Dubai is ready to deal with Expo 2020 construction boom: Lootah

All buildings must be constructed using ‘green’ concrete by early 2015

Dubai Municipality is taking radical steps to ensure the city maintains its leading-edge reputation for sustainability, the civic body has said.

With the expected pre-Expo 2020 construction boom, Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, expects to see a huge influx of new materials and technologies in Dubai. But he says his department is prepared.

“We have the largest laboratory in the region, ready to check new materials and technologies are sustainable. We are open to check any material, and happy to check it fulfils our sustainability criteria,” he said.

Lootah just unveiled details of a tough new smart checking system; an emirate-wide move to using ‘green concrete’, and brief details of ‘Desert Rose’, the new Dh20 billion Emirati housing development built around sustainable principles.

He said Dubai is one of the world’s fastest growing cities, with many people simply noting the rapid rate of building. “But it’s about a lot more than just buildings, there’s a lot more projects going on, in order to fulfil the needs of the growing city,” he said.

“We already have the best standard of construction and materials in the region. Our Green Building Regulations Guide has 79 chapters, and we are working through these chapters to implement all of the directives,” he noted.

Lootah said three years ago, the Municipality decided to implement green concrete – produced without releasing or creating CO2 – after examining a number of materials in the market, and now will insist all buildings are constructed using ‘green’ concrete by early 2015.

He said the Municipality has implemented three ‘quick-fix’ sustainable solutions in buildings; insulation, solar heating and installing LED lighting. Now, he says, his department is concentrating more on the issues surrounding electricity, water and waste.

Another initiative he discussed is the launch of a ‘smart’ online checking system for project proposals. “Consultants are busy people, so we are launching a new Business Information Management (BIM) system to come between the end user and the Municipality via the internet. Quite often we will reject a proposal due to it not fulfilling the sustainability criteria, and the consultants often simply blame the Municipality rather than revealing to clients it was down to their own omissions.”

Now, consultants must log-in and virtually 'tick off' a number of criteria before a proposal is submitted to the Municipality for approval. “We had to find a better system, so now consultants cannot log their project details unless everything is correct. This makes the process easier for the Municipality; streamlining applications, and will stop consultants from incorrectly apportioning blame,” Lootah said.

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