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Site visit: Exploring Orbi Dubai's MEP systems

by Rajiv Ravindran Pillai on Sep 10, 2017

"It’s a one-off project that you will do in your life, and you cannot be sure if you are able to work on such types of project again,” says Imteeaz Goolamhossen, engineering manager at Bluehaus Engineering.

The project Goolamhossen is referring to is the wildlife theme park Orbi Dubai, located at Mirdif City Centre. This is the third Orbi facility to open worldwide, and the first outside Japan.

Constructed inside Magic Planet, Orbi Dubai is a virtual wildlife park that features a custom built theatre and an interactive walk-through. It was built in collaboration with Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), BBC Earth and Sega.

MEP systems

MEP Middle East recently visited Orbi Dubai, the MEP works of which were carried out by Bluehaus Engineering, the MEP engineering division of Bluehaus Group.

Amidst the nature-themed sounds inside the attraction, Christian Mendoza (right in picture), electrical engineer, elaborated on the MEP systems employed at the facility. He says: “The MEP technologies here are more of building services. We could say that there is one special item here and it is called displacement ventilation. It’s not a new thing. It’s present in most airports. What we do is we pressurise the space under the chairs so that the air goes out and the return [air] is above the ceiling. 

“Overall, the technology side is amazing. The sound system, network, speakers and woofers, projectors, and screens are all designed by the Japanese company Sega. We provided the MEP provisions for those systems.”

Mendoza says that the major challenge was in segregating the spaces inside Magic Planet. He says: “Magic Planet is one retail space. So there was a big challenge in segregating Orbi. The challenging part was the electrical components; there are four transformers feeding Magic Planet and the available spare was not sufficient. There were very minimal electrical provisions. We took power from multiple distribution points. Having said that, they [client] did ask us to study how to separate the power. We did propose a new transformer with space allocation, and one main distribution panel (MDP); however, due to budget constraints, they did not proceed with that. At the end of the day, it’s all about budget.” 

Lost in translation

One of the other challenges in this MEP project, according to Mendoza, was coordination. He says: “If you are dealing with multiple consultants, the first challenge is language. Sega from Japan had a translator; however, when information was passed from Japan to us, there would be a bit of loss in translation. 

“But the good thing is if we did not understand what they put in a drawing, which was most of the time in Japanese, we would schedule a Skype call and there would be someone who would translate everything for us.”  

Mendoza said that there were some changes that needed to be made after the drawing stages and during the construction. “This created a little bit of friction between the consultant and the contractor, which is normal in any construction industry. However, as there was support from us and Sega, it all went well,” he says.