EXCLUSIVE: The construction behind DAMAC's Aykon City Tower B

Originally published on Dec 07, 2020 | Construction Week

Dubai Financial Market-listed DAMAC Properties recently completed the structure of Tower B within its four-tower Aykon City megaproject, which the developer told Construction Week was over 60% complete, as it revealed exclusive details about the project’s construction, HSE programme, and how various technologies helped speed up work on the site.

Located along Sheikh Zayed Road in Business Bay, construction work on Tower B caught momentum following the ease of lockdown and movement restrictions, earlier this year.

“During lockdown, movement between emirates was restricted, so that affected us somewhat. However, now that lockdown has been lifted it has been a lot easier to manage. Smart practices in place have helped shield our workers from mass outbreaks on our sites,” Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of DAMAC, told Construction Week.

The structure of Tower B, a 246m-high 53-storey building with 1,218 units, is 100% complete. While brick work has reached 83%, with plaster works being 64% complete. The developer revealed that mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) work is 60% done. Additionally, external works and elevator works are 50% and 40% complete, respectively.

McLoughlin said that overall Tower B is over 60% complete, while construction work on Tower C has progressed by more than 50%.

The main contractor of DAMAC’s Aykon City is China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME), with Lacasa being the main consultant and the architect of record.

The MEP contractor for Tower B is M/s Nascon and M/s Conversion for Tower c. Meanwhile, M/s Marbeya is the fit-out contractor for Tower B and M/s UDC for Tower C.

Site safety and worker welfare

With 3,200 workers being deployed on-site for the Aykon City project, DAMAC has been leaving no stone unturned to make sure health and safety measures are being implemented in line with COVID-19 regulations concerning social distancing.

To-date the developer has recorded 13 million safe man-hours without Lost Time Injury (LTI) at the Aykon City project, as the developer has been “committed to safe working practices”.

McLoughlin explained: “Social distancing is enforced; hand sanitiser is dispersed all around the site, and there are more rest areas to ensure that there is less mingling taking place during rest breaks. Daily temperature checks are being done on site. Anyone displaying symptoms is immediately isolated and quarantined, and PCR tests are conducted on the worker as well as up to 300 other workers who have been in contact with the employee to ensure that the virus does not spread.”

“Buses are at 30% occupancy to make sure there is social distancing, and as a result of all of these measures, we have effectively managed to curb the spread of COVID-19 at our construction sites.”

He added: “We also spread awareness on the construction site through audio/visual trainings, signage, and posters on site, which remind workers about the importance of cleanliness and social distancing. We frequently carry out inspections of workers’ accommodations to make sure all health and safety protocols are being respected and adhered to.”

In order to minimise the risk of accidents on the site, metal mesh has been placed over all the buildings’ shafts and the slab penetrations that is fixed before the concrete to avoid any fall related accidents on the site.

Conducting risk assessment before the start of all activities in another key HSE protocol being followed on the site.

Technology in place

Construction Week learned from DAMAC on how technology has contributed to the megaproject, and how has it helped with construction during the time of the pandemic.

As multiple tower cranes are currently operating at the Aykon City project site, DAMAC has adopted the tower crane anti-collision system to avoid collision between the tower cranes and the structures.

Other tech interventions include access control face recognition system; voice broadcast system; video image education system; training for workers based on virtual reality (VR); use of Quick Response codes (QR code).
Virtual reality pods were added at the site to showcase real-life hazardous situations and raise safety awareness among workers.

According to McLoughlin, the developer is also using Safety Quota System (SQS) app for hazard identification and information at the construction site.

Another tech-friendly move, ion light of COVID-19, has been the shift from face-to-face meetings to virtual ones, where both managers and stakeholders discuss important business matters through video calls.