Drake & Scull and ETA line up in battle for Burj

Race is on for US $220 million-plus M&E prize for the world’s tallest new tower.

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By  Colin Foreman Published  June 4, 2005

Drake & Scull and ETA are in a race to claim the US $220 million-plus (AED800 million) Burj tower mechanical and electrical package. The M&E contract for the world’s tallest new tower is one of the largest ever let, and will have major prestige value for the winning bidder. Construction Week has learned that Drake & Scull has teamed up with Thermo in a joint venture to bid for the lucrative package. The pair are competing against a group thought to include ETA, Voltas and Hitachi. A third unnamed group is also chasing the project. The work is understood to be worth between AED800 million and AED900 million. It does not include lift installation, which will be overseen by Otis Elevators and consultant Lerch, Bates & Associates. Drake & Scull was also hoping to win a massive district cooling contract on the development — one of two to have already been let — but the firm is understood to have been unsuccessful in its bid. But the contractor will be looking to pick up a third district cooling plant, according to business development engineer Luay Khdair. He said: “Another one is being tendered in early June which will be bigger than the first two, and we have confirmed our interest in this third project.” The successful contractor will be required to work to what is expected to be an extremely tight deadline. A significant challenge will be the successful co-ordination of the M&E works with the critical path construction programme and the technically challenging lift installation package. The Burj will have around 50 high-speed lifts utilising technology never before used to compensate for cable sway and cable stretch. The building’s 3 m sway in the wind will mean that its designers need to prevent whiplash in the cables used to haul the building’s elevators. Groundworks have already been completed on the Burj site, and once work starts on the main superstructure, it will rise from the ground at a rate of one floor per week. The overall Burj Dubai master plan will feature 4.1 million m2 of residential space to accommodate 30 000 homes, making the Burj Dubai site the biggest single construction site in the world. When complete, the tower will form the focal point of Downtown Dubai.

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