Drake & Scull International PJSC (DSI) is undertaking the challenging MEP works on two landmark projects in Dubai Marina, which posed specific challenges for the contractor
The world’s tallest high-rise with a ‘twist’ of 90°, giving the entire building a helical shape, is Infinity Tower from developer Cayan.
“Each of the four façades twists a full 90° over the full height of the tower,” explains Cayan chief development officer Ahmad Kasem. The full 90° spiral is created by rotating each floor 1.2°, which means unique MEP drawings for every floor slab, says DSI project manager Yasin Sara.
Infinity Tower was designed by internationally-renowned firm Skidmore, Owings & Merill, which also designed the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Burj Dubai. The project’s five awards over the last three years included ‘best architecture in the world’ at the International Property Awards in London in 2006.
Infinity Tower is a 73 storey, 306 metre high (five basement, seven podiums and 66 floor slabs) residential tower. It comprises 456 apartments in total, including studios and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroomed duplexes and penthouses. Facilities include a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, conference room, cigar lounge and retail and food-and-beverage outlets.
DSI was originally awarded the AED145 million MEP works contract in December 2006, says Sara. Its scope of work comprised the complete supply, installation, testing and commissioning of air-conditioning, ventilation, plumbing and drainage, as well as a building management system (BMS), automatic fire-fighting, power and lighting, telephone and data, an intercom and alarm system, central emergency lighting, CCTV and access control security systems and a master lighting control system.
Commenting on current progress, Kasem says that the reinforced concrete sub-structure basement (five levels), reinforced concrete super-structure podium (seven levels), reinforced concrete core wall (up to level 26) and reinforced concrete suspended floor slabs (up to level 20) have all been 100% completed. MEP works up to level 11 are 40% complete. The contract completion date is April 2011, with handover anticipated in December that year.
The workforce is expected to peak at 2000 in January 2010.
In terms of the main challenge posed by this iconic project, Kasem says this was to maintain a seven-day reinforced concrete structural cast cycle for both the core wall and the suspended floor slabs. Another significant challenge was the exacting daily co-ordination to ensure that the reinforced concrete structure, façade glazing and cladding for the twisting tower achieved were 100% accurate.
DSI area manager: MEP Dubai Naser Yaseen explains that the electrical load was calculated at the stage of the equipment selection technical review. “The DSI team proposed an alternative selection of mechanical equipment with reduced power consumption, and an alternative, energy-efficient lighting system with low luminous flux, as well as playing a major role in integrating solutions into the BMS.” The cooling solution was a fixed solution by another designer.
Yaseen confirms that the unique structural design of the building required special MEP design and engineering. For example, major equipment such as chillers had to be selected early enough in terms of international lead times so they could be installed on the lower floors before the structure was closed.
This required precise logistical co-ordination and planning, with the potential of delaying the entire project if anything untoward happened. However, DSI rose to the challenge with flying colours – indeed, the company thrives on opportunities to showcase its skills set. “We have a long track record in exceptional engineering capabilities. Our in-house expertise and available resources are adequate for the most stringent project objectives,” comments Yaseen.
Kasem says that getting players on board such as the calibre of DSI is an important part of its strategy.
“Cayan always aims to develop unique projects, and is meticulous in its selection of professional consultants and leading contractors. Notwithstanding the many challenges faced, we have a dedicated professional consultant and construction team determined to make it happen. This will ensure that Infinity Tower becomes an icon that changes the skyline of Dubai Marina.”
DAMAC Properties’ Ocean Heights is an 83 storey, 310 metre high residential tower. It comprises 680 one- to three-bedroomed apartments, in addition to some luxury penthouse apartments.
The design, with a deliberate ‘twist’ on three of its faces, maximises the views over the Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. Facilities include a communal outdoor leisure deck with a pool, plus a gym and sauna/steam room. Parking is provided on four podium and three basement floors.
Ocean Heights was designed by Aedas, whose projects include the Dubai Metro and the Pentomium. The project received a Bentley ‘best architecture’ award in 2006. It is also a twisting tower, but with “only a minor twist from floor-to-floor level, although it is significant when viewed across the full scale of the full building,” explains DAMAC Properties GM Ziad El Chaar.
Apartment layouts have therefore remained reasonably consistent throughout the main body of the building, and the core itself is completely standard. The more complex changes in floor plans occur at the top of the structure, which is occupied by non-standard units, duplexes and penthouses. The structure immediately begins its ‘twist’ at its base. As it rises, the tower’s floor plates reduce in size, allowing the rotation to become even more pronounced. This movement allows two faces of the building to receive unobstructed views of the ocean.
Ocean Heights is close to completing 70 floors, reports El Chaar. There are 1800 workers on-site, with main contractor Arabtec completing a floor a day. Alumco, responsible for the glass cladding, has reached level 54. Electrical wiring and cabling have reached level 60, with interior plastering and painting currently at level 55. “Ocean Heights is due for completion by late summer of 2010. However, structural completion is expected during the autumn of this year.”