Making initial preparations

The construction period for the Burj Dubai has proven equally complex in terms of MEP services as the final installation. Just what was needed to make the project operational?


The construction period for the Burj Dubai has proven equally complex in terms of MEP services as the final installation. Just what was needed to make the project operational?

The final MEP installation in the Burj Dubai is only part of the services storey for the project. With over 2,500 people employed on site and 24/7 construction operations, MEP services had to be installed from the start of building works to ensure that construction programmes and safety standards could be met.

The main contractor Samsung-Besix-Arabtec joint venture undertook the installation of temporary MEP services for the project. Involving a more complex and comprehensive network of plumbing and electrical works than many completed buildings will include, these systems will be used purely during construction.

The systems were installed in advance of the permanent versions and after the contractor gained a full understanding of the permanent systems, the same principles being applied for both, such as the water tanks and water distribution networks.

Power, fire-fighting services and water supplies have to be operational 24/7 during the construction period and ensuring safe and reliable supplies is vital.

The continued growth of the building meant that any temporary systems also have to be flexible to these changes, with power supplies for example needed at the higher levels while they are under construction to enable lighting and tools to be used.

A further demand on the temporary systems is ease of operation; with an average of one floor being completed every three days, the MEP services had to follow the same speed as that of the civil construction.

The size of temporary works involved here dwarf final installations on many projects. Pumps of up to 32 bar are being used for water supplies, with a total of five temporary generators used to supply power.

The generators supply the power in zones according to the building levels and are located at levels 20, 43, 73 for example, feeding those immediately surrounding floors.

In order to get materials and labour to the areas needed, a number of the final lifts are now being used for the construction process. In addition, eight external lifts of 1.6m/s and three internal ‘jumping' lifts have been used during the build period, the latter being moved up the building with the structural formwork.

The building shape and jumping form construction method mean that other than the lifts, the only access point for materials is through the roof and for heavy equipment projected loading platforms are installed at different plantroom levels.

The temporary wet-water systems installed mirror that of the final installation, with operation by gravity feed. For the firefighting systems, water is pumped from ground level to two high-level 24m3 water tanks and at every floor a fire hose reel and a landing valve are installed.

These temporary tanks will be dismantled and removed following completion of the permanent systems.

It was not possible to use the final tanks during construction as the products were not available, but more importantly, the areas in which they will be positioned had yet to be built. All temporary water tanks are due to be removed by June 2008.

The domestic water supply follows this system also, using the same tanks to supply toilets and kitchens by gravity feed. Toilet facilities have been provided at every fifth floor of the building during the construction period.

Canteens have also been included within the lower levels of the tower during construction to reduce the amount of time workers need for breaks and to improve manpower logistics on the project.

RELATED LINKS: Supplying skywards services, Servicing the Burj, Going up..., Cool runnings, Tower power, Pipe plans, Fire safety at height

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020