Al Barari is a mammoth 1.3 million m2 development within the north eastern corner of the GCC's second largest development - Dubailand. The site hugs the corner of Dubailand nearest to the current centre of Dubai.
Al Barari means "the wilderness," and it exemplifies the shared vision of Zaal Mohammed Zaal, the founder and chairman of Al Barari, and Mohammed Bin Zaal, chief operating officer (COO).
There is no disguising the fact that Al Barari is a high end development, with the decidedly well off in mind. Around US $4.14 billion has been invested in construction of the project, which is progressing in two phases. Phase one comprises residential buildings, while phase two will cover mixed-use buildings.
So what, exactly, does $4.14 billion get you these days? The Al Barari development comprises 296 villas, a 6-star boutique hotel including 120 suites and 32 attached villas, a spa and resort, an alternative medicine village, apartments, shopping areas, a mosque, and a cultural village.
Work on phase one is currently well underway at the site, around 20 minutes' drive from the centre of Dubai. To date, 190 of the 296 villas have been sold. COO Zaal expects to hand over the keys to the first stage of completed homes by the end of the year.
Following this initial handover, keys will again be handed over in three phases. First in March 2009, followed by September 2009 and January 2010.
The 296 villas can be classed within four general grades - A,B,C and D. There will also be an elite class. The show home, a ‘B' class, was unveiled at the end of April.
It is difficult to believe that it is considered ‘B' class. Within this class villas range from 930m2 to 1,860m2.
The architects have taken particular account of one resource that the region possesses in adundance, as Zaal explains: "The doors and ceilings are high throughout the house. This allows us to make the most of the natural light within the interior.
Attention to the smallest detail is also apparent within the show home: "All of the electrical components and servers throughout the house are concealed within closed compartments.
Every detail has been considered, because it's the little things that are so important.
They make such a difference. Even down to the doors of the kitchen cupboards, which close by themselves.
The art of civil engineering needs to be taught more closely with its science, argues Sadek Owainati, deputy general manager, Al Naboodah Contracting - Building Division, and chairman, Emirates Green Building Council.
Sadek Owainati, Saturday, 30 June 2007, ArabianBusiness/Comment
The growing reliance on unskilled labour in the industry means the right kind of training is vital for quality and safety on site. Monika Grzesik talks to contractors to see what can be improved with regard to training workers.