Laying Symphony’s foundation

Sailesh Jatania, CEO, Gemini Property Developers, speaks to PMV Middle East about the progress of piling, shoring, dewatering and foundation activities at the construction site of Symphony-Business Bay.

Piling, Foundation, Shoring, Dewatering, Symphony, National Piling, Enabling works


At the heart of Dubai’s business district, piling and shoring work is underway to build a 29-storey tower that will have built-up area of 65,775m2 with 455 residential apartments, two basements, three podium levels for parking and seven retail outlets on the ground floor.

The Symphony-Business Bay tower being constructed by Dubai-based real estate developer Gemini Property Developers is the company’s second residential project in the city after Splendor at MBR City. Apartment units in the Symphony-Business Bay will comprise studios, one, two and three-bedroom units with areas ranging from 39.9m2 to 269.4m2. Amenities for residents will include smart home technology, gym, yoga lawn, swimming pool, rooftop barbeque, jogging track, kid’s play area, essential green open spaces and concierge services.

Everything fell into place for the Symphony-Business Bay project during the second half of 2017. The tower was conceptualised in June and design was completed in December. After securing the shoring and piling permit in September, an enabling works contract worth $2.4-million (AED9million) was awarded to specialist geotechnical and foundation engineering company National Piling in October. The 120-day contract includes foundation, dewatering, piling and shoring activities, all of which are targeted for completion by May 2018.

Initially, Gemini Property Developers faced a delay in starting construction due to accessibility issues that required the RTA’s evaluation and approval. The entry and exit to the site is restricted to one location from the main road which intersects with a roadside cycling track. Following the project’s ground-breaking ceremony in December 2017, the developer handed over the foundation work responsibility to National Piling.

“We chose National Piling due to our previous experience working with them. Also, they submitted the most attractive tender price and assured us that the work would be completed on time, which was a crucial requirement for us,” says Sailesh Jatania.

Cheriyan P. Alex, CEO, National Piling, adds: “Our team was on ground immediately following the ground-breaking ceremony in December in order to ensure that the project is delivered within the construction time frame.”

Sailesh Jatania, CEO, Gemini Property Developers.

Elaborating about the project scope, deliverables and timelines, Alex explains: “The shoring system comprises a 700-mm diameter secant pile wall with one level of tie back anchors for an average excavation level of 8.55m below existing ground level. The duration for shoring works is 50 days. The average excavation quantity is approximately 42,000m3 up to 8.55m below existing ground level.  The existing water table is at -6.0m below ground level. The dewatering works will start from 0.00m DMD (-4.0m below ground level) to keep the water table 1.0m below the final formation level. We will start our foundation piling activity from -4.0m below ground level to avoid dewatering during piling installation. The total number of piles is 185 with diameters of 900mm (69 nos.), 120mm (82 nos.) and 1500mm diameter (34 nos.). The duration for piling and testing will be 66 days.”

As of mid-April 2018, National Piling has completed the secant pile wall works for three sides and installed the tie back anchor.
Currently, shoring has been completed on three sides, and excavation has started, reaching depths of 9–14m. We encountered loose soil on the fourth side, which requires a pile redesign and separate approval. Subsequently, foundation piles designed by National Piling will be laid to support the building. We expect to complete the excavation work by the end of April,” says Jatania.

According to Alex, the secant pile wall works for the fourth side and the excavation to the piling platform will commence soon.“The installation of foundation piles will start after excavation to -4.0 m below ground level. We will do the static and dynamic tests on the working piles from the same level. The final excavation and cutting of pile heads will start after commencement of dewatering works. After the excavation to final formation level and pile head cutting, the pile integrity test and sonic test will be carried out on the piles,” he says. 

National Piling has used four drilling units and three 55-ton crawler cranes for the secant pile wall installation. Alex indicates that the same number of rigs and cranes shall be used for the installation of the foundation piles.

As of mid-April 2018, National Piling has completed the secant pile wall works for three sides and installed the tie back anchor.

As the enabling works nears completion, Gemini Property Developers has yet to appoint the main contractor for the project. “We’ve issued a tender and we’ll announce the main contractor by end of April. The construction will be awarded in a single phase, and we estimate that 24–30 months will be required for completion,” says Jatania.

Sudhakar R. Rao, managing director of Gemini Property Developers, says: “The awarding of the piling and shoring contract happened within weeks after getting the necessary permissions from relevant government authorities. We have always wanted to start construction work well before the commercial launch of the project. This is due to our business policy to first build and then sell. The construction of the Symphony-Business Bay reinforces our faith in Dubai market. It also begins at a time when we are getting ready to deliver our first project, the Splendor at MBR City, which has been well-received by the investors and end-users,” says Rao.

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