A reader shares an image and his experiences on a construction site in Port Saeed, Deira
Timeframe: Building up hospitality in the Port Saeed area of Deira
Mohamad Al-Dah, a reader of The National, provided us with this picture he took during his site placement with Engineering Contracting Company (ECC) at the Rihab Rotana Suites project in 1998. He had just finished his A-levels and was waiting to go to the University of Oxford to study Engineering Science.
The site is located in Port Saeed area of Deira, just behind the Deira City Centre, which had recently opened. Al-Dah tells us that the building was special for its time because although the concrete frame was traditionally cased in-situ concrete, the walls were precast in the factory and craned in, saving time on-site and ensuring a smoother finish.
The image was taken at a time when Dubai’s construction scene was rapidly changing, including labour rights. The government had banned transportation in lorries and only buses were allowed. As well, various safety measures were introduced including toe boards and edge protection, all of which are standard today in Dubai.
Al-Dah says he remembers having to cast throughout the night because of temperature regulations for summer concreting, and he says that sustainability was considered, by the use of aerated blockwork shown in white.
Twenty years later Al-Dah is now the Surveying Director at Dubai Land Department and a Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers. The building was sold to J5 Hotels recently.