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Wed 14 Jan 2009 04:00 AM

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In on the act

Mirdif City Centre is one of the first shopping centre ventures in the region to incorporate ecologically sound construction technologies. FMME talks to Merlyn Roberts, general manager sustainable development, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the role of FM.

Mirdif City Centre is one of the first shopping centre ventures in the region to incorporate ecologically sound construction technologies. FMME talks to Merlyn Roberts, general manager sustainable development, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the role of FM.

Has the facilities management tendering process for Mirdif City Centre begun?

No, there will be no tendering process because Majid Al Futtaim Group (MAF) has a joint venture partner MAF Dalkia which provides facilities management services.

MAF Dalkia is currently involved in the designers’ specifications for Mirdif City Centre in order to ensure that facilities management is integrated into the design elements.

Is it MAF's intention to integrate facilities management from conception through to operation at Mirdif City Centre?

Yes. We use the feedback from MAF Dalkia on existing operational sites to inform best practice and adopt those practices on new developments such as Mirdif City Centre.

MAF Dalkia is currently involved in the designer's specifications for Mirdif City Centre in order to ensure that facilities management is integrated into the design elements.

This will ensure that when operation commences, MAF Dalkia will have already familiarised itself with all plant and system design and ensured preparedness for operation.

To what extent is facilities management integrated with the LEED rating system, and how important is it to MAF?

Facilities management is very important, both as a source of feedback on operational experience for practices implemented under the LEED protocols and procedures, and in ensuring that systems introduced as part of the design to achieve LEED certification are operated in accordance with the design intent.For example, they ensure that energy and water demand targets set at design are maintained and in many cases improved upon over time.

How important do you think the adoption of standardised green building regulations are to the construction industry?

Standardised green regulations are critical to the future of the property and development industry in MENA if we expect to continue to operate on a global stage. Green industry standards are commonplace in developed countries and ensure a basic level of compliance for all development.

Standardised green regulations are critical to the future of the property and development industry in MENA if we expect to continue to operate on a global stage.

In addition, regulations will contribute to a change of mindset for those organisations that remain sceptical of the need for sustainable development and ensure their compliance, at least to the minimum standard.

Do you think standardisation across the Middle East is attainable, or will it take a municipal form: i.e. one code for Abu Dhabi, another for Dubai, Qatar etc?

It is our hope that as a region we can establish standardised regulations that are the same from country to country.

It would be ideal if these standardised regulations were also joined up as much as possible with global standards to ensure we are not just mindful of our regional commitments, but also those of the greater global community.

Has or will MAF look at addressing the environmental impact of transporting materials to site, and the workforce health and safety/welfare issues associated with working and living conditions?

As a socially responsible organisation, MAF is already addressing these issues and is an industry leader in terms of worker welfare, health and safety issues.Transporting materials to site is dependant on the particular items being sourced, but we will always seek to reduce the environmental impact by sourcing locally wherever possible.

How will MAF handle the waste generated during and after the build, and what will facilities management's role be in this?

Waste generated during the construction stage is handled in accordance with LEED requirement for construction waste which requires the main contractor to recycle at least 50 per cent of generated waste by weight.

It would be ideal if these standardised regulations were also joined up as much as possible with global standards to ensure we are not just mindful of our regional commitments, but also those of the greater global community.

Post completion, waste will be managed by mall operations. MAF Environmental Committee will have a facilities team and operations in place to ensure waste stream reduction and recycling protocols are being followed and achieved as per LEED specifications.

What is MAF doing to raise the corporate social responsibility agenda within the construction industry?

MAF has always been committed to sustainable development and protection of the environment. To this end, we have asked our joint venture partners, construction professionals and suppliers to help us meet this commitment.

Our commitment to corporate social responsibility and the environmental agenda is also evidenced by our commitment to applying appropriate green building rating systems, such as LEED certification, to all our future developments.

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