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Case study: FortyFour Tower, Beirut

Tedy Chakhtoura tells Construction Week that CCL succeeded in extending the scope of its contract at Beirut’s FortyFour Tower by proposing the integration of a pioneering jointless floor system

FortyFour Tower’s basement-level floor is completely jointless.
FortyFour Tower’s basement-level floor is completely jointless.

Scheduled to complete in 2019, FortyFour Tower looks well placed to establish itself as a premium spot within Beirut’s burgeoning real estate market. Situated in the city’s Sin el Fil suburb, Demco Properties’ 44-storey building will offer 32 levels of luxury apartments, 12 levels of office and retail space, a gym, a pool, a clubhouse, and other amenities.

Concrete technology company, CCL, was initially contracted to design and engineer post-tensioned (PT) slabs for all above-grade levels at FortyFour Tower. Project architect, Sarkis Azadian, specified PT technology in a bid to achieve large, open-plan floorplates, while minimising the thickness of each slab. By reducing the quantity of materials required, the strategy was designed to achieve cost- and time-related savings.

However, not content to rest on its laurels, CCL succeeded in winning additional work at the development by proposing Surface, it’s proprietary jointless flooring system.

Tedy Chakhtoura, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) chief operating officer of CCL, explains: “The original specification for the basement levels involved a foundation raft to address local soil conditions, followed by solid concrete slabs for the areas beneath the tower and hollow-core slabs for the adjacent areas below the landscaped grounds.

“Our proposal avoided the need for the screed and epoxy resin originally specified. Instead, the screed-free Surface system uses specialist polishing equipment at the final-fix stage to provide a seamless and durable surface once all of the heavy construction work has been completed.”

FortyFour Tower’s jointless flooring system is just one of the features that sets the $100m project apart from its competition, according to Chakhtoura. He continues: “At 44 storeys, FortyFour Tower will be the second highest tower in Lebanon. The landscaping will also set the development apart, with garden areas adjacent to the tower and landscaped roof terraces.”

Ultimately, the advantages offered by FortyFour Tower’s novel basement flooring system may not be apparent to end users, but Chakhtoura says that it has offered a selection of construction-related benefits to those responsible for delivering the project.

“Installed as a single, monolithic slab, the CCL Surface system being used for the basement levels at FortyFour Tower provides an innovative time- and cost-saving solution, which creates a flat, jointless, and durable floor that is also attractive and low maintenance,” he tells Construction Week.

“Use of the system will not only enhance the finished look and longevity of the basement floors, but is also contributing to resolving buildability challenges. By removing the need for a screed and epoxy resin, it takes application and curing time out of the programme. It also means that the floor finish is achieved only after heavy construction work has been completed.”

CCL has carried out all aspects of the flooring system’s installation, including evaluation, supply, and installation. Chakhtoura’s team will return to the site to carry out surface polishing, using its own equipment, following structural completion.

The high-specification polishing equipment used to create the finish for CCL’s Surface system can cover up to 2,500m2 per day, making it faster than conventional casting methods. Moreover, it eliminates the risk of delays related to the application and curing of screed and epoxy resin and, because polishing is conducted late in the programme, construction activities can proceed without concern for surface damage.

“Removing the screed from the specification also increases the floor-to-soffit height, providing additional headroom and vehicle clearance in the basement levels,” adds Chakhtoura. “Furthermore, it reduces material and labour costs, and the length of the programme.”

Once its work at FortyFour Tower is complete, CCL aims to continue to propose novel concrete technologies, providing there is an opportunity to add value for its clients.

“CCL is proactive in suggesting re-engineering opportunities to save costs, reduce the lengths of programmes, improve performance, or enhance buildability,” Chakhtoura explains. “We’ll continue to propose Surface for any installation where the end user needs a durable, low-maintenance, and attractive slab surface, particularly where there is a need for jointless flooring, or where the slab will be subject to heavy loading.

“In addition, PT slabs are still commonly used by the Middle East’s construction sector. CCL will to drive innovation and best practice in [this field], across the region and worldwide,” he concludes.

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Construction Week - Issue 745
Jun 30, 2019