In October 2013, when SUMMA Turizm Yatirimciligi A.S. signed its design-build contract for the $68.3-million Dakar International Congress Center in Senegal, the race began to produce the 14,270-sq-meter project in just one year.

For most jobs, design alone would take a year, says Arif Alperen Kibar, the Istanbul-based SUMMA's project coordinator. The team would likely not have met its October 2014 completion deadline without its strategy of super-fast-tracked design-build delivery.

The time constraint meant initiating concurrent design and construction-including almost immediate mobilization-from the start of the contract. That was the most intense challenge, says Kibar. Other challenges included variable and unpredictable durations for shipping materials from Turkey; communication between the design team in Turkey and approval authorities in Senegal; and the outbreak of the Ebola virus. Though no one fell ill, Turkish workers were uneasy, and newcomers were tough to find.

The contemporary architecture was inspired by the locale and flora of the west coast of central Africa, including the baobab trees. Metal envelopes and twisted blades covering the collection of buildings protect inner glass walls, reducing the heat gain and energy consumption.

Calling the design ";very innovative"; for the location and ";a tremendous achievement in a tough environment,"; the judges also were impressed by the amount of coordination required for the international workforce, including 60% of workers from Turkey. Further, the judges were amazed by the short construction period.

SUMMA's approach, which it has employed on many of its remote projects, was to form a team in Istanbul as well as an on-site construction team. The Istanbul team was responsible for design, master-planning, materials purchasing and manufacturing, the assignment of subcontractors and all logistics.

SUMMA convinced Turk Eximbank to finance the project partially, in the form of a loan to Senegal's government. A stipulation, which complicated budgetary matters, was that materials had to be of Turkish origin, even if they were not price-competitive.

Mobilization materials, site-management staff and labor were gradually sent to Dakar within three months of the contract signing. Many materials were transported to Senegal from Turkey in containers as partial shipments. The trips' duration varied according to the route of the selected vessel, creating unexpectedly early or late arrivals at the site; to meet this challenge, the order of the work was shifted, if possible.

The center's buildings are either framed in structural steel-fabricated in Turkey and exported to Dakar-or made from cast-in-place reinforced concrete. The selection of steel versus concrete was the outcome of the optimization for time versus cost, says SUMMA.

Steel erection started within four months of contract signing. About 2,000 tons of steel was designed, fabricated and delivered in less than five months, even though shipping took as long as two months, counting the time for clearing customs. SUMMA's team completed the project in time for the 15th Francophonie Conference, held last Nov. 29-30.

Project Team

Owner: Delegation Generale a l'Organisation de la 15eme Conference de la Francophonie

Design-Build Contractor: SUMMA Turizm Yatirimciligi A.S.

Lead Designer: Tabanlioglu Architects

Structural Engineer: Meinhardt Turkey

Civil Engineer: Ekiz Engineering

Mechanical Engineer: Okutan Engineering

Electrical Engineer: Yurdakul Engineering