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Site Visit: The Galleria, Jeddah

Jeddah's Galleria project is the latest retail outlet for the city

The Galleria project aims to exploit opportunities in the retail sector as a new shopping venue on the Jeddah Corniche.
The Galleria project aims to exploit opportunities in the retail sector as a new shopping venue on the Jeddah Corniche.

A drive through the extensive Corniche area of Jeddah quickly reveals an area filling up with construction activity. Where Lamar Tower and Jawharah Tower, two upcoming structures, reflect the demand for further hotel accommodation, the Galleria project aims to exploit the opportunities in the retail sector as a new shopping venue.

In truth, the shopping part will be contained only within the ground floor and mezzanine of the eventual 9,000m2 area, which sits alongside the bustling Tahlia Street. The seven floors above will be occupied by an Elaf Jeddah hotel, part of the extensive Elaf Group, which is the client for the Galleria.

The Galleria will eventually boast a classical façade and a contemporary core. The development will also contain more than 400 hotel rooms, numerous retail units and several restaurants and assembly rooms. The individual rooms offer views across the Jeddah skyline, as well as views into the mall.

Main contractor United Constructors Contracting Company (UCCL) has been working on the project since November, having subcontracted Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Company (SAFCO) to undertake the excavation and dewatering.

The resulting area, which will make up three basement levels, has been split up into three zones, which are then divided up, according to the preference of Kling Consult, the main consultant.

Both consultant and contractor have a good history with retail projects. Kling Consult has worked on shopping malls in Dubai, home of its regional office. UCCL, a local company, can boast a portfolio of Jeddah retail projects that includes Roshan Mall, Sheikh Abdurahman Nania Commercial Centre and Sultan Mall on Prince Sultan Street.

The zones of the rectangular basement have reached different stages of progress, meaning that the whole area resembles a kind of cross-section of the construction.

Where excavation work at one end is just coming to an end, the other side facing Tahlia Street has completed the three basement floors and has reached ground level.

In-between the area is full of workers, steel and makeshift climbing structures to gain access to the different levels, as well as Doka formwork. Along one side of the project runs a large pipe where SAFCO is still dewatering the base of the project.

Fouad Lodhi, assistant project manager at Kling Consult, says that the ramp for the end completing excavation has just been removed, with the contractors completing the raft foundation.

“We had recently finished working on the King’s Road Tower, and now the staff is coming over to the Galleria,” he says. The whole area is split up into six zones, partly for speed and partly due to the fact that there have been design modifications to certain areas of the basement.

The zone with the lowest construction work so far had been modified to incorporate two more elevators, according to Lodhi, taking the total number of elevators in the eventual building to 16.

But he adds that logistical issues have also caused the need to work in sections. “It has also been down to the availability of concrete. We cannot have the big trucks delivering during the day along Tahlia Street, so we have had to take in deliveries and pour during the night.”

This means that the company has only been able to pour certain areas. This seems to have suited Doka, the formwork company which has also supplied the Lamar Tower.

Ahmed Ismael, on-site at the Galleria for the company, explains it has had to make use of the whole excavated space to store its Dokaflex tables, and move them where needed when a slab is to be constructed. This system is complemented by Staxo 40, a lightweight framework scaffolding.

“Some zones need modification,” he says, “so you can get ahead with certain zones. Then each zone can be broken down into two parts. If we have time, we will do it all together. So the first zone was altogether, though it was easier to do the second zone in two parts.

“We are using the Dokaflex table for the slab and also use the Staxo 40 for any level that is more than 6m. In the basement levels, there are some openings in the slabs that will go through two slabs, so this is why the formwork will needed to be higher than 6m. This is so that we can support the ground from the basement.”

Ismael explains that there are around 214 tables on-site, and that another 100 will be required in the coming months. The project will also see Doka use its framed Frami Xlife, which is typically used for low-height forming.

The company also used single-sided formwork for the retaining concrete walls of the basement. These walls are reinforced with different material, explains Ismael.

“There is the shoring, and then a breakwall which is made of bricks. After that it is compacted with sand, and then we can install the single-sided formwork for the retaining wall.”

The contracts for the project have been split into three packages. UCCL is to complete all the structural work. The second package is for all the MEP works, which will be awarded later in May. The third package is for all the finishing work.

Lodhi explains that the tenders and awards are staggered in this way due to the ongoing need to correspond with such stakeholders as the first floor and mezzanine retail stakeholders.

“This is partly also why the whole area is in different zones, as we are receiving more information and specification from the stakeholders as to the MEP details, and then the finishing details.”

Despite the logistical issues, Lodhi is pleased with the progress, and says it is still on schedule to be completed in February next year. “We had some delay from moving the ramp, but we are on target for our final date of 28 February 2012, concludes Lodhi.

Client: Elaf Group
Consultant: Kling Consult
Main contractor: United Constructors Contracting Company (UCCL)
Formwork and equipment: Doka's framed formwork Frami Xlife, Dokaflex tables, supporting construction frames, climbing formwork 150F
Excavation/dredging: SAFCO
Initial MEP works: Juffali Air Conditioning, Mechanical & Electrical Company (JAMED)

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