In June last year, the Deira Fish Market that served Dubai’s residents for more than 60 years shut up shop. Fish, vegetable, and livestock vendors moved to a new location in the Waterfront Market, a few kilometres away from the old market’s site in Deira’s Al Ras area.

At the Waterfront Market, vendors and shoppers have a new, state-of-the-art facility that is cleaner, more hygienic, and is air-conditioned through a central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Imdaad won the contract to maintain the facility, and one year into its operation, Construction Week’s sister publication fmME paid a visit to the facility to discover how the facilities management (FM) operator is coping with the site’s specific challenges.

“This is totally different from any of the sites we have worked on — it is not residential or commercial. It is a fish market, where you are expecting large volumes of footfall on a daily basis. This means it is not only always busy, it is also going to be prone to dirt and contaminants from the outside,” Imdaad’s chief operating officer, Mahmood Rasheed, says.

The Waterfront Market is designed to be a hub for all fresh food shopping, housing butchers, vegetable traders, and dried-goods merchants, as well as fishmongers. The project is part of the Deira Enrichment Project, which aims to transform Deira into a “bustling hub of life that will add to the already rich tapestry woven by communities past and present”, according to real-estate developer Ithra Dubai.

Imdaad was awarded a three-year contract to carry out total facilities management at the Waterfront Market, “from MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing), cleaning, and waste management, down to maintaining the street outside the facility”, Rasheed says.

He goes on to explain some of the challenges Imdaad and its staff face, especially in the Fish Market zone. “It is not an easy task at the end of the day – given there is a daily auction for fresh fish in the morning. Our staff needs to be prepared before and after [the auction]. The challenge is also to control the odour from fish that is decomposing. For this, our staff is on hand 24 hours a day, [specifically] the cleaning staff – there is a lot of pressure on them,” he says.

READ: Maintaining Souq Al Jubail, Sharjah's food and livestock market

Imdaad has 22 staff working on hard service operations, 90 cleaners, and an additional two employees dedicated to provide pest control services. Rasheed also reveals that the cleaning team is equipped with street washers, street sweepers, and various other cleaning machines supplied by Tennant.

Rasheed says Imdaad works extensively to eliminate the market’s different odours. “This matter was taken into account right from the design stage, by the developers of the Waterfront Market. [To counter odours] an ozone system is in place that was deployed towards the end of April 2018, which helps to reduce unpleasant odour by 70%.

“We also use negative pressure, which is achieved through the air-conditioning system, in each zone of the market, which ensures that the smells in each zone – for instance the fruit and vegetable zone or the fish market – do not spread to the corridors or the common areas.

“The zoned negative pressure ensures a higher volume of fresh air supply into the particular zone,” he explains.

The Waterfront Market comprises of three distinct areas: the fruit and vegetable zone, the meat and poultry zone, and the fish market zone. It also has 80 retail outlets and 20 food and beverage outlets. There is parking for 1,210 cars in 770 underground spaces and 470 outdoor bays.