08 February, 2007

OMG! Another Construction Mishap

What used to be part of the promenade that made for a pleasant stroll along the Dubai Marina was breached when the excavation wall at the site of the Infinity tower gave way--noon yesterday. (Photo from Skyscrapercity.com forum.)

No one was injured but the Gulf News account suggests the 100 workers on site had to scramble to safety. The large excavation pit has now become a virtual extension of the Marina. Such accidents are not uncommon, reports one forum contributer. Even so, they surely result from either poor designs or poor workmanship.

Oddly, this story is almost buried in the Gulf News, especially in the online version.


nzm said...

I would be surprised if this hadn't happened before around the marina, given the close proximity of the holes that they excavate in relation to the canal.

nzm said...

B.D. At the moment, it's actually on the frontpage of Gulf News online, at the very top under the weather and temperatures listing.

anonymous lurker said...

i'm always amazed that no one says a word about a certain lack of empathy from on high when these accidents happen.

BuJ said...

ok.. let's give you the technical opinion on this from practising engineer.

where there is construction there is risk. this is a concept that is well-known. people do get killed and injured when buildings go up (and down). what we have to do to move on is to learn from these and try to avoid them.

the idea is to be open and transparent.

now with dubai seeing a gigaboom in construction it's no wonder that these accidents happen with higher frequency.. linear or not they are increasing all right but that is totally normal.

what pisses me off is the sensationalism that grips people who have probably never been to a construction site when any accident like this happens. why don't you carry yourself to the nearest site, and since this is dubai i'm sure you won't walk far, and ask them for a tour.. as for the site engineer or someone to take you around.

ask them to explain the risks in buildings.. and especially temporary works.

i understand if the wall in your office (if you work in an office) was to fall one day and you had to scramble to safety then you'd be pissed off.. but construction is no office.. and hence a measured response has to be adopted :)

B.D. said...

what we have to do to move on is to learn from these and try to avoid them

I wonder, though, how hard those involved are trying, or whether in fact they have the know how.

Without knowing anything about the Infinity project specifically, or about engineering and construction matters more generally, what I do know is that you have in the UAE an incredible demand for those who are skilled to work on all these projects. This demand basically exceeds the ability of both the local and regional markets to satisfy it and it goes up against fierce competition with the other hot building markets of the world internationally.

The skinny in all this is that Dubai is probably getting subpar workmanship--at all levels--on very much above par projects and designs. This is not the way to go.

What then is the solution? No one wants to slow down or can all their grandiose schemes. The bottom line, I think, is that builders have to be prepared to spend more and accept lower profit margins. They have to be prepared to out bid Qatar, Bahrain, China, etc. for the best people to get the job done. I don't think they are doing this. In short, I think they are trying to build fanciful structures on the cheap, and thus increasing the risk of such accidents.

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