All Rêved Up
Introduced to the world as the ultimate in modern luxury living, Le Rêve Dubai is set to revolutionise the role of residential facilities managers. FM Magazine speakks with Arabtec's project marketing director, Andrew Lemon and CEO of MAF Dalkia Middle East, Christophe Ploux.
"Le Rêve” is French for a dream. What steps have you taken to ensure a truly ethereal experience for residents?
Andrew Lemon: "From the inception of the project, we recognised that if the development was to attract a particular type of resident, it would be necessary to depart from the traditional facilities management model which divorces post-construction management from initial design and building considerations. According to the orthodox approach, the facility manager “takes over” a project from the consultant and contractor on completion and invariably inherits or, more accurately, discovers building faults.
"In this instance, given that residents were always going to expect service levels similar to those they experience in London, Paris or New York and demand that things be right from day one, we decided to involve Dalkia, our facilities manager, during construction. The strategy has worked brilliantly since, in addition to reducing commissioning times, it has allowed for remedial action to be taken immediately and ensured the orderly, systemic handover and testing of service manuals, access routes, security, waste and related systems.
"The new approach has also resulted in a performance-based pricing model, whereby Dalkia is liable for all faults that are not reported to the contractor."
What other lessons are to be learnt from your new approach?
Andrew Lemon: "In my opinion, the majority of construction problems arise from poor design. This is particularly the case with concealed areas including shafts, access panels, electrical rooms, waste and indoor environmental control mechanisms.
"To date, facilities managers have rarely provided design advice to consultants – the lines of demarcation between the professions being so rigidly fixed that nobody has dared cross them! Yet the Le Rêve project suggests that cooperation benefits everyone. By involving themselves more closely with the design process, facility managers bring valuable knowledge of building management to the drawing board. One might also note their advice can be invaluable for reducing building lifecycle costs in the areas of energy saving and maintenance."
Le Rêve is the first building in the Middle East to incorporate concierge and valet-parking services within the facilities management remit. Can you explain the vision underlying this?
Andrew Lemon: "Dubai attracts people who expect the very best. By analogy with a Bentley car, which is supplied with components that other manufacturers offer as “optional extras”, at Le Rêve we have sought to create an all-encompassing package that caters for every conceivable expectation and taste.
"The concept also confirms that many visitors to Dubai seek luxury apartment accommodation offering five-star service without the drawbacks traditionally associated with maintaining luxury villas."
Christophe Ploux: "Le Rêve is a demanding project."
Why do you believe Arabtec appointed your company to manage the facility?
Christophe Ploux: "Our remit is to provide the most comprehensive facility management services available. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of our organisation and core competencies in engineering and energy management – energy accounts for almost half of the building's running costs, in addition to our traditional facilities expertise, we believe we represent a viable “one-stop” solution for meeting our client's needs."
What other considerations were in the client's mind?
Christophe Ploux: "Consistency – it is all too tempting to focus on the one, five or ten year warranty periods that typically follow construction of a building. Doing so often ignores the reality that service and facility cycles invariably extend for more than twenty. With the Le Rêve project, the client has consciously focus on building services consistently into the life duration of the building."
Will you be involved in handing over apartments to new residents?
Christophe Ploux: "On completion of the building this summer, our entire team will be mobilised to ensure that the right level of services is delivered to residents. We will also be involved with reviewing and issuing standard leases on behalf of our client and the recruitment and training and mobilisation of a team of more than thirty facilities management personnel."
What will be the level of your annual service charges?
Christophe Ploux: "Although I can confirm that service charges represented a considerable point of discussion with our client and have been agreed and capped at a certain level, I am not at liberty to disclose any figures."
But what if costs increase?
Christophe Ploux: "That will be our problem – our objective is be to minimise costs."
Do you expect the facilities management model for Le Rêve to be replicated elsewhere in the Middle East?
Christophe Ploux: "I believe it may well represent the future, since it is important that developers recognise that a more occupant-centric approach which looks beyond the physical act of constructing a building to budget and on time pays real dividends."