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Site visit: The Waterfront, Muscatby James Morgan on Apr 2, 2017
It’s easy to understand why S&T Real Estate selected the location of The Waterfront, a $57m (OMR22m) mixed-use development currently under construction in Oman. Situated directly on Muscat’s seafront, the 5,000m2 plot offers uninterrupted views of the Gulf of Oman.
Delivering the project, however, has been altogether less straightforward. Main contractor, S&T Interiors and Contracting, has had to overcome a series of challenges to ensure that the coastal development remains on course to hit its Q1 2018 completion deadline.
At the outset, S&T Real Estate and S&T Interiors and Contracting – both of which form part of Oman-headquartered conglomerate, Services & Trade Company – purchased a plot that had previously been used as a hospital. The facility’s live services were carefully disconnected, and the defunct structure demolished, before construction works for The Waterfront commenced. And owing to the ambitious nature of the development, this was just the first in a series of obstacles that the stakeholders have had to traverse.
Upon completion, The Waterfront will boast three basement levels, a ground floor, and four additional storeys. On paper, therefore, it might not seem like a particularly demanding project. However, constructing a building situated right on the seafront, with this much subterranean space, has not been easy.
For example, the project team had to account for factors such as the changing of the tide and the plot’s high water table, according to R P Ranganatha, S&T Interiors and Contracting’s executive director for general contracting.
“Dewatering was a challenge, but the project was well designed,” he tells Construction Week.
The S&T team conducted detailed calculations to eliminate the possibility of creating quicksand conditions or uneven water drawdown. Moreover, a series of environmental precautions have been taken in order to protect the surrounding aquatic habitat.
Madan M Rao, general manager of business development within S&T Interiors and Contracting’s general contracting division, explains: “We had to take care because the sea is very close by; we had to protect the aquatic life.
“We took special care to ensure that grease from the dewatering machines did not seep into the sea; we also installed sand filters, and we controlled the flow and entry point of the water that was pumped back into the [Gulf of Oman].”
Ranganatha adds: “S&T installed its own treatment plant on site. Dewatered water is treated and checked before it is released.”
S&T is also installing a new sea defence wall to supplement Muscat Municipality’s existing sheet pile. The barrier will help to protect against waves, and guard against erosion that could lead to structural problems further down the line.
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