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Sat 11 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Mall of the Emirates speeds towards a September finish

As outside temperatures hit 40°C, the Mall of the Emirates' project team will need to ensure that inside the temperature doesn’t rise above -1.5°C.

|~|_C6O0092200.gif|~|Since late 2003, the Mall of the Emirates has been one of the most visible construction sites in Dubai.|~|It is now just three short months until the Mall of the Emirates opens to the public on 3rd September. With the structural work now largely complete, Construction Week caught up with the development team to find out about the ski slope that everyone is talking about.

Since construction work began on site in late 2003, the Mall of the Emirates has been one of the most visible construction sites in Dubai.

Work on the mall is now closing in on its 3rd September opening date.

For the mall’s indoor ski slope, the bulk of the construction work is now complete.

According to Richard A. Haddon, senior project manager at Majid Al Futtaim, good progress is being made on the cantilever section protruding out from the slope that accommodates the bull wheel for the chair lift, which has allowed the contractor, Al Naboodah Laing O’Rourke, to focus on completing the car park underneath the ski hill.

With construction work coming to a finish, the next concern facing the project’s developers is commissioning.

A new sub station that will provide power to the mall has now been completed behind the centre, and will be connected up to the mall early this month.

This will allow the services within the mall, such as the air conditioning, to begin operating on a zone-by-zone basis.
Commissioning for the region’s first indoor ski slope will be slightly more complex.

“Because of the criticality of the snow-making apparatus, temporary power was arranged to bring the temperature within the ski slope down before the mains power is connected,” says Haddon.

Prior to the first snow making date of 31st July, there will be a two-week period during which the temperature within the structure will be dropped progressively lower. Once operational, the normal temperature will be -1.5oC, and -6oC when making snow, although the refrigeration technology that has been installed is capable of bringing the temperature down as far as -15oC.

“As far as energy consumption is concerned, it’s not as bad as you would think,” says Haddon. “The biggest energy drain is the initial effort of bringing the temperature down. It’s like a refrigerator — a lot electricity is required to bring the temperature down, but once it has stabilised then the energy consumption is not that great,” he adds.

To reduce cooling bills and enhance the efficiency of the slope, there is an air lock connecting the slope to the mall, and an energy recycling system so that energy is not simply expelled and wasted.

The snow itself sits on a ribbed sheet, through which runs a series of refrigeration pipes to ensure that the snow does not melt. Below the sheet is 250 mm of insulation on top of a waterproofed concrete deck.

Once the commissioning is completed, the only work remaining will be for the specialist contractors working on the
refrigeration, electrical and lighting systems.

The warm side of the ski slope will be partitioned off from the cold side by large sections of glazing. These will allow visitors to the mall to see into the slope, while at the same time prevent dust and heat from entering the slope itself.

The mall’s contractor, Khan-saheb, completed most of the structural work some time ago, and work on the specialist finishes and services are now well advanced. This allowed much of the retail space to be handed over to the respective retailers. In fact, many tenants were able to start work on site some 60 days ahead of schedule.

The handover of the anchor stores was the first priority, and all were made available to their tenants in accordance with both the lease requirements and the construction programme.
With a total of 234 retail units, co-ordinating the retailers is a major challenge as each has their own contractors working for them.

“On a job of this size, the logistics of tenant management is always very challenging. One way we have got around that
is by having a very detailed logistics plan.

“This is backed up by in excess of 30 tenant co-ordinators,” explains Andrew J. Keegan, project director - Mall of the Emirates, Majid Al Futtaim Investments.

Although the mall may be ready for tenants to begin work on their stores, there is often the perception amongst them that it is not ready, which can cause unnecessary delays.
The developers had organised site visits and conferences to convince tenants that the mall is ready for them to start work, but nothing inspires action like the sight of other tenants busily fitting out their stores.

“A number of tenants have already started work, including Carrefour, which gives a great deal of confidence to the other tenants,” says Keegan.

With this added confidence boost, the developer now expects that the retailers will rapidly accelerate the pace of work on their stores.

“Tenants now realise that if they don’t fit out on time, they will miss out on those important initial sales when the mall will generate a lot of public interest,” says Haddon.||**||

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