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Case study: GE Aviation Centre in DAFZA, Dubai

by James Morgan on Jan 16, 2016

Physical construction works at GE’s DAFZA facility were completed within a 100-day timeframe.
Physical construction works at GE’s DAFZA facility were completed within a 100-day timeframe.

Situated in Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA), General Electric’s (GE) Middle East Aviation Technology Center was officially inaugurated in Q4 2015. The facility is the brainchild of General Electric Aviation (GE Aviation), a GE subsidiary that specialises in the design and manufacture of aircraft engines.

The GE Middle East Aviation Technology Center will support customer operations by leveraging data analytics, domain experience, and software capabilities to enhance productivity and performance, according to its creators. It will also act as a GCC hub for the company’s support data scientists, user experience designers, and application developers.

To build this type of specialist facility would prove challenging under any circumstances. The fact construction works at the GE Middle East Aviation Technology Center were completed within a timeframe of just 100 days makes this project particularly impressive.

As GE’s senior construction programme manager for the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (MENAT) region, Randa Hakim played an integral role in the facility’s rapid development.

“From initial concept to complete handover, I was fully responsible for the management of all aspects of the concept design, team mobilisation, implementation, and budget delivery – not to mention programme and quality criteria. This was my mandate,” she tells Construction Week.

“Physical construction work commenced in mid-May, 2015, with the project handed over 14 weeks later at the end of August, 2015,” Hakim continues. “The pre-construction and design activities that led to this work commenced five months previously, when the initial concept was developed. The office covers 2,200 sqm of space. 500 sqm have been designated for co-creation, with the inclusion of collaborative areas and a customer experience hub. The centre was built in 100 days – the result of more than 100,000 man hours.”

Following a competitive, single-stage tender process, Al Tayer Stocks – a joint venture between UAE-based Al Tayer Group and South Africa-headquartered Stefanutti Stocks – was appointed to undertake construction work at the DAFZA site.

“The contractor’s strong reputation in the market, its previous experience with GE, and its high quality of delivery were all crucial factors in the selection,” Hakim recounts. “IT Works, Al Tayer Stocks’ specialist information technology and audio-visual sub-contractor, managed all of the technological installations.”

Turner & Townsend was selected to oversee project and cost management activities, and to represent the interests of GE. Following this appointment, Allen Architecture Interiors Design (AAID) – formerly Artillery – was engaged as lead design consultant.