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29 February 2024

A challenging task: Depa

A challenging task: Depa (XAVIER WILSON)

By Sona Nambiar

In 2006, Depa started bidding for the interior fit-outs for Burj Dubai and was awarded the project in August 2006. "We have been working since that day and are ready for handover," Nadim Akhrass, Managing Director, Operations, Depa, told Emirates Business. He added challenges were normal for Depa and in highrise buildings.

What was the scope of work for Depa in this project?

We were awarded the Dh600 million interior fit-out of all the residential apartments from level 19 to level 107. That included the amenity floors on 43 and 44 and level 76 and 77. We received core and shell from the main contractor and decorated it to a level where the apartment owner can come in and put in his loose furniture and live. We also did some trades in certain floors and have also been involved from basement two to seven. 

How did you handle the logistics of your staff and co-ordinate with other members of the team on the site?

At the peak, the site had 12,000 people for 17 to 18 months on site and around 170 to 180 members managing the construction. In the interior fit-out industry, it is a massive labour force to construct a project.

Additionally, logistically, it was a very challenging task to co-ordinate with the other contractors. We had to apply our finishes in the core and shell in full co-ordination with all systems and the electromechanical sub-contractors. That usually is split into two phases. First, we developed the engineering drawings and had to sit with them on a continuos basis to locate lights, sprinklers and so on.

During the work implementation, we have had to work with them in close co-ordination so that they finished first and then we had to do our part in the interiors. Then they would come back to do what we call the second fix of electromechanical items such as sockets, switches and so on. We worked very hard with all contractors and then Emaar came in and did the final inspection.

Was it a turnkey project?

AIn terms of construction, yes. We got the core and shell and got the design drawings, which we developed into shop drawings and these were used by our supervisory staff on site. In that project, we relied on almost all our subsidiaries to supply and install all the items. The timber and joinery works were done by Design Studio from Singapore (in which Depa has a significant stake) and the Depa Industrial Group. Likewise, all gypsum work was carried out by Depa Al Baraka, which is fully owned by Depa. We used Carrara for the stone works.

Can you give some details of the materials involved in this project?

We had 8,000 tonnes of stone supplied and 8,000 pieces of door shutters and more than 80,000 sq m of timber veneered panels in all the apartments and corridor areas. We had two types of veneer – wenge inside the apartment and intricate Brazilian rosewood veneer in the corridors. This reflects the interior designer's aim to achieve a local theme in design with a modern look. When you get out of the lift and into the corridors, you feel that you are in a wavy and sandy area where you have rosewood, and then when you get into the apartment, you have the very modern design. The corridor flooring is a mix of stone and carpet. The apartment flooring is mainly parquet from Germany – around 100,000 sq m of parquet flooring in all apartments. The standards implemented within Burj Dubai are ASTM standards with regard to fire rating, and the consultants were very strict about not deviating from the specs.


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