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Old October 7th, 2010, 12:34 AM   #101
Galandar
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Nice article about Hill International and Flame Towers:

Hill Comes of Age in Azerbaijan
A benchmark in the Caspian region

When a definitive chapter is written about the building of
a new Baku ever since it became an independent republic
in 1991, a space should be kept for the iconic 21st century
Flame Towers project.


Towering to a maximum height of 192 metres, the iconic
US$350 million development will comprise three curving
towers ranging from 34 to 39 stories and rising from a
podium with an extensive roof garden. The client is Azinko
Development MMC, a private developer based in Baku;
while HOK International Limited, out of its London office has
prepared the design concept.
Located on a prime site in Baku and with views of the Caspian
Sea, the mixed-use facility will be home to international high
quality offices, a five star Fairmont hotel with a state-of-the
art conference centre, flick restaurant, spa, and serviced
apartments, as its prime attractions. The towers are linked
by centrally-located retail and leisure facilities, and will have
a total built-up area of nearly 235,000 square meters (2.53
million square feet), with 1,200 basement car parking spaces.
From the exterior on their impressive elevated site near the
Azeri Parliament, the trio of towers will be shield-shaped in
cross section and have a distinct look of three rising flames, a
symbol from Azeri mythology.
When completed in the summer of 2011, the Flame Towers
will not only serve as Azerbaijan’s most successful showcase
of its progression to embrace Western international standards
of construction and living, but they will also be an icon for other
nations in the former Soviet Union (FSU) bloc to replicate whilst
highlighting Azerbaijan’s leading status in the region. The
vision of the Investor is to deliver a project of the design, style
and standards you find in New York, London, or Dubai, and to
raise the bar and set the standard of mixed use developments
in Baku, in Azerbaijan, and the region.
“This is indeed a very challenging project for my team and
for me, based here in Baku,” said Kevin Denton, General
Manager of the Hill International (Azerbaijan) office in Baku
and also the Project Director for the new development. “We
have introduced and oversee processes and procedures of
international standard - contracts, quality control, material
selections and procurement, design management (the project
utilizes the design/build fast track delivery method) and interior
design, budget management, construction techniques, and
safety that a project of this size and complexity requires.
We work daily with the developer and contractor to ensure
international standards and highly developed project
management processes and procedures are maintained. For
example, the project is being designed and built to comply
to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), the American
fire and life safety code, as well as local codes. This required
hiring experts and design consultants who are familiar with
the code, and familiarizing the contractor and local authorities
with the code.”
Implementing the best project management and contracting
practices is always at the heart of New Jersey-based Hill
International and no effort is being spared for the Flame Towers
venture to assure its successful completion and position as a
landmark symbol of Baku in the 21st century.
In January 2009, Hill International was awarded a contract to
provide project management services for the development,
which had been structured to be implemented on a fast
track basis. Employing 2,300 professionals from all fields of
construction and project management in 80 offices globally,
Hill International has a reputation for the successful delivery
of premier projects, as a consequence of which last year, Hill
International was ranked by the Engineering News-Record
(ENR) magazine as the 11th-largest construction management
firm in the US.
“This is our first major assignment in the Republic of
Azerbaijan,” Raouf S. Ghali, president of Hill’s Project
Management Group (international), said soon after putting pen
to the contract. “We are honoured and excited to participate
in the construction of this ambitious development, especially
with its innovative design which we are sure will become a
significant landmark in Baku. The project is important for
us, as it has balanced the innovative, iconic nature of the
design while maintaining the economic feasibility. Baku is an
important strategic location for Hill as the newly-independent
states have a growth potential due to the private and public
investments.”
“Hill International is a great resource for Azerbaijan”,
Denton adds. “We have so many available resources and
experience we can draw from. We can draw on experience
from our 80 offices around the world and mobilize highly
educated, experienced experts in a structured mobilisation
timed to reflect the project needs. We have TCTs (Technical
Core Teams) located in Ankara and Dubai that can provide
technical reviews of plans and specifications, or any specific
issue or need that may come up during a project. These
teams comprise of experts from every discipline, as well
as support services such as scheduling and claims review
and mitigation.” Denton continues, “Hill has Knowledge
Centers, based in the UK and Dubai holding a library
of every code, standard, and publication related to the
design and construction of projects. It’s a great resource.
All an employee has to do is request by e-mail a specific
issue, and a Knowledge Center Analyst will research
available reference material and e-mail it to the project site
immediately.”
Kevin continues, “Hill International has identified Azerbaijan
and the CIS Region as a growth market, and has made a long
term commitment to establish in Azerbaijan, not just for one
project but to be able to offer clients a full range of services
for projects from infrastructure to high tech buildings, such as
the Flame Towers project. By offering a one-stop full range
of services, from inception to commissioning, we expect to
show more customers the value we add to a project and their
business. We are looking for more projects to sustain our
presence here.”

Challenges

The Flame Towers project has come with its fair share of
challenges however, and no one knows this better than
46-year-old Denton who maintains an 11-hour work schedule
each day to ensure all is well.
“Right from the word go, Hill International has worked with
the Developer to implement international standards of design,
procurement, and construction management techniques
to the project to achieve the Developer’s vision, some of
which were introduced for the first time to the Contractor,”
he said, hastening to add: “Baku was a new territory for Hill
International.” For the contractor, DiA Holding, this is the
largest project they have carried out and there is pressure
on them to complete the project on time and within budget.
“I have been extremely impressed with the level of skills and
how hard their staff of Azerbaijanis and Turks work to achieve
the project requirements.”
“Our personnel are a mix of Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Turkish,
Polish, Americans, and British. All have been hand selected,
and have experience on international projects, so they are
familiar with international standards. All have been involved in
large projects, hi-rise projects, and have 5 star hotel and retail
experience. What Hill International contributes is international
experience, and a highly developed framework of project
management processes and procedures.”
Logistical challenges have not been easy to overcome either,
with the need for procurement of some materials from outside
of Azerbaijan.
“Reinforcing steel is sourced from Ukraine, cement from Turkey,
glazing from the U.A.E., aluminum profiles manufactured in
Germany, and so on. As a rule of thumb, it takes about 30
days for a bag of cement to arrive on site,” he said, explaining
that the materials are shipped over land routes after being
purchased.

“Azerbaijan continues to emerge quickly out of the Soviet era
in many ways. Manufacturing facilities are coming on line.
Laws and regulations are continuing to develop and evolve.
Keeping abreast of the changes is a big challenge. Our
first task was to set up the business, process work permits
and residence visas and attract local trained personnel.
Lack of up to date, reliable information about Azerbaijan,
either on the internet or by way of word-of-mouth, did little
to help. It has been frustrating at times, but we continue
to be persistent and flexible.” he explained. “International
standards in housing, and the conveniences we take for
granted in the U.S. and Europe are now being developed
in Azerbaijan. Many of our staff are in their second or third
apartment but, all around you, there is a buzz of constant
and rapid improvement, and they are keen to be part of this
growth. It’s happening quickly. You can see improvements
catalyzed both by private development and government
programs.”
“There are dozens of tower cranes over the skyline, with most of
the construction activity being focused around Baku. Projects
have been also been identified for sports based developments,
including a ski resort and golf course development, besides the
setting up of wind farms and hydro-electric projects for power
generation, road and water infrastructure, and wastewater
treatment plants. We have similar projects throughout this
region, and worldwide, and can apply our knowledge and
resources to add value by working with the developer, or
government agency, to secure the appropriate solution and to
deliver it on time, within budget and most importantly, to the
very best standards of quality” Denton said.
Yet another challenge was posed by the lie of the land and
geological issues.
“Existing unknown utilities were encountered on site. The site
is on an incline with one side elevated 23 metres above the
other. Thus, the excavation is five stories deep in places, and
a massive bored-pile retaining wall was required to perform
the excavation,” Denton said.
Also, according to Denton, the Flame Towers’ site, as
with all developments in Azerbaijan, must be designed to
recognise potential slip zones and a seismicity level-8 zone.
Thus there was a need to drive concrete foundation piles
50 metres into the earth. “It’s the most massive foundation
I have ever seen and the most heavily reinforced structure
I have experienced.”

“Winds on site often reach 90-120 kilometers an hour,
shutting down the tower cranes. The crane motors just can’t
take it and safety would be unacceptably impaired in such
conditions. Also, the building is located across the street from
the Parliament Building, so work gets stopped for official visits
without notice. Other than that, we are basically on schedule.”
he added.

Satisfactory progress

Despite these issues, approximately 40% of the work has until
now been completed, with the aim of delivering the project on
time.
“Personally to me, Flame Towers is an exciting concept and
design, based on Baku’s belief in the historical concept of
worshipping fire. When I was asked to come here, and saw
the concept drawings of the project, I wanted to be a part of
it. I think it will be an internationally recognized and significant
project.” he said.
These are changing times for Azerbaijan which is seeking foreign
direct investments (FDIs) into its domestic economy. Be it oil or
non-oil sectors, the government in Baku is doing all in its power to
emerge as a preferred destination in the FSU states.
With crude oil prices stabilising above US$75 per barrel
in the global markets and the state coffers benefitting, the
expectation will be for a raft of new projects to be tendered
and constructed.
Given their experience and with the success story of completing
the Flame Towers project on time and within budget, Hill
International will keep a hawk’s eye on new developments not
only in Azerbaijan but also the adjoining FSU states.
Few will deny that the Flame Towers will serve as a benchmark
in the Caspian region and will be a classic example for others
to follow.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 02:10 PM   #102
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Construction Update 10.10.2010

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Old October 27th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #103
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Construction update 22.10.2010

Flame Towers in a foggy weather




Flame Towers at night as seen from Baku TV Tower



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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #104
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Were not these towers supposed to be red-ish?
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icehot View Post
Were not these towers supposed to be red-ish?
Not at day time. They will have flame colours during illumination at night.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #106
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Old November 15th, 2010, 07:09 PM   #107
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03.11.2010 by Reuters



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Old November 15th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #108
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Loved these towers.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #109
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wish to visit Baku in the near future. any advices about traveling there? )
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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbilisky View Post
wish to visit Baku in the near future. any advices about traveling there? )
I think for a person from Georgia it is not really hard to travel to Baku. Since the distance is not that far so travel expenses are much lower
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Old November 18th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #111
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wow, i'm amazed, i really am! perhaps due to distance from azerbaijan or lack of proper information from that region, i would never imagine that such project could be built in baku. i'm looking at pictures all over again
these towers certainly are going to become prime baku landmarks
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Old November 18th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montesky View Post
wow, i'm amazed, i really am! perhaps due to distance from azerbaijan or lack of proper information from that region, i would never imagine that such project could be built in baku. i'm looking at pictures all over again
these towers certainly are going to become prime baku landmarks
I think many other great projects will implement Baku.. no doubt that Caucasian region develops very quickly Baku , Batumi and Tbilisi are developing with very high rates. I wish Yerevan would join the company.. but no signs of that yet..
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #113
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image hosted on flickr


Photo by user Kadwell-Enz
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Old November 19th, 2010, 08:28 PM   #114
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Flame towers rock´s
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Old November 20th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #115
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it is great building, who know the main contractor and facade contractor, i think they are very big company.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #116
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stunning
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #117
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Quote:
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it is great building, who know the main contractor and facade contractor, i think they are very big company.
The main contractor is Dia Holding http://www.diaholding.com but I have no information about facade contractor

Thanks to all of you for nice comments!
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Old December 4th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #118
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Quote:
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it is great building, who know the main contractor and facade contractor, i think they are very big company.
Facade is being installed by Dekoral-Aygün, subcon of Dia Holding...
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Old December 5th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #119
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They`re not finished yet, but they already look fantastic!
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Old December 6th, 2010, 01:22 AM   #120
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Construction update - December 2, 2010



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