Site visit: Imdaad’s FM operations at the new Deira fish market
fmME visit the new Waterfront Market in Deira to understand Imdaad’s integrated facilities management strategy at the premises
In June last year, the Deira Fish Market that served Dubai’s residents for more than 60 years shut shop one last time. Fish, vegetable and livestock vendors moved to a new location in the Waterfront Market, a few kilometres away from the erstwhile site in Deira’s Al Ras area.
At the Waterfront Market, vendors and shoppers have a new state-of-the-art facility that’s cleaner, more hygienic and air-conditioned through a central HVAC system. Imdaad won the contract to maintain the facility, and one-year into its operation, fmME visits the new facility to examine how the facilities management (FM) operator is coping with distinctive challenges.
“This is totally different from any of the sites we have worked on — it’s not residential or commercial. It’s a fish market where you are expecting large volumes of footfall on a daily basis. This means it is not only always busy, it’s also going to be prone to dirt and contaminants from the outside,” Imdaad’s chief operating officer Mahmood Rasheed tells fmME.
The Waterfront Market is designed to be a hub for all fresh food shopping, housing butchers, vegetable traders and dried goods merchants, as well as fishermen. At the time of opening, it was revealed that the project is part of the Deira Enrichment Project, which aims to transform Deira into a “bustling hub of life that will add to the already rich tapestry woven by communities past and present,” according to Ithra Dubai.
Imdaad was awarded a three-year contract to carry out total facilities management at the Waterfront Market “from MEP, cleaning and waste management down to the maintaining street outside the facility,” Rasheed says.
He delves into the challenges Imdaad and its staff face especially in the Fish Market zone. “It’s not an easy task at the end of the day — given there is a daily auction for fresh fish in the morning time. Our staff needs to be prepared before and after [the auction]. The challenge is also to control the odour from fish that is decomposing. For this, our staff is on hand 24 hours a day, especially the cleaning staff, there is a lot of pressure on them,” he says.
Imdaad has 22 staff working on hard service operations, 90 cleaners and an additional two employees dedicated to provide pest control services. Rasheed also reveals that the dedicated cleaning team is equipped with street washers, street sweepers and various other cleaning machines supplied by Tennant.
As we walk through the well-laid out pathway between vendor stalls in the Fish Market zone, Rasheed says Imdaad works extensively to curb the different odours, but ultimately there will be a few people who are sensitive to it. “This matter was taken into account right from the design stage, from the developers of the Waterfront Market. [To counter it] an ozone system is in place that was deployed towards the end of April 2018, which helps in reducing unpleasant odour by 70%.
“We also use negative pressure (which is achieved through the air conditioning system) in each zone of the market, which ensures that the smell in each zone i.e. the vegetable and fruit market or fish market, doesn’t spread to the corridor or the common area. The zoned negative pressure ensures a higher volume of fresh air supply into the particular zone,” he says.
The Waterfront Market comprises of three distinct areas — the Fruits and Vegetables Zone, Meat and Poultry Zone and the Fish Market zone. Apart from that, the Waterfront Market also has 80 retail outlets and 20 food and beverage outlets. The facility is also able to house 1,210 cars – 770 underground spaces and 470 outdoor car park bays.
Rasheed also says that one of the biggest successes for Imdaad at the Waterfront Market has been to control the cooling and ventilation system between the zones, and not allowing it intervene between each other.
Rasheed sheds light on Imdaad’s involvement elsewhere in the market: “We also look after all aspects of the waste management system, which includes the spent oil from the restaurants and used cartons, to the waste that’s generated from the fish market and livestock. We have contracted with a supplier who processes the waste to make fish food products.”
The market and its surroundings also need to comply with Dubai Municipality’s hygiene standards and Rasheed says that inspectors from the municipality frequently visit the site to ensure hygiene levels are maintained to the highest standard.
Speaking on staff supply and training methods, Rasheed says: “The manpower and staff is supplied from one of our subsidiaries, Isnaad. They also conduct regular training activities. All our staff are BICSc certified, and the manager assigned to this project is a BICSc assessor as well. Our teams also visited the Sharjah [Fish Market] to compare their operations and processes.”
He also adds that specialised systems such as firefighting, chiller maintenance, elevators and escalators are looked after by the OEM. The market has an ice manufacturing unit, which is also operated and maintained by Imdaad on site, that supplies fresh ice to all vendors.
Even though the facility is relatively new, and built to some of the most advanced engineering standards, Imdaad believes further energy savings can be achieved. Through one of the company’s other subsidiaries — Imtedaad — a detailed analysis has been done. The report, which is expected to be submitted soon, will have details of energy savings and water savings. “So the idea is to have that study and link its practice to the control room, which means we can control the temperature, pumps and AC components that need to be replaced etc. with the integration to be done through a central BMS system.
The proposition of managing the Waterfront Market has also vetted Imdaad’s appetite for managing malls and other commercial establishments, as Rasheed feels the specific sector will interest the FM operator moving forward.
Traditionally, Imdaad’s expertise has lay in managing large residential and mixed-use developments such as Nakheel’s Discovery Gardens, where Imdaad not only manages the soft and hard services but waste collection and management as well.
The Waterfront Market hosts more than 700,000 visitors to its facilities, up from 500,000 initially forecasted by its developers, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Imdaad says it maintains an excellent working relationship with the client, and is confident of extending its contractual agreements past the stipulated time frame of three years.