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Thu 10 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Intelligent building

After achieving significant energy savings at one of the UAE’s largest shopping centres, MAF Dalika will be looking for similar success on Business Avenue in Dubai after being awarded a five-year contract. Tim Wood visited the commercial director to find out how this will be achieved.

|~|3p16200.gif|~|The Business Avenue building in Dubai has all the attributes needed to be called an ‘intelligent building’ according to Alexandre Mussallam of MAF Dalkia.|~|Last month MAF Dalkia Middle East made the news for helping Deira City Centre achieve an average of US $544 000 (AED2 million) savings per year on water and electricity expenditures alone.

The joint venture company provides comprehensive technical management services, facilities and energy management to the entire complex, which hosts 320 retail stores and restaurants, the 327-room Sofitel Hotel and the MAF Towers.

All areas of the complex require air conditioning and electrical systems, plumbing, drainage and sanitary systems, minor building and structural repairs, waste collection and management – as provided by MAF Dalkia under the terms of the deal.

Now, although a fraction of the size of the 215 000 m2 mall, Business Avenue, a ten-storey office tower located in Garhoud, Dubai, will be hoping for the same level of success as far as energy savings are concerned.

Business Avenue has all the attributes necessary to be labelled an “intelligent building” according to Alexandre Mussallam, MAF Dalkia commercial director.
“First of all, Business Avenue has a modern architectural design which will keep it as a landmark in Dubai for a long time,” he explains.

“Business Avenue has also installed all the necessary systems such as chiller management systems and building management systems, that allow the facilities management companies to perform their activities properly.

“Of course all these systems need the right pilot and MAF Dalkia has all capabilities not only to operate the systems but also to improve them, through investments in controls and additional features, and to get the optimum benefits of their running,” adds Mussallam.

An impressive looking glass building that allows natural light to enter the modern offices, health spa, gym, and an internationally acclaimed café, Business Avenue was opened in 2002. It now has 175 offices and 90 tenants, including corporate occupiers such as TNT, Tamweel, Emirates Airlines and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

“We have in-house facilities and energy management expertise, which means that we provide a wide range of hard MEP services with our own skilled staff,” explains Mussallam.
“This makes it is easier to develop the culture of energy savings and to spread the importance of the environmental resources.

“Also we have an international expertise operating in 38 countries and managing over 80 000 facilities worldwide,” he adds.

MAF Dalkia was awarded the five-year contract to provide complete MEP to the 21,500 m2 Business Avenue building in January 2005. The company immediately brought in a new system of maintenance, changing the concept of basic maintenance to that of power management, preventative maintenance and upgrading the existing equipment.

Then in April 2006, MAF Dalkia entered into the energy savings and power management side of the contract.
MAF Dalkia, which currently manages over one million square metres of commercial and office space in Dubai alone, is confident that Business Avenue can reduce its costs.

“We are targeting 12-15% of energy savings annually here,” predicts Mussallam. “Currently some nine million kilowatts are used per year and we are trying to cut that back to seven-and-a-half million kilowatts per year.

“The building management system here wasn’t completely installed when we arrived, there were some missed points, so it was within our interest to improve it to control all air conditioning, lighting, temperature and electricity much better.

“We checked the last two or three years of the DEWA electricity bills for the building. We were then able to create a profile of the building, load that profile and put in place a complete energy management programme as a result of our findings.”

Services provided include: air conditioning, electrical systems, fire alarm systems, lighting and signals, vertical transportation (lifts), automated doors, plumbing and sanitary facilities, drainage systems, minor building and structural repairs, exhaust systems and ventilation.

Mussallam claims MAF Dalkia’s system is better than the others in the market, because it is more than just an IT system. Another of the company’s strengths is the fact that all of its IT tools are customised to cater specifically for each client, which means exactly meeting their requirements – it offers the right preventive maintenance tool, the most appropriate maintenance tool and helpdesk tool if anything goes wrong.

The firm also provides a site-based technical team, experienced site manager, call centre and regular reporting to answer all requests from Business Avenue. “We have a 24-hour call centre which keeps a track of how many call-outs we get a month,” says Mussallam.

“We have one full-time employee who works six days a week and one part-time worker. We also have a mobile team, which is on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”
Despite winning major contracts on projects the size of Deira City Centre and Mall of the Emirates, Mussallam believes there is much more to come from MAF Dalkia.

“We are confident that we understand very well the client requirements,” he says. “This is the starting point to succeed in the competitive facilities management market. “Also, our track-record of more than three years and our expertise in all sectors – health, commercial, residential, industrial and cogeneration and district cooling – puts us in a leading position worldwide.

“We also have onboard a multi-disciplinary team to provide facilities and energy management consultancy during the construction phases of the buildings. The participation of the FM companies in the early stages of the projects can bring immeasurable benefits to the developers and end-users.”

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