BASF

The Chemical Company

Watson Bowman

WBA Provides Extensive Expansion Control Solutions on Mecca Project

Collaboration On a Global Scale

Precisely coordinated and an attentive ear on the customer: Connectedness in all directions made EB the main supplier of construction chemicals solutions for the large-scale project of the expansion of the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.

Global Experience in Saudi Arabia

Masjid al-Haram in the center of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is probably among the most visited places in the world: It is home to Islam’s most sacred site and is the destination of the Haj and Umrah pilgrimages, which bring millions of worshippers to Mecca every year. In recent years, for example, about three million pilgrims visited the Masjid al-Haram mosque on a single day as part of the Haj. In view of the ever increasing numbers of worshippers, the responsible authorities finally decided to expand the mosque for security reasons: The premises are set to be increased by about 450,000 square meters, with numerous buildings, squares, walkways and tunnels to be added to the existing, 356,000-square-meter complex. Construction began in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2014. Throughout, the mosque will remain open and accessible to worshippers without restrictions. An additional challenge: Due to the very tight timeframe, construction began before the design stage was completely finalized – construction and planning are proceeding simultaneously.

 

Construction Chemicals adopted a strategic, highly organized approach in order to secure this very prestigious large-scale project: First, EB Saudi Arabia formed two teams that from the very beginning worked in two directions. One presented a custom-tailored solution portfolio for the project and convinced specifiers and the general contractor; the other addressed commercial, logistical and technical questions to be resolved directly on the construction site – and both teams have been and still are very close to the customer throughout the entire project. This two-track approach was the key to success: EB is the main supplier of construction chemicals solutions for the project – from concrete admixtures to tunnel-construction products to waterproofing materials and precision grouts.

 

The mere scope of the project alone as well as the fact that construction and planning are proceeding simultaneously require the daily, precise coordination of all team members. Both teams are staying extremely close to the customer, and a round-the-clock service ensures that EB experts can respond at once to all questions and challenges, supporting everyone involved during each step of the project. Thus, the mix designs for the various concretes of five strength categories required for the project – as well as sprayed concrete and a fiber-reinforced variant – remain under constant re-evaluation, adjusting them to changing on-site requirements. Responsible for all this to proceed smoothly is Ahamad Attiya, Manager Admixture Systems and in charge of the western part of the country at EB in Saudi Arabia, who is working closely with the concrete manufacturer, the contractor and the project consultants at all times. Environmental compatibility is another important issue: The concrete admixtures from Construction Chemicals enable the reduction of the cement ratio in the concrete in favor of alternative materials without compromising its performance. In this way, about 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be prevented at an estimated overall volume of concrete of one million cubic meters.

Staying close to the customer is of particular advantage in this case as designs keep evolving with the project, and not all requirements were clear from the beginning. In this way, once a new task arose, the EB team was immediately able to provide the right solution at the right place without delay. In addition to seven different concrete admixtures, Construction Chemicals has already supplied a large variety of other solutions as well, including different waterproofing solutions for various applications throughout the complex, as well as flooring solutions, concrete repair products, release agents and curing compounds, mortar admixtures, construction adhesives, expansion joint solutions, and precision grouts. Specifications Manager for the western region Diaa Abdullat and Mecca area Sales Manager Tamer Hassan have worked together to secure specifications and approvals for most products used on the project.

Watson Bowman Acme's contribution was extensive: Just a sampling of the nearly 20 Wabo® Expansion Control Systems provided would include everything from seismic expansion joints like the highly capable Wabo®SeismicPan, to life safety systems such as the Wabo®FireFlex, as well as watertight joint systems like our Wabo®WaterTite. Several other aesthetic interior systems were also included on this project.  

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