How Beaver is constructing a 223-unit Al Ghurair building in Deira
The contractor reveals how it is managing logistical challenges – such as overhead aircraft and road traffic restrictions – to develop Al Ghurair Real Estate’s 6.7ha Muteena Mixed-Use Building
It’s a warm Thursday afternoon in a Deira neighbourhood, and – as is often observed in the vicinity of Dubai International Airport – numerous aircraft can be seen and heard over the 500m-long construction site. As the weekend beckons, visitors are steadily trickling into the Sheraton Deira hotel, which is next door to Al Ghurair Real Estate’s (AGRE) Muteena Mixed-Use Building, currently under development by Beaver Gulf Group (BGG).
It doesn’t take an engineering degree to see the complexity of the work BGG is implementing at this site. As the home of Port Saeed, Deira remains one of the most significant commercial centres in Dubai, and some of the city’s most affordable homes are available in the locality.
These factors make the Muteena development a valuable asset for AGRE, which is sure to attract residents and commercial tenants alike when it opens the building next year. These conditions also make constructing in Muteena an eventful proposition for BGG, which is working on the project in various roles through a $65.3m (AED240m) contract.
The Muteena site is nestled between operational buildings that offer homes, office space, and restaurants, in addition to the landmark Sheraton hotel. The L-shaped site is faces the main road, including a signalised traffic junction and a bus stop. Four blocks make up the 223-unit project – two of these are B+G+M+4 structures, while the other two are B+G+M+2 buildings.
Muteena Mixed-Use Building is one of the four projects BGG is currently developing for AGRE. The contractor is building three projects in Hor Al Anz and Mankhool – both high-density neighbourhoods in Dubai – for the developer. The Hor Al Anz development is 90% complete, while the two Mankhool projects are each 98% and 60% complete.
The Muteena scheme is the largest of the four that BGG is developing for AGRE through a $130.7m (AED480m) deal, and is currently 60% complete. Finishing, fit-out, and MEP works are currently under way for the project. For BGG, which began site work in March 2017, a number of logistical challenges could have posed hindrances as the scheme progressed, but chief executive officer Rajesh Kumar Krishna says the firm’s experience of high-density construction has been helpful.
“On one hand, you have the challenges of delivering on time, while you also have to manage traffic and working hour restrictions,” Krishna says.
Amid the hubbub of readymix discharge and aircraft engines, Krishna outlines details of BGG’s work on the project that, he explains, will introduce a new building concept in the vicinity by injecting contemporary designs and upscaling the traditional areas of Muteena and Hor Al Anz.
The construction conglomerate is delivering 95% of all project activities through its aluminium, joinery and interiors, small and structural steel, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) divisions.
NEXT PAGE: Krishna reveals why Beaver Gulf required more than 50 NOCs for the Muteena scheme
WME is working as the project’s architect of record and supervision consultant, while LW Design Group is involved as the architect. Due to specific approvals required from authorities such as Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) and Dubai Police, specialised firms have also been contracted for the scheme.
These include Hemaya for firefighting-related operations, and Alpha Plus for CCTV activities. Omnium is involved as cost consultant for the scheme, with Unimix delivering readymix for the development, and SS Lootah Foundations contracted by BGG for enabling work.
Due to the site’s logistical considerations and its total built-up area – which spans 6.68ha – sub-contractor selection was a key priority for BGG, Krishna explains: “The suppliers and sub-contractors were finalised within the first two months, because this is a huge building, so you don’t want to spend more than 10% of your overall time for the procurement and appointment of [these stakeholders].
“Location is a very important factor when you select your suppliers. For instance, Unimix operates a plant very close to the site – roughly half-hour from here – and it was picked for readymix supply considering the setting time of the concrete.”
BGG’s operations entail daily contact with most of these project stakeholders, and Krishna says their cooperation is significant for a scheme that has required multiple approvals from local authorities to implement site works.
“The main challenge of constructing in high-density areas is the no-objection certificates (NOCs) it requires,” Krishna tells Construction Week.
“Typically, projects in new Dubai require 15 to 20 NOCs, but old Dubai areas tend to be highly populated, so sites like Muteena need close to 50 NOCs. Some of these are specific to certain areas and locations.
“For instance, we have needed approvals from Dubai Civil Aviation Authority for the height of the tower crane being used. Approvals were also needed from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) for entry and exit spots, parking, material loading and unloading, road closures for concreting, and so on.”
Moreover, BGG requires separate construction approvals to conduct work in accordance with noise level restrictions in the emirate. According to a Gulf News report from April 2017, Dubai Municipality’s (DM) time limit for construction work is from 7am to 8pm, with noise required to remain within 55 decibels. Krishna explains that mass concreting, such as slabs and pours, can be implemented at night – which is helpful, since traffic rules also restrict the free movement of concrete trucks – after receiving RTA and Dubai Police approvals.
“These are the only days when night work is allowed, but noise levels cannot exceed the set decibel [for post-8pm],” he continues. “If anybody from the neighbouring buildings complains to DM about the noise, you could be fined and made to stop work. Clients and consultants play a huge role in ensuring all operations are carried out smoothly, and their support is key to receiving required project approvals.”
NEXT PAGE: How is Beaver managing Deira's road congestion to build the Muteena homes?
Approvals were also an important part of the pre-construction work implemented for the project. BGG outsourced these operations to SS Lootah Foundations due to the sub-contractor’s track record, and because it held all necessary DM approvals for specialised work such as enabling, shoring, and piling.
“The Muteena site did not require piling work, but shoring activities were carried out for the structures’ basements, in addition to excavation, Krishna explains: “DM permits are required for every 2m excavated on site. Even for the trucks to come in and load [the excavated material], as well as the final disposal site, have to be approved by DM.
“Traffic hours are pretty limited for heavy vehicles, and the number of trips to every site is regulated. You cannot disturb people living and working around high-density areas while you’re constructing here, and there’s stricter regulation to ensure the satisfaction of all people in the vicinity. It is the mutual responsibility of the client, consultant, contractors, and authorities to ensure minimal disruption occurs during construction.”
This level of collaboration has also supported the construction team as it develops the blocks in compliance with the updated UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice. Krishna says the project’s façade is predominantly finished with concrete, and some parts of it also feature glazing and coverings of aluminium composite panels (ACPs). These jobs are also part of BGG’s contract, and are being delivered by United Color Film (UCF), one of its divisions, Krishna explains: “UCF has civil defence approvals for installation.
“For all projects now, a façade study must be submitted and approved by the civil defence through a consultant that [has been approved to implement this study]. These consultants submit the report for approval on our behalf, and once the civil defence has reviewed and approved the report, we can proceed with our work.”
Construction completion for the Muteena project is expected in April 2019, following which, testing and commissioning activities will begin.
Krishna is rightly proud of his team’s work on this development – the Al Muteena scheme has recorded almost 3.1 million safe man-hours as of July 2018. He is also optimistic about BGG’s work with AGRE, and is eyeing further work with the developer, which has a notable presence in Dubai’s real estate sector. The company has currently deployed more than 6,000 workers for its projects with AGRE, he tells Construction Week.
“We are recruiting around 4,000 staff this year in anticipation of five other projects with AGRE – three of which have already been awarded – as well as other tenders for which we are in a very close race,” he continues.
Commenting on constructing in high-density areas, he adds: “It is not easy, but it’s how things get built.”