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Hill Helps Credit Agricole Bank Headquarters in Cairo Achieve LEED Platinum Certification

2016 will likely go down as a remarkable year for Hill International’s North Africa operations.  Impressive projects that were recently completed such as the award winning Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo and the Cairo International Airport and iconic projects that are underway such as the Grand Egyptian Museum and the APM Container Terminal in Morocco, are just a few examples of Hill leaving a strong footprint in the region.   But some of Hill’s projects are being recognized for not leaving much of a footprint, such as Hill’s recently completed Credit Agricole Bank Headquarters in New Cairo City.

“This facility has earned the distinction of being the first building in the Africa to receive the LEED Platinum certification by the US’ Green Building Council,” Waleed Abdel Fattah Senior Vice President and North Africa Regional Manager for Hill’s Project Management Group. There are several new facilities that had to be built for earning such a certification, he said, stating the building uses energy from natural gas, electricity, and on-site renewables and water from a municipal potable water system as well as an on-site ‘gray’ or rainwater system. The sewage is conveyed to a municipal sewer system. The project has also implemented an erosion and sedimentation control (ESC) plan that conforms to local standards and code, which are more stringent than the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program requirements, Abdel Fattah added. “Nearly 33% of the total building materials content, by value, has been manufactured using recycled materials and 22% of the total building materials value includes materials and products that have been manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of the project site,” he noted.

Hill’s Specific Role in the LEED certification process

Hill coordinated the LEED certification process and staffed the project with a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) to assist the client in meeting one of its main goals for the project, he said, pointing out that during the process of receiving the LEED Platinum certification and remain in compliance with LEED credit requirements, the company verified the contractor’s implementation of LEED requirements, facilitated the online submission processes and advised the project team in finalizing the certification process after project handover. Hill also closely supervised the implementation of an energy simulation model to evaluate the building form and orientation in relation to the overall building energy efficiency, Abel Fattah said. For carrying out its role of providing construction management services and assist Credit Agricole in achieving its goals for this project, Hill also implemented a hands-on management approach and worked closely with the supervision team, main contractor and subcontractors to plan and coordinate all construction aspects of the project. “We assisted the client in achieving its main project goals – developing an iconic, state-of-the-art international head office,” he said. All through the construction phase, Hill liaised with the client, supervision team, the main contractor and various subcontractors to monitor and resolved any project issues having the potential to impact the project schedule or budget. It also worked with the supervision team in the early stages to recommend some modifications to the detailed technical design that would allow the complex to fulfill Credit Agricole’s intent for the project—to serve as an international bank headquarters and to communicate data internally with employees and externally with customers.

As the new headquarters building was considered a critical project by the client, Hill managed, monitored and controlled the master schedule in accordance with the client’s desired milestones so the project was completed within the expected time. “We applied a top-down approach to the schedule to define project tasks and break them into smaller work packages, prepared daily work plans and a responsibility matrix for all project parties and implemented a detailed monitoring system using the project master schedule as the main tool for measuring and evaluating the progress of each trade,” he said. Further, Hill linked manpower, supervision and quality to the project schedule to facilitate complete project integration management. To address health and safety concerns, Hill liaised with the main contractor to establish weekly health, safety and environment (HSE) reports and meetings to address any HSE issues and corrective actions, as well as to identify preventive actions for avoiding future incidents. In addition to overseeing the construction phases of the project, Hill’s scope of work included contract administration, planning, schedule and cost management, progress reporting, document control, risk assessment, value engineering, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) and health and safety management.

Project details

Located in the 5th Settlement, the new bank headquarters complex was designed to consolidate the bank’s multiple administrative offices under one roof and to accommodate about 1,200 employees in an eco-friendly environment. The three-story, 42,000 square-meter building included a ground floor and two basement levels, a garden and landscaping works on a plot of land totaling nearly 51,000 square meters, with the complex being constructed on 50% of this land area to comply with building regulation constraints. Emerging from an oasis of palm trees, the iconic structure consists of two wings, each with four floors and connected by a central hall through interior bridges. Additional design features include intricate building facades and a cantilevered roof to provide shade and protection to the entrance. The building’s above-ground floors include a retail branch, a central reception area, staff restaurant and kitchen facilities, a board room, a meeting room, employee offices, a training center, an auditorium, an IT communications and data center, a loading bay, a security room and a mail room. The basement levels house a central vault, a gymnasium, two prayer rooms, a maintenance room, a first aid room and an archiving area.

LEED certifications for new buildings is picking up momentum in the Middle East and given its expertise, Hill is now working on another project in the region: a 39,000-square-meter five-star hotel Diplomatic Quarter Marriott hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for which it was awarded a contract this spring. The project is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification. “Our success with the Credit Agricole bank headquarters project has added a new dimension to our capabilities in the region. As developers move towards a new leadership in energy and environmental design or LEED, we find ourselves in a pole position to help our clients achieve the certification,” Abdel Fattah noted.

By Ashok Dutta and Kristin Lynch