How is Dubai’s new Waterfront Market in Deira managed?

Imdaad shares the details of the integrated facilities management strategy that it has implemented at Dubai’s new Waterfront Market in Deira

Dubai's Waterfront Market was launched following the closure of the Deira Fish Market in Al Ras last year.
Dubai's Waterfront Market was launched following the closure of the Deira Fish Market in Al Ras last year.

In June last year, the Deira Fish Market that served Dubai’s residents for more than 60 years shut up shop. Fish, vegetable, and livestock vendors moved to a new location in the Waterfront Market, a few kilometres away from the old market’s site in Deira’s Al Ras area.

At the Waterfront Market, vendors and shoppers have a new, state-of-the-art facility that is cleaner, more hygienic, and is air-conditioned through a central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Imdaad won the contract to maintain the facility, and one year into its operation, Construction Week’s sister publication fmME paid a visit to the facility to discover how the facilities management (FM) operator is coping with the site’s specific challenges.

“This is totally different from any of the sites we have worked on — it is not residential or commercial. It is a fish market, where you are expecting large volumes of footfall on a daily basis. This means it is not only always busy, it is also going to be prone to dirt and contaminants from the outside,” Imdaad’s chief operating officer, Mahmood Rasheed, says.

The Waterfront Market is designed to be a hub for all fresh food shopping, housing butchers, vegetable traders, and dried-goods merchants, as well as fishmongers. The project is part of the Deira Enrichment Project, which aims to transform Deira into a “bustling hub of life that will add to the already rich tapestry woven by communities past and present”, according to real-estate developer Ithra Dubai.

Imdaad was awarded a three-year contract to carry out total facilities management at the Waterfront Market, “from MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing), cleaning, and waste management, down to maintaining the street outside the facility”, Rasheed says.

He goes on to explain some of the challenges Imdaad and its staff face, especially in the Fish Market zone. “It is not an easy task at the end of the day – given there is a daily auction for fresh fish in the morning. Our staff needs to be prepared before and after [the auction]. The challenge is also to control the odour from fish that is decomposing. For this, our staff is on hand 24 hours a day, [specifically] the cleaning staff – there is a lot of pressure on them,” he says.

READ: Maintaining Souq Al Jubail, Sharjah's food and livestock market

Imdaad has 22 staff working on hard service operations, 90 cleaners, and an additional two employees dedicated to provide pest control services. Rasheed also reveals that the cleaning team is equipped with street washers, street sweepers, and various other cleaning machines supplied by Tennant.

Rasheed says Imdaad works extensively to eliminate the market’s different odours. “This matter was taken into account right from the design stage, by the developers of the Waterfront Market. [To counter odours] an ozone system is in place that was deployed towards the end of April 2018, which helps to reduce unpleasant odour by 70%.

“We also use negative pressure, which is achieved through the air-conditioning system, in each zone of the market, which ensures that the smells in each zone – for instance the fruit and vegetable zone or the fish market – do not spread to the corridors or the common areas.

“The zoned negative pressure ensures a higher volume of fresh air supply into the particular zone,” he explains.

The Waterfront Market comprises of three distinct areas: the fruit and vegetable zone, the meat and poultry zone, and the fish market zone. It also has 80 retail outlets and 20 food and beverage outlets. There is parking for 1,210 cars in 770 underground spaces and 470 outdoor bays.

Rasheed says that one of the biggest successes for Imdaad at the Waterfront Market has been to control the cooling and ventilation systems between the different zones so that there is no interference between them. Elsewhere in the market, Imdaad oversees a range of different activities: “We also look after all aspects of the waste management system, which includes the spent oil from the restaurants, the used cartons, and the waste that is generated from the fish market and livestock,” he says. “We have contracted with a supplier that processes the waste to make fish food products.”

READ: Two phases of Imdaad homes for 950 staff completed in Dubai

The market and its surroundings must comply with Dubai Municipality’s hygiene standards, and Rasheed says that inspectors from the municipality frequently visit the site to ensure that hygiene is constantly maintained at the highest standard.

When it comes to the supply of staff and the training of employees, Rasheed says: “The manpower and staff is supplied from one of our subsidiaries, Isnaad. They also conduct regular training activities. All our staff are BIC Sc (British Institute of Cleaning Science) certified, and the manager assigned to this project is a BIC Sc assessor. Our teams also visited the Sharjah [Fish Market] to compare their operations and processes.”

He adds that specialised systems, such as those for firefighting, chillers, elevators, and escalators, are looked after by the original equipment manufacturer. The market has an ice manufacturing unit that supplies fresh ice to all the market’s vendors, which is operated and maintained by Imdaad, however.

Although the facility is relatively new, and was built to advanced engineering standards, Imdaad says further energy savings could be achieved. Through one of its other subsidiaries, Imtedaad, a detailed analysis has been carried out. The resulting report, which is expected to be produced in the near future, will detail potential energy and water savings, says Rasheed, explaining that the findings of the study will be supported via the integration of a central building management system.

Traditionally, Imdaad’s expertise has been in managing large residential and mixed-use developments, such as Nakheel’s Discovery Gardens, where Imdaad not only manages the soft and hard services but also handles waste collection and management. According to Rasheed, however, the experience of managing the Waterfront Market may have piqued Imdaad’s interest in the possibility of delivering FM service for malls and other commercial establishments in the future, and he believes the sector shows significant potential for the FM operator moving forward.

The Waterfront Market welcomes more than 700,000 visitors each month, up from 500,000 initially forecast by its developer, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Imdaad says it maintains an excellent working relationship with the client, and is confident of extending its contractual agreements beyond the stipulated period of three years.

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