ALEC commences record-breaking installation on landmark project

One Za’abeel, Alec, MEP and HVAC

ALEC has commenced its two-week, seven-phase schedule to install ‘The Link’, a 8,500-tonne steel bridge, which will form the central feature of Ithra Dubai’s flagship development One Za’abeel.

Comprised of two towers standing at 300 and 235 metres respectively, ‘The Link’ will become the world’s largest cantilevered building, connecting the two buildings at a height of 105 metres, while providing panoramic views across the city.


As a process, the complexity of the engineering behind the lift is only equalled by the design of the cantilever itself. Comprised of seven steel modules, ‘The Link’ will be lifted in one piece, using a series of heavy-duty jacks capable of generating up to 6,600kN of force from 12 lifting points.

In the first phase, which was completed on 18 August, the concourse was elevated just 100mm over a 24-hour period – after monitoring its behaviour for nine hours, engineers removed the temporary steel fittings before cutting the shoes and lifting the structure a further metre over the period of seven hours.

In the third phase, the team will install wind bracings to the side of the concourse in order to protect the lift from any adverse weather, while a 300-point survey will be conducted to ensure the integrity of the system.

After a final phase of superficial improvements, the main lift is scheduled to take place on 31 August and include a 72 hours road closure as the giant concourse is elevated to its final position. Once in place, ‘The Link’ will be welded and tested, before the jacks are released and the load transferred to the towers.

Kez Taylor, ALEC chief executive officer, said: “It has been a great pleasure for ALEC to be able to work on such a unique and beautiful design. As a feat of engineering that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, we look forward to seeing One Za’abeel take its place amongst the recognisable buildings that are now synonymous with Dubai’s reputation as a centre for architectural excellence and engineering excellence.”

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