Atkins collects Specialist Consultancy of the Year


By by Gerhard Hope

Atkins has won the ‘Specialist Consultant of the Year’ category at the MEP Awards 2009.

Terry Mack from Atkins
Terry Mack from Atkins

The judges lauded the consultancy “as one of the few consultancies that operate globally and provide a truly multi-disciplinary service to the industry.” These include many specialist building services disciplines that have been showcased on many landmark projects.

Atkins is best known in the region for its building design and engineering expertise, thanks to iconic projects such as the Burj Al Arab and the Bahrain World Trade Centre. It has strong capability and market presence as a leading provider of large-scale infrastructure, heavy civil engineering, utilities, transportation planning and engineering.

In the past several years it has also established a significant showcase for its multidisciplinary talents in the transport sector as lead designer for Dubai Metro’s Red and Green Lines, touted as the world’s largest transport infrastructure project.

It was the first large multi-disciplinary company in the Middle East to integrate specialist consultancy services into its design teams. With the ever-increasing complexity of projects in the region, and a clear client emphasis on delivering international standards in terms of quality, a perfect spring board was created for the introduction of acoustics, fire and life safety, vertical transportation, ICT, AV and security Consultants into its Middle East business.

Specialist sub-consultancy services now control a large and increasing percentage of the capital expenditure of a project. This has meant that the role of specialist consultants and engineers in the design team becomes pivotal. Following the core design strategy that Atkins employs in the UK, its Middle East specialist teams have now been integrated into design teams for nearly four years.

Adding value, expertise and innovation to Atkins core disciplines in the Middle East, the specialist consultancy teams have been key to the successful delivery of major projects across the Middle East. Atkins specialist acoustics teams played a major role in the design and implementation of the station and depot design elements of the Dubai Metro project.

A key element of this input was verification of speech intelligibility levels from the public address/voice alarm (PA/VA) systems within stations. Extensive use of the most up-to-date software suites allowed for accurate reproduction of station scenarios, and allowed for accurate design of the PA/VA system and specification of absorbing finishes to all station areas.

Atkins specialist fire and life safety team also played a major role in the design and implementation of both ten underground and 37 aboveground stations, especially in terms of the tunnel and depot design elements of the project, including CFD simulations and analysis, with particular emphasis on minimising volumetric smoke exhaust rates. It also provided a fire safety design that permitted retail tenancies on the concourse level of all 47 stations without impacting life safety standards. These designs incorporated smoke control solutions that required no additional ductwork, fans, zoning, or passive requirements.