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The Jumeirah Beach

Residence Project

Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises has embarked on the biggest construction project in the illustrious 34-year history of Dubai’s best-known construction company – building eight of the 35 residential towers comprising the massive Jumeirah Beach Residence project at Dubai Marina. Ben Smalley reports.

  The decision to allow expatriates to buy property in the emirate of Dubai has fuelled a massive building boom as prestigious new developments are constructed in record time to meet the demand from residents and international investors for luxury homes in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.

  Among the wave of new developments in the upcoming Dubai Marina area is the Jumeirah Beach Residence, which comprises a staggering 35 residential towers and five hotels overlooking the 2km man-made waterfront of the marina and the crystal blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.

  The construction project is so massive it has been divided into seven different zones, each of which comprises between three and eight high-rise towers. The region’s leading contracting companies were invited to pitch for the construction contracts for each and the largest of the seven zones – zone four – was awarded to Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises with Arif & Bintoak as consultants and MACE as project managers.

  Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises has become synonymous with the modern day development of Dubai, having already constructed a number of the emirate’s landmark buildings. From the ultra-modern Sheikh Rashid Terminal at Dubai International Airport to the breathtaking splendour of the Burj Al Arab, the company has played a starring role in Dubai’s success story, and this latest development marks a new milestone in its proud 34-year history.

  The Dh1 billion contract awarded by the client, the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), involves the construction of eight residential towers covering a built-up area of 450,000 square metres, which is the biggest project by volume that the company has ever undertaken.

  “It is the largest and one of the most prestigious projects in the history of Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises,” project director Ziad Ammous explains. “The Dubai Marina area is one of the major development projects taking place in Dubai at the moment and, because it is very much aimed at international investors, it is a showcase for the city which is what makes the project so important.”

  Three of the eight towers being constructed are 52 floors high, four are 42-stories and the eighth, which is still being designed, will be 26-stories. Once complete they will house a range of different sized apartments, with all eight buildings surrounded by a low-rise ‘podium’ area comprising car parking and amenities such as retail shops, swimming pools and children’s play areas covering an area of 78,000 square metres.

  “For Al Habtoor this is not a difficult project - it is well within our capabilities and know-how,” Mr Ammous says. “But there is a challenge involved in having eight towers under construction at the same time as it requires a lot of co-ordination, and it is a fast-track job so there is an element of time pressure as well.”

  The first task for the Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises team was undertaking a complete redesign of the original plans for the buildings to make them more cost-effective and practical to build.

  “The original concept involved using post-tension, pre-cast slabs, but we are modifying the design by introducing cast in-situ, post-tension slabs which make it easier and quicker to construct,” Mr Ammous explains. “The re-design brings cost savings for the client without sacrificing any of the quality or integrity of the structures. The construction system will be traditional with vertical structural elements and horizontal slabs, while the external cladding for the towers will be composed of pre-cast cladding, including aluminium windows. Three of the towers are square rectangle in plan but four of them are not as easy because they are angled, or ‘cranked’ which requires special attention.”

  A joint venture between Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises and STFA had executed the piling works for the sector, which meant the construction team could start as soon as that work had been completed because the company already had a presence on the site.

  “The construction duration is 24 months which is very challenging for the amount of work involved,” Mr Ammous says. “The clock started ticking on May 2 this year when we started on site. One of the things that makes it difficult to stay on schedule is handling huge numbers of pre-cast elements which have to be delivered to site by lorry and could cause congestion in the area.

  “The other difficulty is that the towers are very close to each other. We expect to have about 13 tower cranes on the site and to have them all operational without clashing with each other is not an easy task - it’s very complicated and needs a very thorough study.”

  Mr. Ammous, who has worked on a number of projects including the Officer’s Club Accommodation, Marina Mall and the new ADNOC Headquarters in Abu Dhabi since joining Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises as a construction manager in 1995, has divided the site into five different sectors for constructability, with himself overseeing the entire project.

  “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,” he explains. “The sectors are running parallel but they are individual and we have co-ordination meetings between the different parties to follow-up progress and the needs of the site.

  “With a fast-track job there are possibilities for mistakes and errors so the challenge is to monitor and control the quality of work to avoid any problems or mistakes which could cause a delay.”

  With an estimated 80 percent of the apartments having already been sold in the eight towers of the Jumeirah Beach Residence being constructed by Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, there is a pressing need to ensure the work is completed on time as hundreds of people are waiting to move into their new homes in one of the most exciting developments currently under construction in Dubai.


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