The rise of Atlantis

Becca Wilson catches up with Atlantis, the Palm, director of facilities as the resort gears up to its 12-month completion countdown.

ANALYSIS, Facilities Management

From afar, the construction of Atlantis appears like any other project under development - lifeless. But as soon as you enter the 112 acres of land dedicated to the resort, a wave of excitement hits you and the magic of Atlantis becomes apparent.

Kerzner is two years into the project and has 12 months to go before turning the fantasy of Atlantis into a reality for Dubai.

"We started soil testing and breaking ground the last quarter of 2005, most of the specialist package contractors started on site the second quarter of 2006," says Martin Molloy, director of facilities, Kerzner.

BK Gulf Facilities Management will be the FM service provider, once Atlantis is operational.

Currently, Atlantis has 65 contractors and around 6,500 workers helping complete the project.

Molloy refers to these contractors as packages, with each one having its own part to play in ensuring the work gets done and more importantly, is done to the Kerzner standard.

"It's very important they (the packages) buy into what we are doing. We don't have a main contractor because it's such a large project that is developing at such a fast rate and there wasn't one company in the market place that could handle it. So we broke it down into 65 different packages," explains Molloy.

Kerzner set up a management team called the Atlantis Construction Management Team (ACMT) that incorporates a representative or project manager from each package.

"They work together to ensure challenges that arise are dealt with straight away. I think this is instrumental to the way we work," he says.

The mechanical and electrical package was given to BK Gulf Facilities Management and Rotary JV (not Facilities), who has been involved with the project since the design and engineering phases.

Molloy explains the reason for employing specialists within the development and construction fields from the outset was to allow Kerzner Management to focus on doing what it does best: management. "At the end of the day hotels, resorts and these types of dynamic facilities (like the ones on Atlantis) are our core business. These specialists highlight what would be best for us, it's really is all about joint venture partnerships. We've commissioned the top international architects and consultants as our partners, whether they be interior, concept and design, theming, acoustic, security, lighting, audio visual or spa consultants."

Once operational, Molloy says Atlantis will have around 4,000 staff in place to keep up Kerzner's high standards. Kerzner will place senior management to oversee the facility contractors, who in turn, will supervise their staff, leaving Kerzner to focus on the overall resort operational management of Atlantis.

The FM Team

On top of playing a part in all the mechanical and electrical installation during construction, BK Gulf Facilities Management has recently been appointed as the preferred FM service provider for Atlantis, once it's operational.

"We did not really go to all the facility providers in the local market, as it made a lot of sense to strongly look at BK Gulf because of its design, engineering and installation input. Also, there's a wealth of additional benefits that you can't put a monetary value on," says Molloy.

The contract will comprise all the mechanical and electrical components, finishes and all the civil structures. This will include advanced technology systems like the extra low voltage components i.e. lighting control, building management systems (BMS).

According to Molloy the staff numbers, online dates and skill sets have all been agreed with BK Gulf Facilities Management and it will operate under Kerzner's standard operating procedures and adhere to its policies.

"They will then bring those (procedures and policies) forward to the guest areas and back of house areas. We've been very transparent with our facility provider. We've not relied on them to to go away and come back with a concept and idea of how to run this thing (Atlantis). We've come up with an organisational structures and said that's what we want. If you can improve on it, please bring it to the table. BK Gulf did that and brought some valid comments. But at the end of the day, it's still our baby," he adds.

About Atlantis

Owner: Kerzner Istithmar Limited Joint Venture

Developer: Kerzner International Development (K.I.D.)

Size: Plot, 112 acres. Built-up area, 247,441 m2

Cost: US $1.5bn (AED 5.5bn)

Number of bedrooms: 1539, plus seven superior suites

Number of in-house staff: approximately 4000

Number of outsourced staff: TBA

Preventative maintenance in place: Concept 500 via FSI (UK)

Other facilities management services like pest control and waste management will also be outsourced. Molloy says they are just waiting for proposals to come back from the marketplace.

"We will also outsource the security. We've already been talking to security, waste and pest control companies. Outsourcing will test the people in the market and the expertise they have gained through the years by looking after these types of developments. They can bring a lot to us," he explains.

Each sub-contractor will need to embrace Kerzner's vision and meet its strict and very clear, key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarking standards.

Technology tasks

Technology will play an instrumental part in the successful operation of Atlantis.

During construction a specialist project team has been formed to monitor and look after these systems until they become fully operational. That team is called, ELV (Extra Low Voltage).

"ELV is a semi-separate project with a team of people to look after systems like the building management integration system we are putting in by Siemens," says Molloy.

The BMS will run on a single IP (internet protocol) backbone and have a number of different systems linked to it, for example, INNCOM, an American system that reviews components within the guest rooms.

It will also monitor things like the CCTV, access control and digitron refrigerator monitoring systems (which is a HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) requirement).

"These systems will be monitored in the primary and secondary control centres. All our ELV components come back to these areas. They replicate each other, so if there was an incident, that function can take place in the other centre," explains Molloy.

The first centre is situated inside the Royal Towers within the main security offices and the second is inside the water park. The BMS will also monitor & control plant room machinery - any issues or parameter changes on these systems will then alert the relevant personnel.

When asked about energy saving initiatives, Molloy says the BMS will be a major contributor. "The BMS is most probably the largest component for energy saving, it's very intelligent. As a whole, the ROI for our energy management plan is extremely attractive. It is based on superior brand installation and partner support, advanced design life criteria and commercial leverage."

Another system that is crucial to the successful operation of Atlantis is FSI FM Solutions' CAFM (computer aided facilities management) software, Concept.

"We're running a state-of-the-art facility management system out of the UK. It's not only a planned preventative maintenance (PPM) software system which is the norm, it goes much further than that," says Molloy.

Currently, Concept is being used alongside another system to help with the snagging. Once finished, it will play host to things like the resort's technical documentation, its O&M (operation and maintenance) manuals and drawings, service level agreements be a part of the central call centre and keep photographs and details of all staff who work for the sub contractors.

Molloy says this last addition will help security identify service providers and contractors who have been called in for facility maintenance works & other service provider contracted tasks. Only people and companies registered on the CAFM system will be allowed access to Atlantis.

"A hell of a lot of work has already taken place and gone into that database. All the room numbers, building numbers, package and contractor details, the snagging documents and work flows have been loaded and created. Now, we're just waiting for a lot of the O&M manual data, load schedules and equipment data to be handed over by the various package contractors," explains Molloy.

When Atlantis becomes operational in 2008, BK Gulf Facilities Management will take control of the management of these CAFM systems.

"It has a section of its department that is associated with taking care of the specialist sub-contractors and most of those actually fall under BK Gulf at this point in time. So it made a lot of sense from a managerial point of view to have dedicated personnel on the BK Gulf side," he concluded.

Facility facts
  •  1539 rooms, 876 in the East tower and 663 in the West tower. There are also seven super suites. The bridge suite joins the east and west tower on the upper levels and the master bedrooms in the two Dig suites, will have floor to ceiling windows looking directly into the Ambassador Lagoon
  •  The Ambassador Lagoon - 13,500m3 marine habitat with a single 10 metre long viewing panel
  •  Royal pool and zero-entry pool
  •  1.4kms of beach
  •  Fish hospital - newborn, ailing and acclimatising marine life
  •  Entertainment village - 80,000ft2 including 24 shopping outlets and 16 restaurants
  •  A range of activities for children of all ages
  •  Health spa and fitness centre
  •  45,000ft2 conference centre
  •  Access: Underground vehicular tunnel or the monorail to Atlantis Station
  •  42 acres
  •  65,000 marine creatures
  • 25,000m3 waterscape
  •  The Ziggurat - seven thrilling water slides, two of which go through a lagoon full of sharks
  •   Lazy lagoons
  • Tidal waves
  •  Rapids
  •  Waterfalls
  •  Horticulture from around the world

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