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The Dream Tower, a 31-storey steel-framed residential building, is changing the face of Jeddah's skyline against a backdrop of phenomenal growth in Saudi Arabia's construction industry.

The exclusive high-rise block will accommodate 104 apartments overlooking the Red Sea, as well as two penthouses and a helipad, and is generating a great deal of interest from a number of prominent investors.

Owned by Sheikh Ahmed Saleh Mousa Kaki and designed by structural design engineer SKM Anthony Hunts Associates, the Dream Tower is in a prime location with views of the Red Sea. It is located in Jeddah - a gateway to two of the holiest Muslim sites, Mecca and Medina, and an important port.

Currently under construction, it is due for completion in mid-2006.

Like any large-scale project, the Dream Tower, required quality-assured products to be delivered on time and as per specification. Steel was chosen because of its aesthetic qualities and its ability to offer an efficient and economic building solution.

Corus International Projects was awarded the contract to supply and deliver steel framing and decking to the Dream Tower thanks to its product strengths combined with technical and commercial expertise, and was tasked with ensuring Corus products for the tower were delivered on time, to specification and in budget.

Corus International Projects is part of market-leading metal producer Corus and specialises in putting together steel product and service packages for major contractors, engineers and endusers throughout the world.

From the outset of the project, Corus' involvement went beyond the role of a supplier. As a specialist in high-rise steel construction, the company was able to provide a comprehensive service, including technical and commercial advice, as well as manufacture and supply of a selection of steel products.

Having been awarded the contract in June 2004, the Corus team in Jeddah worked closely with the client, architect, engineer and contractors to understand the architectural requirements and offer appropriate solutions.

With its far-reaching network of international offices, the company is well placed to co-ordinate a project of this scale.

By bringing local sales offices into the equation, it is able to build relationships with its clients, strengthened by linguistic, cultural and geographical links. This is particularly beneficial to a project of this scale when work is announced several years before building starts.

Corus' Jeddah operation played a central part in co-ordinating a rolling delivery programme to ensure products were supplied only when required, rather than left unused on site.

Commenting on why the Dream Tower has proved to be such a success, Corus' commercial manager for major international projects, Ben Cunliffe, said: 'Close working relationships have been key to this project. The development demonstrates the benefits gained from a supply chain which is managed effectively, so everyone works together to offer a seamless and efficient service.' To overcome the challenges presented by a major development requiring a variety of construction materials, Corus International Projects established a complex supply chain, involving operations from across the globe. This meant bringing together the strengths of a range of services, incorporating steel manufacture and distribution.

The amount of Corus products brought together through Corus International Projects was substantial. For the skeleton of the building, 800 tonnes of plates and 2,200 tonnes of Grade S355JR sections were supplied from manufacturing operations in Scunthorpe and Teesside, while for the flooring, 70,000m 2 of Corus' ComFlor 70 metal decking were supplied. The contract for the steel framework (plates and sections) was awarded by local steelwork contractors Arabian International Company, while the contract for the decking was from a local contractor.

On the ground, Corus International Projects collated a local product inventory, which contributed to an efficient and timely delivery of materials. It arranged for a stock of products to be kept in Dubai before being transferred to the steel fabricator as needed, enabling the local office to monitor product requirements on a day-to-day basis and order the necessary quantities well in advance.

The metal floor decking, ComFlor 70, is a certified composite metal decking which has undergone extensive testing.

Requiring no additional fire protection, it is lightweight, enabling faster construction. Furthermore, it has been designed to avoid the need for a temporary structural framework, which reduces site time and costs. The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) has developed a software package, Comdek, to help engineers with their flooring design. Corus offers this easy-to-use software free of charge. You can download it at www. corusconstruction. com.

The Dream Tower is part of a major construction boom in the Middle East. The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry has estimated that at least one million homes will need to be built in the next five years to address population needs. This increase in new development has been further encouraged as the government eases restrictions on banks to enable more and more people to become homebuyers. This, together with greater market liquidity due to surging oil prices, has led to a huge demand for real estate in all sectors, including the high-end market.

Saudi Arabia in particular has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. The Kingdom comprises the largest construction industry in the Middle East, with multi-million pound projects under way and many more in the planning stages. Social requirements such as new hospitals and clinics, schools and housing are, by necessity, big items on the government agenda, while real estate, office and shopping mall investments and tourism projects, remain the focus of the private sector.

In the context of these new, often complex, developments, Corus is well placed to offer a full package resulting in a wide range of steel products being delivered on time and to specification.

Its ability to draw together strengths from a range of services to provide technical and commercial expertise offers significant benefits to all aspects of the supply chain.

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