Big Builds: ICD Brookfield Place, Dubai

May 10, 2018 in Infrastructure

Hundreds of new real estate projects have been registered in Dubai over recent years. The emirate has become home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and the world’s largest shopping mall. Now, it will house the world’s largest tower crane, as construction on the ICD Brookfield tower takes place.

Foster + Partners are designing the 54-storey, 282-metre-high ICD Brookfield Place.

The tower complex will contain more than 900,000 square feet of Grade A office space. In addition, the top three floors will become Sky View suites with beautiful internal gardens.

Next to the tower, there will be a 150,000sq ft five-storey retail centre and a 18,000 sq ft public area, featuring restaurants and lounges for regular arts and cultural events. The complex will be complemented by a car park which will hold up to 2,700 cars.

The chief executive of ICD, Mohammed Al Shaibani, said the project “will be a world-class development that enriches its surrounding area and significantly adds to the Dubai skyline”. Sleek and angular, the sharp edges of the tower will fit beautifully inside Dubai’s Business Centre.

The project has been arranged under a joint venture between Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) and Brookfield Property Partners. The arrangement broke ground thanks to a US$1 billion development fund from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) district. Ric Clark, the Brookfield Property Partners’ chairman, said that the $1bn fund was initially meant to go in to distressed schemes. However, ICD Brookfield Place had greater potential for investors and was more secure, so the funding was relocated. Mr Clark expects a “conventional construction finance on this project somewhere in the 65 percent or more loan-to-cost ratio.”

With funding in the pipeline, building can commence. Construction experts have selected a specialised heavy duty crane to lift the main building materials for the tower.

The Favelle Favco M2480D Luffing Jib Tower Crane was shipped from Australia specifically for this build. It has been used to establish four A-frame steel transfer structures that sit between the building’s ground and fifth levels, on all sides of the building. The A-shaped component reaches a height of 35m. The entire 54-storey tower lands on the A-frame, transferring out to eight mega-columns, down to a 4m-thick raft below.

The sheer size of the Tower Crane indicates the magnitude of the build, alongside the ambition of project developers. Impressively, the crane has a 330 ton (t) maximum lifting capacity and is the world’s heaviest in this regard. It has been configured to 110t capacity on a single line, with a 55m boom radius and 76m free-stand height. The crane can accomplish complex building tasks more efficiently than smaller cranes can, according to Andrew Lipshut, the Technical Manager at Multiplex Middle East. Mr Lipshut told Construction Week: “Originally, we were going to split the node in [separate] pieces, bring these [in] with a small crane, and weld them together, but with the Favco M2480D, we have been able to work [using] single pieces, which is very beneficial.”

The sentiment of Mr Lipshut’s interview has been matched by Louis Linde, the Executive Director for projects at Multiplex Middle East. Mr Linde said that the crane will deliver advantages of not only time, safety, and cost, but commercial management as well. Speaking to Construction Weekly, he said: “[The crane] has de-risked the project a lot. For example, implementing an element [such as the nodes] piece-by-piece would involve a lot of temporary works. The manufacturing of these nodes could have taken weeks or months […] if we had to do that on site, so the time benefit is [significant].”

Of course, accommodating equipment of this size has been challenging at times.

The contracting team spent two weeks assembling the crane. Some road diversions and closures were implemented during this time in order to get the equipment on site safely.

Mr Lipshut spoke on this. He said: “a crane of this size, [combined] with the reactions of the base, needed a lot of engineering work to make sure that it was capable of withstanding the forces, [and] it entailed a lot of technical work to get it where it is.”

However, project developers, engineers and construction workers alike “knew this crane was coming a long time ago, so… they’ve made sure [they’d] be ready for it”. Undoubtedly, their preparation will pay off.

The Luffing Jib is an inspiring piece of kit; according to the project team, using it will make a long-term impact in the UAE’s contracting community. Mr Linde said that while the crane was specially selected for this project, there have been rising rates of Luffing Jib use across the Middle East. He also said that “construction sites with a limited area are best worked on with a luffing jib crane.” This is because “luffing jibs definitely give a lot more flexibility on congested sites”. The emirate’s construction sector has been made aware of this.

The crane was supplied by Marr Contracting, a specialist Australian heavy lifting contractor, and it is the first Luffing Jib Crane of its size to be used in the UAE.

With such remarkable apparatus on board, the ICD tower construction is set to finish in late 2018. Tenants will be able to move in from early 2019. Although tenancy deals have not yet been agreed, there have been talks for letting “several hundreds of thousands” of square feet out. Mr Clark said:

“We haven’t signed anybody up yet. We’re confident that we will in relatively short order, but one of the things that we’ve found that is important in this region is that you actually get going on a project. I think tenants are naturally sceptical. They’ve heard too many organisations in the past try to convince them to sign a lease on a project that never gets built.”

JLL and CBRE have been appointed as joint letting agents for ICD Brookfield Place.

Multiplex and Ssangyong (MSS) are working in a joint venture (JV) as the project’s main contractors.

Both the project itself and the world’s largest crane has made substantial progress due to their development teams. In addition to the core ICD team – the investment arm of the Government of Dubai – BPY, MSS, BSBG, and Aecom, partners such as Robert Bird Group, Priedemann, Coffey, and AESG have assisted with structural engineering, façade consultancy, geotech engineering, and the LEED sustainability award.

Speirs + Major is the specialist lighting provider for the build, while The Vertical Transport Studio is providing vertical transport services for the project. Acoustic Logic has been appointed the development’s acoustic consultant, and Design Confidence has been contracted to provide fire and life safety services.

With all contractors working at full speed, we can expect significant progress on the ICD Brookfield complex within the next 12 months. The project is set to meet its build deadline. Moreover, the use of the Favco M2480D, on one of Dubai’s landmark construction sites no less, might encourage other contractors in the Gulf to emulate the ICDBP team’s efforts. If other local real estate projects use equipment like the Luffing Jib, the regional contracting sector will earn a sound reputation as progressive and modern. This will inspire developers to start other fantastic projects, safe in the knowledge that Dubai can access the top of the range construction equipment at any point.