Thursday, November 27, 2008

World's tallest tower plan 'will not be delayed

Nakheel’s plans to build the tallest tower in the world will not be stalled by a slowdown in the property market in Dubai, but the master developer has put on hold taking on new projects for the time being, chief executive Chris O’Donnell said.

With foundation work on the 1.4km-high skyscraper underway, the property market would be “moving positively” again by the time the foundations were complete within two to three years, O’Donnell told Arabian Business.

He said funding for the $38.12 billion project, unveiled last month, would be secured by the sale of land around the tower to other developers.

“We indicated when we launched that we would do the foundation work and that is underway and will take two or three years. My view is that within two or three years you will find the Dubai market well and truly moving positively.

"So we think that’s the right thing to do,” he said on Wednesday evening ahead of Nakheel taking delivery of the QE2, which it plans to transform into a hotel and tourist attraction off the eastern trunk side of Palm Jumeirah.

In response to a question of whether Nakheel was considering cutting jobs, O’Donnell said the Dubai-based firm was assessing the impact of the global financial crisis on its operations to “match resources to meet its workload.”

“We are reviewing the situation,” he said. “The world economic crisis is having an affect on Dubai and we are assessing what the impact is and what we are looking to do in the future is to match supply with demand. We will match our resources to meet the workload.”

Emaar Properties, another Dubai master developer, said on Monday it may consider making staff redundant due to the downturn in the local real estate market, while Omniyat Properties could cut up to 100 jobs and Dubai developer Damac has said that it planned to lay off 200 employees.

O’Donnell said following launches in the last year and a half of the Universe, Mina Rashid and Nakheel Tower, it was not taking on any new projects for the time being.

“We are delivering over 50 percent of everything that will be delivered in Dubai over the next ten years. We are managing sub-projects within our projects, so smaller projects within Palm Deira and Palm Jumeirah and the Waterfront,” he said.

He said $80 billion was the last figure Nakheel had given for the value of its projects including international assets and as this was a conservative estimate the amount was still correct despite the global financial crisis.

O’Donnell firmly denied there were any plans for a merger between Nakheel and Emaar.

“The government has come out and confirmed that is not the case, so there’s definitely no Nakheel and Emaar merger that’s being considered,” he said.

It follows a comment on Monday by Emaar chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar saying he would welcome a merger with Nakheel if the opportunity arose.

Nakheel, part of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, is building three palm-shaped islands off the Dubai coast, as well as an archipelago in the shape of the world.

The financial crisis has hit demand for real estate in Dubai from foreign investors, which make up a large percentage of buyers, while tightening liquidity has made home financing more difficult.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Behind the scenes: Nakheel's tallest tower plan

Developer Nakheel is to trump rival Emaar Properties in the contest to build the world's tallest building, with the Dubai-owned developer unveiling plans for a tower that will dwarf the Burj Dubai.

Nakheel is poised to build Nakheel Harbour and Tower that will be more than one kilometre high, as part of a $38.12 billion project that will include the world’s first inner city harbour.

This video gives you the behind the scenes story of the project with interviews with CEO Chris O'Donnell, a look at the company's launch night for the ambitious development which was held at the Atlantis resort in Dubai and attended by Hollywood couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jone plus there's a 3D view of how the tower will look when complete.

The development, located at the intersection of Sheikh Zayed Road and the $11 billion Arabian Canal currently under construction, will cover an area of more than 270 hectares and eventually house more than 55,000 people.

The project will take more than 10 years to complete, but with some stages coming on line much earlier.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nakheel extends closing date for tower proposals

The closing date for preliminary proposals for the 1 kilometre-plus tower planned by the UAE's Nakheel has been extended to 4 December. The tower is part of the AED140bn ($38bn) Nakheel Harbour & Tower development in Dubai.

The companies invited to bid for the tower are the local/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton, the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, South Africa's Murray & Roberts Construction (Middle East), South Korea's Samsung Corporation, Japan's Taisei Corporation and France's Vinci Construction Grand Projets.

The AED30bn tower will be developed over 10 years. The client plans to shortlist two groups by the end of 2008 and select one group to provide pre-construction services by early 2009. The pre-construction period is expected to last for at least a year.

Enabling works on the development are being carried out by France's Soletanche Bachy. The package is scheduled for completion in October 2010, and work on the tower's superstructure is expected to follow shortly after.

In June, sources close to the project said the tower had been designed to be 1.4 km high. However, Nakheel has only confirmed that it will be more than 1km high. Once finished, it will be taller than the Burj Dubai, which is expected to be about 820 metres high when completed in 2009.

The consultancy team for the tower includes UK-based WSP, US-based Leslie E Robertson Associates and Australia's Woods Bagot.

The development will be built alongside the proposed Arabian Canal and next to Ibn Battuta Mall and Jumeirah islands. It will cover an area of 2.7km and will be home to more than 55,000 people (MEED 31:10:08).

Monday, November 17, 2008

World's tallest tower secrets revealed

TOWER SECRETS: Architects have revealed how the world's tallest tower will cope with high winds. (Supplied)Architects behind the design of the Nakheel's one kilometre high Dubai tower have revealed the secrets of how it will cope with high winds.

Mark Mitcheson-Low, director in charge of the project and Woods Bagot Middle East managing director, said the cylindrical tower, which will be 95 metres in diameter, is in fact four towers encircling an internal void, linked at intervals by sky bridges.

This design, he said, would mitigate the effects of the wind load, allowing the air to pass freely through the building.

The individual quadrants of the building allow for structural rigidity against the strong winds usually experienced at the higher building levels.

Often limiting engineering possibilities beyond 500 metres, the wind will pass through vertical gills, which have been proven in wind tunnel testing to reduce the windload by three-fold.

At about every 25 levels, sky bridges will bind the building together to provide a structural integrity which, unlike any building before it, affords the tower greatly increased stability and the opportunity to build higher.

They will also house mechanical, electrical and plumbing services and would provide safe crossing points if one of the towers were disabled due to an emergency, Mitcheson-Low added.

He said: "The design is an example of the human ability to overcome the forces of nature and harness them to create a monument dedicated to past, present and future generations of the Gulf.

"Nakheel and Woods Bagot have pushed the design envelope with a project that will be central to the development of one of the world's most exciting cities."

When Nakheel announced the project prior to the Cityscape show in Dubai in September, it was said to become the world's tallest tower when complete but shortly afterwards, Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company said it was planning to build the Kingdom Tower which would be more than 1km high.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Al Burj Building site photo

What a perfect place to take some great pictures of the al burj site. Can't believe we missed it..

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Norman Disney & Young to work on Nakheel Harbour & Tower

Leading engineering firm Norman Disney & Young (NDY) is expanding its global influence with the launch of its Dubai office and the announcement that it will work on the landmark Nakheel Harbour & Tower project in Dubai.

NDY will provide mechanical, electrical, fire and hydraulic services for the kilometre-high Tower, plans for which were unveiled this month. The Nakheel Tower will have more than 200 floors, 150 lifts and enough facilities that residents need never leave the building. It will also lead the way in sustainable design.

The Nakheel Tower is NDY's biggest project to date, and the firm will provide services to an approximate 30-40% of the overall project value, including hydraulics, air conditioning, fire protection and evacuation systems.

In order to meet the task ahead, NDY has opened an office in Dubai. With ten staff already in place, it plans to double this number by the end of 2008, and continue recruiting into next year.

The sheer scale of the project will create a range of different and new challenges that NDY will have to mitigate, including:

- Temperature - the Tower experiences five different climactic conditions and, as a result, there are design considerations at each level. One such consideration is known as a 'reverse stack effect'. This will cause high pressure differences between inside the building and outside which will require careful management to prevent such problems as doors being very difficult to open, lift doors jamming and high air loss from air conditioned spaces.

- All water systems will require pumping in stages because pressure requirement exceeds the pressure rating of equipment and pipework. In the case of chilled water, the number of stages which can be used is limited by the temperature rise as the water passes though the heat exchangers between each pressure stage.

- Electrical systems - the project has the power requirements equivalent to those of a small city, necessitating substations throughout the Tower. Back up power supplies will also be crucial because in the case of fire the Tower's 156 lifts will be essential for evacuation.

- Environmental considerations - these will include an on-site black water treatment plant, providing the equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools of recycled water per day. This water will be used for irrigation within the overall development.

Dennis O'Brien, NDY director, said:

'The Nakheel Tower represents one of the most groundbreaking construction and infrastructure projects in the world to date, and we relish the opportunity to be involved. Every project raises fresh challenges but none more so than this one. NDY is committed to finding the most effective solution for each challenge.'

'As a business, this project also presents the opportunity for NDY to grow into the Middle East, with the launch of our new office in this expanding market strengthening the firm's international position,' O'Brien added.