Billion dirham battle for the Burj is won by ETA

ETA-Voltas-Hitachi beats Drake and Scull-Thermo bid for the world’s tallest tower

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 17, 2005

An ETA-Voltas-Hitachi consortium has won a billion dirham mechanical and electrical package on the Burj Dubai. The deal represents the largest M&E sub-contract ever awarded in the Middle East, and the consortium saw off competition from rival bidder Drake & Scull to take the prestige job. Both the ETA-led consortium and the Drake & Scull-Thermo group have been waiting weeks for an award, which was expected at the end of July. The delay means that the contractor will be put under even more pressure to finish the work on time. News of the successful ETA bid will come as a bitter disappointment to Drake & Scull. An ETA project manager told Construction Week that the consortium has been awarded the project and that the site team has already mobilised. It is the second major contract award for ETA on the Burj. The firm has also landed the district cooling package for both the tower and mall. The ETA team will need to mobilise quickly to ensure the project meets its ambitious timetable of implementation. One of the challenges the contractor faces is successfully coordinating the M&E works with the critical path construction programme, as the world tallest tower rises at a rate of one floor per week. Sources close to the project say that M&E works alone will demand more than 1000 workers to be available at peak. While ETA prepares to start work on the mechanical and electrical works on the tower, Drake & Scull is awaiting news on the award of another district cooling package for the residential element of the Downtown Dubai project. The Burj masterplan includes 4.1 million m2 of residential space, which will accommodate around 30 000 new homes — making it the biggest single construction site in the world. More than 2000 construction workers are already employed on the tower project, which has reached level five. The entire development will take the next three years to complete. Developer Emaar has just launched its Burj Dubai Business Hub, and office complex which will be built alongside the tower and is one of the last major elements of the overall Burj Dubai development.

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