Building a new Shoreline along the Palm Jumeirah

In May this year the first concrete structures were appearing on the Palm Jumeirah. A great deal has happened since then as work on a number of the islands key developments has begun. One such development is the Shoreline Apartments. Construction Week visited the site to find out how the project is progressing and how the various logistical hurdles that the building on the Palm creates are overcome.

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By  Colin Foreman Published  November 13, 2004

Building a new Shoreline along the Palm Jumeirah|~|47 Proj Body.jpg|~||~|In May this year the first concrete structures were appearing on the Palm Jumeirah. A great deal has happened since then as work on a number of the islands key developments has begun. One such development is the Shoreline Apartments. Construction Week visited the site to find out how the project is progressing and how the various logistical hurdles that the building on the Palm creates are overcome. The shoreline apartments run for over a kilometre to the land along the right hand side of the Palm Jumeirah’s trunk from the bridge that will eventually connect the island to the land. Altogether the project involves the construction of 20 mid- to high-rise luxury apartment blocks, with half enjoying sea views over towards the Burj Arab up the coast and the remainder facing onto the internal canal that will flow through the spine of the trunk. “20 apartment buildings doesn’t sound that big but there will be some 750 000 m2 of useable area and 2500 apartments which are all luxury apartments, so it’s a sizeable job,” says Richard C. West, vice president, Turner Construction International L.L.C. In terms of construction, the project was split into four packages, which were awarded to three separate main contractors. Packages 1 and 3, which accounts for all 10 of the apartment buildings overlooking the sea were awarded to Bin Belaila Baytur. On the canal side, Package 2, for six apartment buildings was awarded to Seidco and Package 4 for four apartment buildings was awarded to Al Hamed. The project was originally going to be given to just one contractor, but during the tendering process the client decided to award the contracts to three separate bidders. “There is more control when main contractors are used. We [Turner] are working very closely with all three on their schedules, submittals for approvals, and make sure they get the answers that they need when they request information,” says West. “We are not only monitoring the progress but helping the contractors get the job done,” he adds. Dividing the two canal-facing and sea-facing apartments will be one of the main road arteries feeding the Palm Jumeirah - a similar road will flow through the left hand side of the trunk in between IFA’s development. The buildings themselves range from 10 through to 13 floors with the number of apartments per building ranging from 106 up to 142. Each building has 241 parking spaces in two level subterranean basements. The individual units range from one-bedroom apartments through to three-bedroom duplexes. The design work for the buildings was completed by ACE in September 2003, and they went out to tender the following winter. The contracts were awarded in March of this year. Actual construction began on 1 August 2004 with the work scheduled for completion in 21 months in May 2006. “It’s a lot of buildings to put in place in 21 months,” says West. The first work to start was the piling, which is being performed as subcontracts to the main contract. “The schedule is so tight that the main contractors have up to three to four piling contractors working on each package putting in the piles,” says West. Piling work is still progressing and at the time of writing was about 70% complete, and on some parts of the project piling should be complete be the end of this month. Overall the piling will be complete by mid-December. “On some parts of the job work on the pile caps has already begun,” says West. With the contracts already arranged there will be no downtime between piling work and structural work as the main contractors are on site. Each of the 20 apartment buildings has two basement levels for parking, which have a larger footprint than the buildings themselves. This is because part of the basements will be underneath the main roadway that flows though the development. It is therefore important that the basements are completed well in advance of the scheduled start for the construction of the roadways in some eight or nine months time. Road construction on the left hand side of the trunk will begin first. Once the basements are complete, the structures are pretty standard and in essence all the buildings are basically the same, so the construction should be fairly swift. In terms of overall programme the project is progressing well. “We are a little bit behind schedule but we plan to make it up. It was very difficult getting foundations started, getting enough equipment out there but we really don’t see finishing on time being difficult,” says West. One of the biggest challenges facing this project, and the Palm in general is logistics. Although the design of the Palm is well suited to the region and gives the development a clear identity it is not well suited to getting large volumes of materials and equipment onto construction sites. The entrance onto the Palm, next to the Nakheel Sales Centre and Royal Mirage hotel is effectively a bottle-neck for vehicles delivering materials on site. “It’s certainly a challenge getting materials out onto the Palm, especially with all the other construction projects going on at the moment,” says West. “More beach area is being reclaimed on either side of the trunk to create temporary haul roads to improve access, and in the long run it will create bigger beaches for the island,” he adds. Another temporary haul road has been creating by delaying the excavation of the trunks canal. The walls of the waterway will be complete, but the final excavation will be postponed. “The majority of developments elsewhere already have the roads and utilities in place before construction starts, but on the Palm it is the other way round and for this reason the logistics is difficult part because instead of having ready built roads you have to create your own,” says West. Of all the materials delivered onsite readymix concrete has probably been the most difficult, especially when all the other deliveries that need to be made around town are considered. To help alleviate this problem, Nakheel, together with all the project managers, plans to build a ready mix plant out on a small, reclaimed island just off the Palm, which should be operational in January 2005. The plant will not have an exclusive agreement to supply contractors working on the Palm but it will be there should anyone wish to use it. Another major consideration when building on the Palm is the environment. “Contractors working have to make sure that oil doesn’t seep into the ground from equipment and machinery, and that waste and debris doesn’t make its way into the sea. This is particularly important because the once complete, the Palm will be home to a number of big expensive hotels, so a polluted beachfront would be unacceptable,” says West. ||**||

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