Abu Dhabi: A new international standard building code, that will take into account fire safety concerns, is being considered in Abu Dhabi.
Part of the development of the new code and standards is a study into conformity schemes for the types of materials used in doors and cladding for new buildings.
“We do expect those conformity schemes to be ready in the early part of next year,” Saeed Al Muhairi, executive director of Quality Infrastructure Services at the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council(QCC), said on Wednesday.
“Our market is open so we’ve got products coming from Europe, Asia, America, now which one should we use and which ones should we ban? If we specify a standard then everyone will comply with that and I will not welcome any product that doesn’t meet the standards, so we need to include the standards within the building code,” he said.
Al Muhairi added that the implementation of such a code and set of standards will improve safety conditions in Abu Dhabi.
“We want to make sure that the incidents we have registered in the history of Abu Dhabi and the UAE [are not repeated],” he said.
The new code is currently under study by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) and the QCC, where specifics on the standards will be ironed out.
It is expected to address concepts in design and construction, with a serious look into the implementation process, said Fatma Amer, consultant for building codes and construction with the DMA.
“A building is beautiful and it’s wonderful and it has got enough exits, but if you’re talking about the pipes for example, there’s no fire stoppage and a fire can move from one floor to the other,” she said explaining the kind of details the code would be looking into.
“While the code we’re introducing is American-based, we are trying to create in the market all the equivalent standards, any acceptable equivalent standards to the American standards will be used.”
A date hasn’t been announced yet on when the code will be mandated.
“We are working on deciding what is the date for a mandate, this way we make sure the industry is ready, our staff in the municipalities are ready, our technical schemes that we’re building with QCC for the control of material and testing labs are ready,” she said.
This comes in light of a recent spate of fires in the UAE such as the one that broke out last month at Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai, displacing hundreds of families, and the blaze at the Saif Belhasa building in Tecom, Dubai.
Al Muhairi said that while the code is going to be at an emirate level, the QCC will push for it to be the standard throughout the country.
The code is going to be on a three-year basis that will be updated and reviewed, along with a special inspection requirement.
Last month, Gulf News reported that a new national fire safety code had been amended to bar the future application of highly flammable exterior cladding panels on medium- and high-rise towers.
Annexures to the new UAE Fire and Life Safety Code spell out new rules banning non-fire-rated panels from high-rise towers to reduce the fire risk in residential buildings.