Site visit: Ansam, Yas Island
Being the first residential development on Yas Island available for purchase by expatriates, Ansam by Aldar Properties is cruising smoothly to be handed over in 2017
Owning a piece of land in one of the most interesting destinations in Abu Dhabi, which offers uninterrupted views of Ferrari World and Yas Links, can be quite an exciting experience. Home to some of the UAE’s most innovative attractions, Yas Island boasts of adventure and entertainment, all in one place, for families.
Its master developer, Aldar Properties, also listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX), has developed a string of key projects on the Yas Island to provide an all-round destination for its residents.
One of its flagship residential projects, Ansam, located near to the Yas Marina Formula One Circuit, Yas Waterworld, the Ferrari World theme park, Yas Mall, and the Yas Links golf club, will be the first residential development to be completed on Yas Island that is available for purchase by expatriates.
The development features four Andalusian-style apartment buildings, comprising 576 units, overlooking the Yas Links golf course and the Yas Island waterfront. Each building has a landscaped setting, with amenities including barbecue areas, infinity pools, kids’ pools, gyms, and multi-purpose halls to host indoor functions.
Construction for the project began in May 2015, and as claimed by the developer, it is a fast-track project to be completed within 22 months. In an interview with Construction Week, Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer at Aldar, says: “We started the construction on Ansam in May 2015. The majority of the piling work was completed by June 2015, after which the piling works contractor, Dutch Foundation, was demobilised from the site. The transition between the enabling work and the main contract has been smooth.”
The mixed-use development, which sits on 6.8ha of land, comprises four buildings, out of which three are G+6 and the remaining one is G+8. The low-rise, medium-density units are a combination of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. Prices are understood to start at around $191,941 (AED705,000) for a 53m2 studio apartment. Average prices at the project stand at $408 (AED1,500) per square metre.
Dubai-based Construction General Contracting House (CGCH) has been appointed as the main contractor of the project, and Ellisdon has been awarded the project management contract.
According to Al Dhiyebi, the contractor has made steady progress on site. “The roof slabs are currently being completed. Structural works are 90% complete.
“We started the infrastructure works in February this year, and so far we have reached up to 50% of that work stream. We are in the process of securing the remaining approvals from the relevant authorities, which we expect to receive in the near future.”
For structural works, Aldar appointed Dubai-based Al Rakha Group, while Khatib & Alami is the lead consultant and design supervisor. Galaxy Advance General Contracting is the external mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) consultant and, last but not the least, Nael Energy is looking after the internal MEP and civil works.
Along with the infrastructure works for the units, deep services are also being worked on. Al Dhiyebi says: “At this point, 70% of the chilled water pipelines are complete, for which we have already got the approval from Tabreed.
“Presently, we are working on the sewerage and the other water networks, and we are confident that the entire infrastructure [will be completed] in the next four months.”
Approximately 1,600 workers are currently engaged on site in construction activities. The developers eventually plan to increase the number of workers to 2,000 to boost building activity. Al Dhiyebi points out: “We are going to add more to the current lot in terms of workforce on site; our peak will be 2,000 people. That will be towards the end of the project.”
Al Dhiyebi mentions that the phased handover of the project is scheduled to be in Q2 and Q3 of 2017. “We will try to complete the development ahead of schedule. That being said, it depends on our ability to begin the pre-commissioning or testing of the building, and also when we receive the approval of the authorities.”
The contractor is aiming for an Estidama Pearl 2 rating at the project. Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (Abu Dhabi UPC) has already conducted the first audit, and the second is due in June.
Al Dhiyebi explains: “The Abu Dhabi UPC authorities will come along to view progress on the project. We have dedicated areas for the contractor to mobilise debris from the project. That gives us an edge over other developers.”
Since the project has to be completed on a fast-track basis, as [stipulated] by the developer, various innovative construction techniques have been applied, such as 3D wall systems. The 3D walling is a unique and effective way to create a strong, insulated concrete building or wall. The 3D system can be used in many building applications, from residential or commercial, to industrial or institutional. It is also designed to meet standard building code requirements. The 3D system can be used in single-storey or multi-storey facilities, curtain walls, sound barrier walls, load bearing walls, non-load bearing walls, retaining walls, and roofs.
Al Dhiyebi says: “The 3D walls are used in every type of concrete structure because of the flexibility of design and ease of use. Thousands of structures and walls have been built around the world with 3D panels. They are also very light and effective, and we are using them for external as well as internal walls. As per our value engineering, the use of such walls has been hugely effective in reducing construction time for Ansam.”
According to the guidelines of the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence, the internal walls should be two-hour fire-rated in order to provide ample protection. The developer says no curtain-walling has been used during construction; just 3D sandwich panels for fire safety. Al Dhiyebi continues: “At the moment, if you enter the buildings, all the construction is quite well organised. We are speeding up, in order to begin with the false ceiling and painting works.”
Each apartment will come with its own parking space along with extra spaces for visitors. The facilities management will be completely taken care of by an internal team at Aldar.
After a relatively slow but positive performance in 2015, Abu Dhabi’s residential property market is expected to witness a slowdown in demand during the next 12 months. However, this may not lead to a major drop in rental rates, due to the limited amount of new supply that is coming online this year, according to the latest report by real estate services firm, Asteco.
In 2016, Abu Dhabi is expected to add 3,000 apartments and 850 villas to its residential supply. Last year, a total of 2,000 apartments and 100 villas were delivered, including 1,010 units in two projects on Reem Island, and 312 units on the Corniche.
Within this context, Al Dhiyebi concludes: “We are extremely pleased with our sales at Ansam, having sold 90% of the units in the development. This is our second off-plan scheme to come to market since 2013. We hope to continue the same success story with our other developments as well.”