Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Dubai: With more and more tall structures coming up in Dubai, the chances of a lightning strike is increasing, according to a technical expert.
Sonjib Banerjee, technical director of Duval Messien, a French multinational specialised in Global Protection services, told Gulf News that it seems it is now mandatory to have lightning protection systems which are pro-active, intelligent, remotely monitored and maintenance-free for tall structures.
He said it is a myth that Dubai and the Gulf area are not vulnerable to lightning strikes. He referred to a lightning strike near Burj Dubai on November 26 and said it confirms the need for adequate lightning protection measures for all tall structures.
"The thunderstorm days in the UAE are about 10 per year. This means that, one lightning strike may happen per square kilometre per year in worst conditions, with a minimum of one lightning strike per 7 square kilometre per year," he said.
"A 100-metre-high building of 30 floors is five times more at risk in comparison to 50-metre-high building of 15 floors. This risk factor goes up, as the height of the building goes up," he said.
Banerjee said the probability of a lightning strike is calculated based on utility, type of construction and location of the structure.
Banerjee also said proper earthing is the only "safety valve" in the event of any electrical fault or lightning strike. The key challenge of the industry is to disseminate the latest knowledge in earthing science and to incorporate the latest technology in the country's safety regulations, he said.
"A survey reveals that 70 per cent of the residents in the UAE are at risk of being involved in electrical fires. Use of proper electrical accessories like three-pin plugs and sockets and branded circuit breakers are some precautionary measures against electrical fire hazards," he said.
Banerjee said the issue of electrical safety impacts the community, including the environment. The intelligent community needs to be more aware of each safety component, the options available and how electrical faults are dissipated.
He said all facilities that use electricity are at risk. The intensity of damage depends on the load capacity of each equipment. Faults can strike anywhere and cause an accident.
"We need to have safety measures inbuilt in the system to avert it. Inflammable materials catch fire faster, but they are part of our life at home or work. The consequential damages in both cases are huge," he said.
Standards of electrical safety of structures are defined in various international codes. Banerjee said the structures in Dubai need to follow these codes without compromise. The implication of such compromise may directly affect the safety of lives and assets. It also involves understanding the effect of the structures on the environment.
"In the entire concept of electrical safety system, buildings in Dubai like all parts of the world, must adhere to proven standards. Currently we believe there may be a need to re-evaluate some areas of concern, based on latest available technology and proven science," he said.
Posted by Tom Wickline at 9:04 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
BY now you’ll be wondering how the fountain in Dubai’s Burj Dubai Lake got its name? Wonder no more at the wonder:
WHEN we commissioned this fountain for Burj Dubai Lake, we knew it would be one of the worlds finest water features, integrating water, music and light into a grand spectacle. Powerful water nozzles shoot sprays to the height of a fifty-storey building, while over 6,600 lights and 50 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 different water expressions.
By holding a competition to choose a suitable name for this fountain, we wanted to engage the residents of Dubai in the creation of a new landmark for the city, and to demonstrate the spirit of solidarity among UAE residents. The response to the competition has been overwhelming, with more than 4,000 participants from over 100 nationalities taking part. Entries were received from across the globe, reflecting Dubai’s growing global significance.
“What we were looking for was a name for the fountain that is simple, has instant brand recall, and above all celebrates the global standing of Dubai as a multicultural destination, and home to over 180 nationalities. On September 15th, a distinguished panel met and selected the winning name, which echoes the rising global prominence of Dubai, and will be a fitting tribute to the city. The name they have chosen is ‘Dubai Fountain’”…
Posted by Tom Wickline at 9:03 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
By Muin Abdul Majid
DUBAI, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- He has been involved in Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai project since Day 1 but Malaysian Nor Shaharom Mansor never fails to be awestruck by the sight of the architectural marvel making its way upward towards the heavens.
But Nor Shaharom, assistant director at Emaar for the Burj Dubai tower project, is not about to let the cat out of the bag when it comes to the best-kept secret in town -- the final height of the iconic building that can be seen from kilometres away.
And he will tell you that any attempt to glean that precious bit of information from other parties involved with the project may also prove futile.
"Every consultant and contractor working on this project has been asked to sign a secrecy-undertaking to make sure the dissemination of information is controlled," Melaka-born Nor Shaharom told Bernama at his temporary office nestled at the foot of the under-construction skyscraper.
"The actual height is still a secret. It'll be made public maybe a day before the opening," he laughed, venturing an answer after constant prodding about how tall the building would be.
WORLD'S TALLEST STRUCTURE
Already billed as the world's tallest man-made structure, Dubai-based developer Emaar has said that Burj Dubai will be completed in September 2009.
It was originally scheduled for completion by the end of this year but the target date has been shifted due to revisions in the tower's height and design enhancements.
For the architecture graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the United States, being involved in an endeavour of such magnitude represents both a great challenge and privilege.
"The way I see it, this is probably the peak of my career. The tower is the tallest structure ever built by mankind; no one has ever done this before. It's the pinnacle of human achievement one may say," Nor Shaharom said.
"You're basically involved from the conception of the project right up to its completion," was how Nor Shaharom, who was originally seconded to Emaar from a Kuala Lumpur-based project management company, summed up his job.
The Burj Dubai is to be the centrepiece of a 200ha city-within-a-city development called Downtown Burj Dubai.
The US$20 billion project as a whole includes 30,000 homes, hotels including the world's first Armani Hotel being developed in association with haute couture major Giorgio Armani S.p.A., residential towers, luxury office suites, parkland, a man-made lake and what Emaar promises to be a spectacular water feature called the "Dubai Fountain".
The Burj Dubai will also have an observation deck on level 124 that will be open to the public, a two-level parking and a five-storey podium.
Also in the vicinity is the recently-opened The Dubai Mall, billed as one of the world's largest shopping and entertainment destinations.
Emaar is partnering with South Korean construction major Samsung Corporation and New York-based project manager Turner Construction in constructing Burj Dubai.
THE FINAL HEIGHT
It was reported in April this year that Burj Dubai had actually surpassed the height of the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota, US, to become the world's tallest man-made structure.
Burj Dubai's height was then 629m while the KVLY-TV mast, which held the record for the world's tallest supported structure since 1963, has a height of 628.8m.
Rumour has it that the final height of Burj Dubai will be between 700m and 1,000m. It has been reported that another Dubai-based developer, Nakheel, is planning to build a one-kilometre-high tower to trump Emaar's Burj Dubai.
So, how is the view from up there.
"It's magnificent," gushed Nor Shaharom. And it can be cold when you are up in the clouds.
"For every 100m you go up, the temperature drops 0.7 degrees Celsius. It's pretty cold especially during the winter months. So each time I go up there I've to wear thick clothing ," he said.
MALAYSIA CAN DO IT
For Nor Shaharom, the challenge is more down to earth.
"When I took up the challenge to come here, I felt this responsibility as a Malaysian to show that you can go to the international level and compete with people from other places," he said.
Reflecting on this chapter of his career, he admitted that it had not been easy.
"It took a bit of time to get into the flow of things and also I had to go the extra mile to earn respect from colleagues who are all from overseas," he said.
And having a big dose of discipline and dedication will not hurt either, said Nor Shaharom.
With some 45 consultants and 8,000 skilled workers toiling round-the-clock to complete the super tall building which is rising at the rate of one floor every three days, Nor Shaharom has to be on his toes all the time.
Queried how he would feel once Burj Dubai is completed, he smiled and declared: "I would say `Malaysia Boleh'" (Malaysia Can Do It).
Posted by Tom Wickline at 8:54 PM
Yes, the world is in financial turmoil. Yes, almost every country has a sliding stock and property market, interest rate and confidence level. And yes, jobs are being lost.
But it seems the world around us would rather hammer this all home every waking moment, than allow us to drift away in blissful ignorance. Every TV channel, newspaper, and conversation is bursting with 2008's most-abused phrase – credit crunch. It's like a toothache that won't relent. But there is always room for positive stories – and going by last week's most-popular online features, readers agree.
Amid all the mayhem, there will always be a silver lining. While we're far from thrilled that major proposed developments around the world have slowed, we were proud that the consequence is Burj Dubai will likely stand uncontested as the world's tallest building for at least a decade, as we reported.
The Emaar skyscraper truly is the masterpiece of Dubai's architectural prowess and gives everyone who lives here a reason to stand proud. That's precisely why it was this week's most read online story.
The world may shudder at the emirate's staggering pace of development and may throw taunts of manufactured glory and status. But isn't that convenient hypocrisy? The London Eye observation wheel in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and every other structure that countries hold close to their heart are all products of creative, structural genius inspiring man-made wonders.
So we'll embrace Burj Dubai as ours. We'll make multiple visits there with our friends and families and tag ourselves in Facebook photos that reveal our pride of being here.
Elsewhere in last week's online reads, reporter Ryan Harrison's look into what Christmas has in store for us this year was the next most clicked-on feature. With many people running low on the dough, it's always nice to know what and where the best offers are.
It's the season of super-saver deals, where low end trumps high end, and value additions are bid farewell. However, few would want to share the retail industry's predicament. With shopping volume down, they want to cut advertising to reduce costs and yet still try to make every offer visible. It's like ensuring Britney Spears tops the charts without buying radio and video airtime and massive PR. It doesn't work.
A surprising third was John McAuley's detailed look at Damac's Lake Terrace in Jumeirah Lake Towers. It seems there are quite a few shrewd investors who still have enough stashed away to grab fantastic square footage off the property market. This fact was cemented when we learnt the fourth most read piece was Make Your Money Goa Further.
Escaping gloom is a fantastic tourism opportunity, but people keen to invest in places that offer sun and sand and little less, is quite intriguing. So, while funds are low, could Goa replace the beach destinations of Europe and the West?
From beaches to flowers, not only did the Homes pull-out deliver beautiful distractions, it also delivered three of this week's top five stories. Kate Copsey's article offered valuable insight on just that - how to grow roses in your own desert garden.
Posted by Tom Wickline at 4:00 AM