Access ace aims for new heights

The division’s access solution in use on the AMA Tower.

Al Futtaim Engineering & Technologies’ Scaffolding and Access Solutions division recently rose to the challenge of providing access scaffolds for the construction of the steel roof structure and spire of the super-tall AMA Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, UAE.

The 65-storey tower rises to a height of 333 m and is being built by the main contractor CRC UAE.

“Al Futtaim Engineering & Technologies was chosen to provide a fully boarded, designed, 62-m-high access scaffold, from a starting height of 231 m, for the construction of the steel roof structure and spire of the tower,” Murali S, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies, tells Gulf Construction.

Murali ... safety focus.

Murali ... safety focus.

He says the company tackled a number of challenges on the project including working at such heights during the UAE’s summer time heat and humidity, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and especially during Ramadan.  Another challenge was working in the congested area in proximity to the traffic and public below.

Al Futtaim Engineering, however, successfully completed the project safely, on time and on budget in October last year.

Established in the UAE in 1974, Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies has been associated with the execution of some of the most prestigious and iconic buildings throughout the Middle East.

Among its ongoing projects, the Scaffolding and Access Solutions division is currently providing access solutions for the Burj Royale, Downtown Dubai being built by Al-Futtaim Construction and the CCPP Project at Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) by SepcoIII/Siemens.

The division is a specialist access solution service provider operating throughout the UAE, undertaking projects on a contract, design and engineering, or hire-and-sale basis throughout the construction, energy, industrial, offshore and marine, and events and exhibitions sectors.

It has established itself as the premium access solution provider in the region by offering traditional scaffolding, system scaffolding, falsework, engineering design, and cradle-and-winch systems. The division’s main business is contract scaffolding providing design, engineering, project management including safety management, supply of trained supervision and scaffolders/inspectors, materials for installation, dismantle and modifications.

The Scaffolding and Access Solutions division of Al Futtaim Engineering has carried out a number of projects in the UAE.

The Scaffolding and Access Solutions division of Al Futtaim Engineering has carried out a number of projects in the UAE.

Having acquired the prestigious ISO 9001, 14001, and 45001 certifications, the Scaffolding and Access Solutions division claims to the market leader in QHSE (quality, health, safety and environment) throughout the Middle East, and all works are carried out in accordance with NASC SG20:13 guidelines and BS EN12811-1 European regulations, Murali says.

“The delivery of our health and safety policy is highly monitored by our internal safety department and with our impeccable safety record, we are constantly setting new standards for safety within the UAE access sector,” he adds.

The company has been prioritising safety in its operations and its efforts were rewarded in November when the Scaffolding and Access Solutions division received an internal QHSE award for reaching the safety milestone of two years without a lost-time incident (LTI).

“At the same time, we also received a government award and certificate of appreciation for our efforts and commitment towards safe working practice, presented to us by Abdulla Lashkari Mohammad, General Secretary of Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai,” Murali says, adding, “It was a great honour to be recognised for this achievement which highlights the combined efforts of all involved as well as demonstrating the commitment towards safe working practices that exist within the business.”

For its contract scaffolding business, the division utilises traditional tube and fittings scaffolding, along with the industry stalwart Cuplok and Kwikstage systems.

 “For our cradle-and-winch business, we utilise Skyclimber products within our hire and installation fleet.  Sky Climber is an industry leader in designing, manufacturing and distributing suspended access equipment used in industrial/commercial construction and maintenance applications,” he says. “Utilising high-quality products from Skyclimber ensures the reliability and safety of the systems themselves, giving comfort and reassurance to both the installation teams and the end-users alike. These products are also faster to assemble/disassemble, longer lasting, and capable of carrying greater loads than some of its cheaper priced competitors.”

According to Murali, the key advantages of its traditional scaffolds and system scaffolds is the familiarity and flexibility they offer.

He elaborates: “Familiarity with the system ensures that scaffolds are erected and dismantled properly and safely time and again, reassuring that productivity remains high, whilst using the traditional scaffolding or system scaffolds, or often a mix of both, ensures total flexibility remains within the systems themselves providing scaffolds that are both fully suitable for the intended means, whilst at the same time meeting full safety criteria and build quality.”

Murali indicates that the company is also in discussions with a major global scaffolding manufacturer on how it can integrate their industry-leading products within its own service offering, to allow the division to incorporate more specialist access products, meeting the growing market demand for innovative and value-engineered access solutions.

“Acquiring the means to offer a newer and more contemporary system/modular scaffold will allow us to provide more innovative access solutions through a combination of an advanced product offering supported by a value engineering approach,” he states.

Al Futtaim Engineering is currently developing an in-house cloud-based app that will eventually become a complete site management tool for project managers and supervisors, allowing simplified management of key activities such as labour allocation and productivity reporting, on-hire/off-hire and scaffold inspection logs, real-time design load checks, amongst others. The division hopes to have this up and running on project sites in Q1 2021.

“We are also looking to develop and roll out our in-house scaffolder training centre of excellence, which will ensure that our operatives receive training to the highest international standards, providing assurance that work is carried out both safely and efficiently, allowing us to pass that saving onto customers, and maintaining the high levels of safety and professionalism that Al Futtaim is known for within the UAE,” he concludes.