Project Planning and the Twin Towers

Twin Towers Project

In many developing countries including Malaysia, project planning has been criticized by the World Bank and other organizations for the lack of executing projects, such as delays, corruption, etc. However, project planning is becoming an “increasingly important role in the public administration of developing countries” and “have become critical components of development assistance and basic building blocks in the development process” (Rondinelli 1). In every project planning, there is a basic process, and this process is called the project planning and management cycle which consists of twelve stages.

As many may know, the Petronas Twin Towers is one of the biggest and most successful mega projects in Malaysia, as it helps create a refine image for Kuala Lumpur, increasing attraction for many tourists.

STAGES OF PROJECT PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT CYCLE

1. The first stage of this project planning and management cycle is Project Identification and Definition. In this stage, microanalysis and macro analysis are performed, including set up of immediate and long-range objectives, identification of beneficiary groups or target areas. When Tun Mahathir, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister took office, he had a vision to make Malaysia prosperous, through the increase of investments, tourism, manufacturing etc. He wanted to put Malaysia in the world map, and by establishing a high rise office building, preferably one of the tallest in the world, Malaysia would be known. That was the micro and macro analysis. By having foreign investments and investors, with the increase in tourism, it would help with the growth of the Malaysian economy.

2. The second stage is Project Formulation, Preparation, and Feasibility Analysis. In this stage, the location is researched and identified, along with its objectives and financing planning. The land where the Twin Towers now stand belonged to the Selangor Turf Club. It was the perfect location to place the Twin Towers as this land was located in the center of Kuala Lumpur. T. Ananda Krishnan, a club member and a well-known businessman in Malaysia bought the entire site. Ananda Krishnan did not want the most expensive real estate project to be owned entirely by him and he wanted to develop a property where some Malay has participation in. The only company with the financial resources to do so was PETRONAS, and it bought half of his share.

3. The third stage is Project Design, which composed of the actual blueprint of the project, identifying the potential project manager, etc. Ananda Krishnan suggested holding an international competition for the design of the development. Big names from Japan, U. S, and Britain joined; however, the design that wowed Tun Mahathir was a design from Cesar Pelli (Argentinean architect). The design featured two very tall towers surrounded by lesser towers, a shopping complex and a garden.

Tun Mahathir, along with other ministers wanted the towers to have an identifiably Malaysian shape and to incorporate Islamic features. Tun Mahathir requested the building’s base should have the shape of an eight-pointed star, and as the building grew higher, it should become smaller and smaller. The eight-pointed star was a common Islamic architectural pattern which Tun noticed that much of the Moroccan architecture included this eight-pointed star. Tun also suggested that the building should stand on two overlapping squares because great historic buildings of the classical Islamic world had this.

4. The fourth stage is the Project Appraisal, and this is where the cost and benefit analysis is done, along with analyzing the cost estimates, who will fund the project, etc. As mentioned earlier, the PETRONAS and Ananda Krishnan the mega build. However, later on, since the two towers were split between PETRONAS and Ananda Krishnan, Ananda decided to sell his share to PETRONAS. Tun Mahathir wanted PETRONAS to fund this project was because he didn’t want to solely use the government’s money which is finalized and distributed by the Ministry of Finance. Tun Mahathir didn’t want Malaysia to be in debt, that’s why he managed to get PETRONAS to buy the shares.

5. The fifth stage is Project Selection, Negotiation, and Approval. This stage is where the Project Management Officer (PMO) is selected, with reviewed appraisal report, proposed conditions, and recommended design changes. For the Towers project, the PMO was M. Hilme Hassan. Under his leadership and others, such as the operating officer of KLCCB, they decided to bring in two construction teams for the Towers. This was to reduce any delays which would become costly in the construction. One tower was awarded to Mayjaus Joint-Venture, led by Japan's Hazama Corporation, and the second tower was awarded to SKJ Joint Venture which was led by Samsung Engineering & Construction Co. Working on both towers separately, they managed to construct these towers, including the sky bridge within 24-25 months.

6. The next stage is Project Activation and Organization. This stage consisted of adapting or redesigning project components to conform to negotiated agreements, and to recruit, select, and approve project managers and staff. The four main project managers which held different responsibilities for the development of the PETRONAS Twin Towers were Ragupathy, Hashimah Hashim, M. Hilme Hassan and Mohamad A. Jamal. Hashimah Hashim stated that one of the most revolutionary step made was in using concrete instead of the conventional steel in the construction of the columns and core walls of the towers. She also explained that “the Twin Towers deviated from most high-rise buildings in the world in that most buildings use steel members in its construction, but "we opted for concrete since it was a local material that could be produced easily" (PETRONAS Twin Towers, 3).

7. The next stage is the Project Implementation and Operation. Implementation has always been the most challenging part for project planning and management. This stage consists of creating public information programs for constituents and beneficiaries, establishing problem-solving and trouble-shooting procedures. As mentioned above, to save cost of raw materials and resources, the PMO and other operation officers used concrete, a raw material that Malaysia has rather than steel. It took 37 months of sheer hard work from all the companies that contributed in helping construct the PETRONAS Twin Towers. After the cladding was finished, including the sky-bridge, Tun Mahathir came up with the slogan “Malaysia Boleh” as he launched the opening of the Twin Towers on August 31st, 1999.

8. The second last stage of the cycle is the Project Completion or Termination and Output Diffusion which consists of the beginning of scale down activities and transfer of assets and resources, etc. Tower one is fully occupied by PETRONAS and a number of its subsidiaries and associate companies. A number of companies have offices in Tower Two, including Huawei Technologies, AVEVA, Al Jazeera English, Carigali Hess, Bloomberg, Boeing, IBM, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, McKinsey & Co, TCS, HCL Technologies, Krawler, Microsoft, The Agency (a modeling company) and Reuters. Apart from this, Suria KLCC, the mall, have numerous of retail shops and other activities such as Aquaria, KL Convention Center which hosts a lot of events, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. All these things become huge assets for the Twin Towers and at the end of the day, the Twin Towers are profitable.

9. The final stage of project planning and management cycle is the Project Evaluation and Follow-Up Analysis which consists of performing on-site audition, engaging external evaluators, etc. According to a journal by Shen Wilke, he stated that the “PETRONAS Twin Towers represents the world’s largest, single-site, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network, and the network supports approximately 7,000 user workstations connected to over 200 155 Megabits per second (Mbps) ATM fiber optic backbones. ” As a result of the Twin Towers, Malaysia has become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia with the increase of tourism and foreign investments. The Twin Towers has also hosted numerous events such as concerts for Formula One, and Oil and Gas Summits.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Tun Mahathir has successful put Malaysia on the world map with the innovation of the PETRONAS Twin Towers. Malaysia has now become a hub for entertainment as concerts and events are held on the grounds of the Twin Towers. Number of retail shops has also entered Suria KLCC, increasing the attraction for tourists. Hotels which are located there are always fully booked during the holidays, especially New Years as the main fireworks show are located at the back of the Twin Towers, at the KLCC Park. Overall, the developments of the Twin Towers have succeeded and thanks to the developers and the vision of Tun Mahathir, Malaysia is now one of the fastest growing economies.