JENSEN HUGHES: Venetian Macau

System overhaul of a resort

By Jensen Hughes August 17, 2015

Engineering firm: JENSEN HUGHES
2015 MEP Giants rank: 13
Project: Venetian Macau
Address: Cotai, Macau, China
Building type: Hotel/motel/resort
Project type: System overhaul
Engineering services: Commissioning, retro-commissioning; Fire, life safety
Project timeline: 1/1/2014 to 5/15/2015
MEP/FP budget: $5,090,863


The Cotai Strip is a new gaming vision begun in China in 2004, which reclaimed land located between the islands of Coloane and Taipa and transformed it into a mega resort. To take this earthly property from underwater to commissioned for occupancy in just 3 yr is quite a remarkable feat. It brings together 600,000 sq ft of gaming space; 3,000 all-suite hotel rooms; a 15,000-seat sports arena; retail space for 350 stores; and 1.2 million sq ft of convention space, parking, mechanical, and office support. JENSEN HUGHES was brought in to provide third-party services for the local fire department, installing approximately 3,600 smoke and heat detectors, 5,200 control and monitor modules, 9,800 audible devices, 6,200 strobes, 100,000 sprinkler heads, 25 peer-to-peer fire alarm panels, 207 amplifier panels, 416 power-booster panels, 4 deluge systems, and much more.


A key element was to break down the massiveness of the project into manageable pieces. The Venetian Macao project was divided into five major zones:

  1. Podium—six levels of gaming, retail, restaurants, mechanical areas, offices, and rooftop golf course
  2. Energy, congress, event center—meeting and ballrooms, arena, electrical substation, and plant
  3. Expo center—six main exposition/convention halls and parking
  4. Hotel tower—guest suites and related spaces
  5. External works—tower, retail buildings, pool, and lagoon.

From these, each zone was divided into multiple subzones. Most major zones were separated by fire-resistant construction. These fire-resistant separations were provided to meet egress needs, evacuation-signaling zoning, smoke control, fire-zone limitations, and other code requirements. The final key element was to stress the importance of staged zone completions so that design reviews, inspections, and commission testing could occur in a manageable manner. JENSEN HUGHES worked closely with the resort’s construction-management team to understand their priorities. The success of this project hinged on effective communications and project management.


Design reviews, inspection of appliance placement during construction, testing, and commissioning were the order of business. After each subzone was tested, the interface operations for all subzones and adjacent major zones were verified. Although this required redundant testing in some areas, it did provide commissioning to go forward in an efficient manner. This commissioning effort could not have been accomplished without proper planning. Equally important was the interface with the local fire department and other government agencies. The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China, opened as scheduled on Aug. 28, 2007. This date was chosen based on feng shui principles of success. JENSEN HUGHES overcame the odds to achieve life safety success on a grand scale.