Case study: Fit-out at Doha Festival City

Mike Beggs, development director for Doha Festival City, shares his insight into the fit-out challenges and concepts within the mall with Kim Kemp

Energy consumption has been kept in check for the huge mall.
Energy consumption has been kept in check for the huge mall.

Home to some of the most extraordinary architecture in the region, Qatar — like other countries in the region — is seeing a trend for sustainability and green construction.

Developers and consultants are promoting the use of sustainable materials like LED lighting and efficient air conditioning solutions to cut costs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. In Qatar, the Ministry of Environment requires developers to comply with the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), a green building certification system that provides a star rating of the development.

The GSAS, originally known as QSAS (Qatar Sustainability Assessment System), is a green building certification system developed for GCC countries.

This system was announced after (QSAS) gained acceptance from many GCC countries. Hence, the local system of QSAS expanded to a regional scale and was renamed. The system was established in 2009 by Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD), in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. The system took into consideration well-known international green building codes, applied expert composition, and modified them to suit GCC countries’ climates and traditions.

Mike Beggs, development director for Doha Festival City, says: “When we started the design of the Doha Festival City project, we were required to achieve at least a one-star rating. However, as we are committed to sustainability and green-building technology, we set a higher target for the project team and we are currently looking to attain a three-star rating once complete, something that we are very proud of and are striving to achieve.

“Green building and sustainability are among our key priorities, so throughout the development and subsequent construction, there are various elements that will help us achieve the three-star rating we seek.”

Beggs says that the company aimed to reduce the consumption of energy by maximising the usage of daylight in the building. “Once we open to the public next year, visitors will be able to see how we have used clear storey lighting to maximise natural light while at the same time minimising the heat build-up.

“We have also used an energy efficient cooling plant to minimise electrical load, and have focussed on the use of LED lighting, which uses less power and has a longer life. Water usage reduction is achieved through water-efficient taps and cisterns in the bathrooms, recycling rain water through the use of retention tanks that collect the rain water and the blow-down water from our chiller plant. This recycled water is then used for irrigation for our outdoor landscape and recreational areas on the site.”

Beggs points out that the company has been very careful to select mostly native or adaptive plants for use in the landscape design of the mall. “These plants are already accustomed to the harsh climate in Qatar, so we can minimise the amount of water consumed. We also have a building management system (BMS) to monitor and manage the mechanical and electrical systems, to ensure the most cost-effective running of the systems, reduce wastage, and minimise power consumption.”

Finally, Beggs says that the firm has also set Doha Festival City up for waste separation and recycling to be implemented, in line with the future development of recycling in Qatar.

He adds: “One of our biggest challenges on the project was to find the construction materials closer to home, within the region. Unfortunately, there is not much local industry yet, and we found it challenging as we tried to utilise as many local and regional construction materials and manufacturing processes as possible.

“An example of success is the glass balustrades, which were manufactured in the UAE. Also, the steelwork for the large central court skylight was manufactured and installed by contractors in Qatar.”

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