UAE | Housing & Property

New rules in Sharjah to address safety in high rises

Authorities want higher balconies and childproof windows in buildings

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 March 6, 2012
  • Gulf News

A covered balcony
  • Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives
  • A covered balcony. A Sharjah Municipality official said tenants’ safety net plan will be submitted to Sharjah Civil Defence to ensure that the alterations do not pose a fire hazard. Tenants face a Dh250 fine for not obtaining permission.

Sharjah: The municipality announced on Monday a new set of safety rules in high rise residential buildings that will be implemented within the next three months.

"The new rules were made in order to put a stop to children falling out from balconies and windows. The specifications will be put into effect once it is published in the municipality's regulation book for high rise buildings, which will happen sometime in the next three months," said Sultan Al Mualla, Director General of Sharjah Municipality.

The new rules will make building owners to increase the balcony height to at least 1.2 metres instead of one metre and that windows should be child-proof so that without the aid of an adult, they may only be opened at a maximum width of 10 centimetres.

The initiative was made after five children plunged to their deaths last year after falling from balconies and windows in high rise buildings across various areas in Sharjah.

Advice

"When the first accident happened, we repeatedly advised all residents not to leave furniture near windows, but that advice was ignored," said Al Mualla, pointing out that more children's deaths continued to occur because parents left their children unattended. "Such warnings were not enough and as we want to prevent these accidents from happening again, we decided to introduce these new specifications so that children will be safe at all times," he said.

Once the new edition of Sharjah Municipality's Regulation Book is published, the window and balcony specifications will be immediately enforced in all new buildings under construction in the emirate of Sharjah.

Seeking attention

"Afterwards, we will place advertisements in newspapers to call the attention of building owners to modify their building's safety standard," Al Mualla noted.

He stressed that the municipality will organise inspection campaigns in residential areas to ensure that owners are complying with the regulations, and that the window locks have been installed.

However, Al Mualla pointed out that building owners will be required to seek the municipality's approval for any of these modifications to ensure that they are following the regulations, and do not diminish the safety of residents or the aesthetic view of the city.

He also added that frequent inspection is being carried out to ensure that balconies are not used as a storage rooms since children can climb on objects and fall down, in addition to posing as a fire hazard.

Comments (19)

  1. Added 10:51 March 6, 2012

    It is really very nice efforts, but on windows there should be a safety grills, and balconies height should be more(as already increased) but there must be some relexation in charges of municipality approvals for building so every owner directly go and do these safety measures. Wish all children Safe and Sound

    atiq, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 10:33 March 6, 2012

    This is a very good decision by the Sharjah Authorities, i really appreciate them with the implementation of a new set of rules. precious life of children can be saved...... hats off to them

    vaseem, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 09:14 March 6, 2012

    Enclosed Balcony is the better option for the all buildings as open balcony cannot be used for purpose like storage item, hanging clothes to dry, etc.

    Abhit, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 09:02 March 6, 2012

    This is good ! Well done Sharjah!

    ASNA, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 08:50 March 6, 2012

    These rules will definitely reduce the number of accidents happening with children, but making such laws mandatory is not the only solution. The parents should make sure that their children are well aware of possible hazards. By enforcing such laws, families with no or elder children will have to follow this law without no apparent reason. This idea is good, but it should be optional and not mandatory.

    Sarim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 08:40 March 6, 2012

    Very good move indeed. I had just bought safety clips/locks for windows from IKEA in Children's section and installed it by myself a few days back.

    mohammad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 08:31 March 6, 2012

    as if 20 cm will make a difference. my solution: tough punishments for parents who leave their children unsupervised while they take a trip to the mall or else!

    Jenny, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 08:27 March 6, 2012

    The new rules by Sharjah Muncipality will be applied in next three months is good. at least for child safety, something is better then nothing.

    Abdul Ateeque, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 08:18 March 6, 2012

    The new regulation shows how much the authorities care for their residents. We are confident that the new campaigns/ regulations will make homes safer for the children. The current awareness campaigns also made parents aware of child safety and also how to block the accident prone areas.

    Gulam Hamdani Khan , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 08:16 March 6, 2012

    Better late than never. A good move by Sharjah Municipality to ensure child safety. Furthermore, doors opening to the balcony should also be installed with certain mechanism that children are not able to open them by themselves.

    MAK, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  11. View more comments

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