How good is Dubai for mechanical engineers

Big, bigger, Dubai

VDI nachrichten, Dubai, 16. 3. 07, sta - The city of the most daring architectural fantasies, the most gigantic construction sites and easy money - that is Dubai. Nowhere else on earth are more cranes turning in one place. Companies from Germany also want to benefit from the boom.

After a six-hour night flight, the guests of Emirates Airlines press their noses flat at the on-board windows. Below them glitters and shines - flat as on the drawing board - the destination of their dreams: Dubai. Welcome to the city of miracles, gigantomania, millionaires. What follows is two hours of waiting for the bus that got stuck in a traffic jam. Typical of the boomtown: where a lot is moving, some things stop.

Dörthe and Manfred Köpf from Dessau are tired. With a heavy heart, the two of them put their flooring production company under the sole direction of their employees. The couple undertook the three-day trip to find new customer groups. Two engineers, a car dealer, a software developer, a woman who works in the real estate business and two people who are familiar with financial management for companies and private individuals also came with the same resolution. The group followed an invitation from the German Innovation Center (GIC). Managing directors Kay Zuchold (35) and Yassin Nasri (42) support German medium-sized companies in making the jump to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The Germans have a good reputation here,” explains Nasri. They are excellent tinkerers, thorough - and slow. With the last-mentioned adjective, a murmur goes through the round. “Yes,” he says drawn out. "The Germans are hard-working with bees, but they cannot keep up with the competition when they act quickly."

What it means to act quickly becomes clear to the audience when they look out of the 200 m2 office of the consultant: Big, overwhelming, crazy, unbelievable - none of these expressions for what is happening here. In just three decades, Dubai, once a small port city on the Arabian Gulf, has catapulted itself into the future. The Burj Al Arab Hotel, completed in 1999, with inflated sails and prices for an overnight stay, was the beginning of a series of never-ending, spectacular ideas from international investors that fly to the city like bees to honey. The tallest hotel in the world at 321 m has made its architects and Dubai famous worldwide. 70,000 m3 of concrete and 9,000 t of steel form 28 floors in a honeycomb structure. The guest arrives at the 202 suites in a matter of seconds and almost imperceptibly as soon as the elevator doors, which are covered with gold leaf, have closed. In the fabulously luxurious rooms on two floors, personal butlers from all over the world read every imaginable wish from the residents' eyes.

The construction site of the “Burj Dubai” can be seen from the hotel's own helicopter landing pad at a height of 211 m. At 380 m, the reinforced concrete skeleton is already higher than any other building in the Arab world and in Europe. And every three days the tower grows another floor. How many there will be in the end is a secret. Estimates go up to 216. Then the monument would be over 1 km high. Expected construction cost: $ 1.8 billion.

"If you have the opportunity to live in the tallest building in the world, you are guaranteed a place in history." With this assessment, Emaar, the Dubai construction company, advertises around 900 luxury apartments and over 30 office floors. Around 60 elevators will relieve people of climbing stairs. They are supposed to shoot up at the incredible speed of 65 km / h.

Dubai is not only setting new standards in terms of height. Even large-area buildings are reaching dimensions that have never been seen before. One example is the Palm Islands - three artificial archipelagos in the shape of palm trees. In total, the embankments should cover an area of ​​50 km². That would make them 25 times larger than the Principality of Monaco. Hotels, malls and villas with pools and berths for your own yacht are to be built on it. All of this sells in sales centers within a few hours, even if a lot can only be seen in the model at first. Background: Anyone who purchases a property also receives residence status. Foreigners have only been allowed to own land for six months.

The builders of these projects have none of the wealth that is being created here. For € 150 a month an army of poor men from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh toil between sand, concrete and steel. Accidents that hardly anyone talks about are the order of the day. Only on Friday, when the imam calls to prayer in the mosque, are they free. And actually also when the thermometer climbs above 44ºC. This often happens in practice - but only rarely officially.

25% of the cranes that exist on earth rotate in the city. Soon also where the desert wind is still driving grains of sand in front of it. In the “Falcon City of Wonders”, for example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the canals of Venice, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Giza - partly larger than the original. Plus hotels and residential areas, connected to seven-lane expressways. Projected cost: $ 1.5 billion. Construction has already started.

Back on one of the artificial islands, guests from all over the world should be able to swim with dolphins in front of the “Atlantis” hotel or have fun in the spacious water theme park. $ 650 million is currently flowing into the first phase of development of the 1000-room luxury temple.

The locals are also thought of. You get a hospital city. “Healthcare City” will save you the trip to the best doctors in Europe and the USA in the future. The top physicians should come to the sheikhs in the future. Health tourism worth millions included. 350 clinics with research, rehabilitation and wellness areas are planned. The total investment for the infrastructure is approximately $ 1.8 billion.

"These astronomical investments make sense," say Zuchold and Nasri, back from sightseeing with their German guests. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is managing his emirate, which will run out of oil in 20 years at the latest, like a company. "It is the job of a government to create opportunities," Zuchold quotes the billionaire ruler over a people of 130,000. The East German thinks his view is brilliant. “Since the Frauenkirche in Dresden was rebuilt, far more tourists have flocked to the Saxon city than ever before. The pyramids in Egypt attract around four million visitors every year. This has the same effect, it's already happening. "

With India and Africa on its doorstep, China and Europe in view, Dubai is the hub and trading center for the world par excellence. The UAE are Germany's most important Arab trading partner. There is also a business-friendly environment: no income tax and VAT, no unions. “And what about shop opening times?” Asks one of the group. Nasri shakes his head. That was the strangest question he'd heard in a long time.

The participants in the tour group are impressed. Some go home with culture shock, others with plans to settle. After talking to a local floor seller, the Köpfs are still considering whether a step to Dubai is worthwhile. That could well be: The corridors of “Healthcare City” deserve quality work after all. HEIKE BALDAUF

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