

  Safety largely depends upon education, vigilance and cooperation during the construction process, he adds. “We have a well-experienced Safety Manager on the team. Our officers also undergo safety precaution trainings regularly and these are applied at the work place. Workers are also educated on the need to be constantly alert to the possibilities of accidents and avoid taking unnecessary risks.”

  Safety is paramount, he reiterates, underlining the importance the firm pays to its greatest asset - the work force.  And with the Jumeirah Beach Residence now in the final stages of completion, it won’t be long before its privileged residents are able to enjoy the ultimate lifestyle of a lifetime – the culmination of yet another prestigious project undertaken by Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises Co.


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