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Dubai is getting its developers and landlords think serious about quality and sustainability benchmarks. The new star rating system for buildings will ensure that. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai has gone live with its one- to four-star rating systems, which assesses each building in the emirate on a set of well-defined parameters. There is also a brand new rating that developers and landlords can aspire for – a ‘4Plus’ awarded to buildings that meet all the other criteria plus those related to sustainability features.

The 4Plus was introduced in line with the UAE’s commitment towards meeting global targets on climate change and emissions. As of now, about 1 per cent of Dubai’s buildings are in the 4Plus category.

The star rating system provides an incentive for building owners to try and aim for a higher category, informed sources say. As of now, 4 Star ratings have been assigned to around 20 per cent of existing buildings.

How many are there?

There are currently 18,000 buildings in Dubai assigned with a rating. These include residential buildings, offices and other real estate types. But villas and government buildings are excluded from the ratings as are hotels, because the latter have their own classifications. (In all, around 10,000 building structures are exempt from the rating, including DEWA substations.)

“This is an attempt towards quality upgrades, for older buildings to go in for changes to ensure they scale up to current benchmarks,” said a source closely associated with the rating process.

Why Dubai's star ratings matter
A star classification system based on engineering efficiency and design parameters will help guide property buyers and tenants as to what the pricing should be. At the same time, the ratings will also help explain the differentials in pricing between buildings in the same area.

"Clearly, there will be some sort of reviews/appeals system that will be built in to the system allowing for developers and owners associations to improve ratings," said an industry source. "However it shines a light on multiple issues in the industry relating to quality and upkeep and is thus a well-timed initiative as the market matures."

View the ratings

For the developer to know where he stands on the ratings, he has log onto the Dubai REST app and download the report, free of charge. If the data associated with the building is in need of updating, a request can be put in for Dh500. This will lead to a site visit by the concerned authorities and a new report will be issued in two days.

“In the case of freehold buildings, the ratings provide a clear window for investors to see what they are buying into,” said a developer. “The Dubai Land Department has assigned benchmarks that are comprehensive and will give developers more incentives to raise their game.”

Full-scale survey
Dubai Land Department recently completed a Building Classification Survey that saw all 150,000 plots in the emirate being covered.

Here are the hard facts - this entailed classifying 28,835 buildings, 102,523 villas, 61,321 empty plots, 773 parking plots, and 6,943 buildings that are under construction.

4Plus a gamechanger

The latest addition to the ratings, the 4Plus, will prove decisive going forward. Developers in the UAE are veering towards including the latest sustainability features into their projects and not only focus on the design and interiors quality of their properties. The issue of carbon footprints and associated environmental aspects will all figure in the 4Plus classification.