EXCLUSIVE: Emaar stalls on world's tallest tower construction contract

07 August 2018
Two contracting groups submitted bids earlier this year

Local developer Emaar is not expected to award the estimated AED5.5bn ($1.5bn) superstructure contract for the world’s tallest building at Dubai Creek Harbour in the near future, as it focusses its efforts on other projects.

According to sources working closely with the Emaar development team, an award is unlikely in the near future because the company is concentrating its efforts on projects with stronger revenue streams and more immediate payments such as residential apartments and villas.

Commenting on the progress of the tower and the broader Dubai Creek Harbour development, an Emaar spokesperson said: “Dubai Creek Harbour is a mega-development spread over 6 square kilometres. We currently have 28 towers under construction with the first stage of the Creek Island Dubai in Dubai Creek Harbour to open later this year. The development is progressing as per schedule and contracts awarded for various components of the development will be announced as and when they are finalised.”

An award for the tall tower had been expected since earlier this year when prices were submitted by two contracting groups: Beijing-based China State Construction Engineering Corporation; and Belgium’s Belhasa Six Construct with US-based Tishman, which is owned by Aecom.

The superstructure comprises three key elements: a concrete core, a steel frame structure on top of the concrete core, and cables descending down from the tower to the ground.

In March this year, it emerged that Beijing-based China State Construction Engineering Corporation could be the frontrunner after submitting the lowest-priced offer. Since then updated offers have submitted.

An award was then expected in May as work on the tower’s foundations neared completion. In May, Emaar Development confirmed that 90 per cent of the pile cap work has been completed for the tower. The local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct is working on the raft foundations for the tower. France’s Soletanche Bachy completed the piling.

Spanish/Swiss architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava Valls is the main consultant on the project, with the local office of Aurecon, supported by UK’s RMJM and Dubai-based DEC, acting as local engineer and architect of record.

The project manager for the tower is US-based Parsons.

The tower is the centrepiece of the Dubai Creek Harbour development in the Ras al-Khor area on the banks of Dubai Creek. It is being developed by Emaar and Dubai Holding and also includes the recently renamed retail centre Dubai Square.

On 24 July, Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties launched Dubai Square as a retail destination that will incorporate online and in-mall shopping.

Dubai Square will be linked directly to the Dubai Creek Tower and will have over 750,000 square metres (8.07 million square feet) of gross floor retail space. It will also include the Middle East’s largest of its kind Chinatown.

For the construction, Emaar said earlier this year that it plans to retender the contract to build the mall in October this year. Contractors had earlier been invited late last year to submit bids in April. Emaar has chosen to retender the contract to allow for a significant redesign of the scheme that make the project easier to build.

The redesign process has meant that some foundations work on the project was stalled.

At least three groups had been invited to tender for the estimated AED15bn-AED18bn ($4bn-$5bn) construction deal. They were:

  • Alec (local) / Arabian Construction Company (ACC; Lebanon) / Dutco Balfour Beatty (local)
  • China State Construction Engineering Corporation (China)
  • Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC; Lebanon) / Shapoorji Pallonji (India) / Ssangyong (South Korea)

The consultants that were working on the design of the mall were Netherlands-based Arcadis and the UK’s Benoy. It is understood that Emaar has now approached other consultants to help complete the designs.

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