Rising Again

Gavin Davids visits the restarted Marina 101 to find out how work is progressing on what will be Dubai’s second highest tower

Given Dubai’s predilection for all things larger than life, it’s strange that the Marina 101 hasn’t received the fanfare you would associate with a building that will be the second tallest in Dubai, after the iconic Burj Khalifa, once it is complete.

Built by Turkey’s TAV Construction, the tower has had a difficult history, having endured nearly two years of downtime as the developer, Sheffield Real Estate, was buffeted by the effects of the financial crisis.

As far back as December 2010, Big Project Middle East reported that the building was nearly complete, with the superstructure done and just the finishing works to be applied. Obviously, this didn’t happen and it left the building in limbo, waiting for completion as rivals snuck ahead to take its place in the ‘Dubai’s tallest’ lists.

With this scenario in mind, it’s not hard to imagine other contractors packing up and leaving the project, pausing only to take their developer to court. However, this was never the case for TAV Construction, says Yusuf Akcayoglu, Gulf regional director.

“We do not see our clients as a simple brand, we see them as partners. It was the common practice in Dubai, during the years of the downturn, to go cold and claim outstanding issues and abandon the project,” he says.

Having decided to hang in there and ride out the storm, Akcayoglu explains that a large part of their decision was made because of the trust and respect they had for their client. This patient, trusting approach is now paying off, he says, with the project back on track and providing one of the few examples of trust and partnership in Dubai’s construction market.

More famous for its work on airports, TAV has completed projects across the entire region, including the Passenger Terminal Complex at the New Doha International Airport and the Midfield Terminal Building at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Furthermore, the contractor has completed three tower projects in the UAE to date, with the first a 30 storey commercial twin tower in DIFC called the Emirates Financial Tower. The owners of this project are MAG and Emirates Financial Towers. The designer is CPG while the Project Management Consultant is Projacs.

Secondly, the firm has also worked on the 79 storey residential Sulafa Tower, which is adjacent to Marina 101. Owned by Al Sayyah Investment Holding, this project was completed while work was suspended on Marina 101.

Finally, the third tower TAV  completed in Dubai is the 52 storey Majestic Tower in Sharjah. Furthermore, the contractor has also worked on the Al Sharaf Shopping Mall (Times Square Centre) and the Towheed Iranian School.

Interior fit out work is ongoing.

Finishing touch

Having kept active and busy throughout its time in Dubai, TAV was well prepared to pick up where it left off at Marina 101, as construction resumed earlier this year.

Ugur Anliatamer, the project manager for the tower, says that the contractor was quite lucky that worked on the tower stopped when it did, because had the finishing works been further advanced, more protection would have had to have been brought in.

“Because it was just the structure, not that much protection was needed. Of course, the basic items were protected before the suspension of the job,” he says.

Standing 425m high, Marina 101 consists of six basement levels, a ground floor and 101 floors. Covering a total built area of 154,000m2 the project has completed approximately 54% of its work. Breaking it down, Anliatamer says that the aluminium claddings and glass fittings are currently at 39% completion; MEP works at 40%; while other facilities such as elevators and garbage chute systems are at 20% and 60% respectively.

“Other than this, there are four podiums in the buildings and after this start the hotel levels. Between levels six and 32, it’s completely hotel premises. From 32 upwards, to the 100th floor, it’s all serviced apartments. This means that the building comprises of a hotel and serviced apartments. On top of this, on floor 101, there is a restaurant,” Anliatamer explains.

One of the building’s unique selling points is a special installation, a panoramic lift that runs along the outside of the building, right up to the restaurant. This was recently introduced by the client, and will be a considerable challenge for the contractor.

“The client has introduced a new full height panoramic lift at the front elevation of the building as a major design change. Accordingly, the complete front facade is affected and the design change, as well as the related authority approvals, are now in progress,” he says.

Other issues that need to be finished in time for the scheduled completion date of April 2014 are the external facade and other related glass and cladding work. This is set to be accomplished with the help of an external contractor, who will also install all the required cornices, extensions and other decorative features.

Furthermore, the top of the building will have a crown structure installed, taking the building to its final height, but also presenting its own challenges to the project.

“It’s approximately 50m in height and has special cladding,” says Anliatamer, adding that completing the installation on time will be a challenge that TAV is well on the way to meeting.

However, he adds, the biggest challenge, and one that is ongoing, has been dealing with the logistics of the entire project.

A view of Dubai Marina from the top floor of Marina 101.

Record Regained

With Marina 101 situated in the heart of a cluster of Dubai Marina’s tallest buildings, the construction site is hemmed in from all sides, creating an issue for Anliatamer’s team, who have to be mindful of the noise and pollution levels as they are operating in a densely populated area.

“The most challenging issue was the congestion, the location. This region, the Marina, is Dubai’s most congested area, and having a 101 storey building, without having the space, is very difficult for us, from any point of view.

“From construction, to logistics, this is the toughest and most challenging task for this project since there was no space. That’s the reason our programme, the use of cranes, would be perfect. They’re working 24/7 over such logistic issues,” he explains.

“We have two cranes on this project. One is external and is full height, the other is internal. These are our arms; they are the most crucial equipment on a high-rise project. Other than this, the other major equipment was the hoists. We have four coupling hoists in two different locations. There are also two lifts, each lift having two cages. There are a total of 25 external cradles, and all the work is progressing now.”

With all this equipment in and around the construction site, maintenance becomes crucial task for the project manager, and as such, Anliatamer leaves nothing to chance, keeping in mind TAV’s ethos for the highest standards of health and safety on site.

“All these equipments are inspected regularly, every six months. They have to be inspected by the authorities, get third party approvals. We don’t compromise on safety and our target is zero accidents.”

As a result, the team, which currently numbers 700 workers and technicians on site, are well trained and drilled to be up to speed with the highest safety standards, making health and safety a crucial component of managing the site, which will see the workforce swell to 1300 by the end of the project.

“Because this tower is a super high-rise, health and safety is a crucial factor. Our HSE teams are on site 24/7 and the building is completely under control,” Anliatamer concludes.

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