Workers must not live at work site, warns official

Temporary workers' accommodation at construction sites will not be tolerated, a senior official has warned.

Image Credit:Andrew Reynolds Caballero/Gulf News
Labourers move some furniture at a labour accommodation in Al Quoz, Dubai. The municipality has said that accommodation for workers must adhere to set regulations and cannot be temporary.
Gulf News

Dubai: Temporary workers' accommodation at construction sites will not be tolerated, a senior official has warned.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General, Dubai Municipality, made the comment at the sidelines of an architecture award on Wednesday.

"Companies will have to adhere to the specifications that are being issued to companies with regard to labour accommodation. The civic body will not compromise on this issue," said Lootah.

Earlier, permits for temporary workers' accommodation at sites were issued by Dubai Municipality to facilitate the completion of projects on time. These permits were issued for six months and were renewable for similar periods according to the duration of the project.

They were granted by the municipality only if the contracting companies adhered to the strict requirements for sleeping quarters, dining facilities, drinking water, toilets, waste removal, pest control and first aid.

"A few years ago, there was a need for this temporary labour accommodation to be built on project sites, but today there is no need. All labourers have moved into permanent labour accommodation," Lootah said.

Dubai Municipality has introduced certain improvements in the existing list of specifications for workers' accommodation sites. Engineering designs will have to be submitted to the civic body prior to obtaining a building permit for such a site.

Specifications include providing at least 40-square foot of space for every labourer staying in labour accommodation, and at least one bathroom for every eight labourers - which is the maximum number of labourers that can be accommodated in one room.

According to the civic body, these and other improvements were explained to the engineering consultant offices in Dubai via a circular. The circular stipulated that no temporary structures shall be used in labour accommodation. Any material that contains asbestos or which is harmful to the environment or public health should not be used. The flooring should be made of non-slippery material that is easy to clean.

The circular, also states labour accommodation should include furniture such as a single bed and clothes cabinet for each labourer. As in all other residential buildings, there should be enough ventilation, natural or artificial light, thermal insulation, drainage, a water supply, and a gas and electric supply.

All rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and other halls should be air-conditioned. The common service areas such as the kitchen, multi-purpose halls for dining, the first-aid room, and other services rooms should be on the ground floor itself.

"As I have mentioned before, part of the responsibility to maintain health and hygiene at these accommodation sites also lays with the labourers themselves. We have to educate them on this aspect. A lot of companies are providing standard accommodation, but the labourers are misusing these facilities like for example breaking doors and windows," said Lootah.