Glass & Metal

A mobile wind machine in operation  at The Avenues project.

A mobile wind machine in operation at The Avenues project.

UFDS onsite testing at Avenues a ‘first’

October 2016

United Façade Design and Services (UFDS) has undertaken the Middle East’s first laboratory AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) weather testing onsite at The Avenues, a major mall being built as part of the King Faisal Corniche Development at Bahrain Bay.

Local fabricator Aluminium Services has been tasked with providing the external façade systems for the project. It is employing Technal Middle East’s façade glazing system with a bespoke steel supporting system.

Subsequently, Aluminium Services appointed Bahrain-based UFDS to fully test the performance of the installed systems.

“This kind of testing is usually undertaken within the laboratory/testing facility. However, the benefits of bringing the test laboratory to the site were identified by the construction team; and for the first time in the Middle East, the full laboratory testing regime was undertaken onsite by UFDS,” UFDS director Peter Bustin tells Gulf Construction.

He says the undertaking on such a large scale was indeed a monumental challenge for the UFDS team.

“Creating a laboratory testing chamber onsite and providing the specially designed mobile testing equipment to undertake and provide the test procedures in strict accordance with performance specification set by the consultant MSCEB (Mohamed Salahuddin Consulting Engineering Bureau) under the AAMA industry testing standard was a feat well accomplished,” he points out.

The external test chamber on site.

The external test chamber on site.

The 12-m-high and 7-m-wide chamber was designed and manufactured by UFDS with Nass Contracting coordinating the installation of the large steel members and sheeting for the chamber before the UFDS team applied the seals and movement joints to sustain the high pressures and forces that would be applied during the AAMA test sequences.

The mobile testing equipment provided by UFDS is unique and gives the client, lead consultant engineers the opportunity to fully gauge the designed performance of the installed façade system and structure in the “as built” situation, he adds.

UFDS has expanded its testing facility based in Bahrain by adding an outdoor testing chamber, to accommodate test samples up to 6 m high and 5 m wide. The additional chamber allows UFDS to undertake laboratory dynamic testing of system samples at the Bahrain-based facility.

Bustin says expansion of the facility is on track, providing Bahrain consultants, construction companies and ministry departments with a range of testing services to enhance and meet the high quality in construction required to comply with Bahrain’s environmental programme.

Construction works at The Avenues Bahrain mall, which is set to open next February, is fast progressing. The BD45-million ($119 million) mall will have a 1.5 km seafront and 75,000 sq m of greenery, landscaping and public parks. The total site area of the entire development is 270,000 sq m, of which the single-level mall will cover 36,000 sq m. More than 60 per cent of the open space will be green areas. The parking lot will have space for 1,400 cars. In addition, there will spacious playgrounds, walking/jogging tracks, a gym, restaurants, coffee shops and cinemas.

The foundation stone of the project was laid in September 2014 by Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and is supervised by King Faisal Corniche Development Company.

Other stakeholders on the King Faisal Corniche Development include development manager/client representative Bareeq Al Retaj, project manager Aecom, lead consultant MSCEB (Juffair Office), cost management HAJ, design architect Gensler, and Nass Contracting for construction.

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