A series of fires in Dubai’s high rise buildings over the last few years have raised questions about building safety standards in the tourism and business hub of the Middle East, prompting authorities to step up building safety regulations.
Hamid Syed, vice president & GM, UL Middle East, said “UL is an advocate for safety through the adoption of new technologies and is committed to working with local authorities, including the firefighting and protection entities, to cultivate strict accountability in the construction industry to comply with the UAE’s Fire and Life Safety Code.”
The UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, which was amended in 2017, now has a greater focus on third-party certification for building materials and will come into force in the upcoming months. By making third-party certifications mandatory, the code helps ensure that manufacturers are producing materials to high standards, which follow the guidelines for fire safety certifications as provided by internationally recognised companies like UL.
The regional technical lead, building & life safety technologies for UL Middle East, Jonathan Gonzalez said “One of the biggest concerns for the construction industry in the Middle East is cladding. If the exterior cladding contributes to the spreading of the flame, the risk of secondary fires spreading to different levels of a building becomes much higher,”
The code also demands follow-up, with site inspections, to confirm that the same materials and systems are being installed in the buildings. It also means that the guidelines for testing, installation and maintenance responsibilities need to be followed by each of the building development parties, including contractors, materials specifiers and purchasers, building owners, consultants and contractors to ensure that the cladding material is appropriately installed and maintained.
“The new UAE Fire and Life Safety Code goes a long way to drive improved safety of buildings, which protects people and property.” concluded Gonzalez.