Sand compaction still underway on the Palm

Vibro-compaction rigs work flat out on crescent, two years after work completes on trunk

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By  Sean Cronin Published  July 29, 2006

Hotel developers on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah have been forced to carry out their own vibro compaction after it emerged that the work had only been completed on the trunk and fronds of the massive development. Vibro compaction is undertaken on reclamation projects to limit future ground settlement and prevent against the risk of ‘liquefaction’ in the event of an earthquake — where compacted sand behaves like water. Groundwork specialist Keller was appointed by Nakheel three years ago to undertake ground improvement work on the trunk and the fronds of the Palm Tree-shaped island. It completed its contract in July 2004. But more than two years on, the contractor is back working for both the IFA and Taj hotel groups, which are developing luxury resorts on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. Kerzner International has also completed substantial vibro-compaction works after drafting in a leading ground engineering specialist from the US. Keller site manager, Shahid Saleem, said: “We have just finished the Taj Exotica yesterday and on the Fairmont site, vibro compaction is still going on.” An ETA project manager told Construction Week that vibro compaction work had been underway on the site of the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa for the last two months. “We have been working day and night covering 1,200m2 per day,” he added. The compaction works have lowered the height of the crescent by up to 1m in places. Kerzner International is also developing its US $1.5 billion (AED5.5 billion) Atlantis project on the Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. “We did our vibro compaction a year ago. It was done on the fronds and the trunk, but it was never done here. We didn’t want to take any risks with differential settlement so we have monitored the ground from day one. Now IFA is doing it and Taj has also started,” said Richard Lindsay, senior vice president of development, Kerzner International. In a statement, Nakheel CEO, Chris O’Donnell, said: “Ground improvement of the reclaimed land mass through the method of vibro compaction is only applied to the extent that is required. “At the initial stages of reclamation, the pattern of land use was impossible to forecast, so to carry out very high density ground improvement across the length of the crescent was an unnecessary exercise, the cost of which would ultimately have been borne by the developers. “Under the adopted approach, vibro compaction on the crescent is done exactly where it is required to the extent that it is required. The programme of vibro compaction is linked to the specific plans of the individual plot developers and the level of ground improvement is determined by the developer and its structural engineering advice.”

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