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05 October 2023

Civil defence to draft fire safety codes

An expert blames lack of maintenance and outdated fire fighting systems for recent fires in Dubai. (XAVIER WILSON)

By Joseph George

Dubai Civil Defence is drafting a fire and life safety codes that will be applicable to all buildings and entities under its purview.

Work on the code started six months ago and will take around two years to be fully completed.

Honeywell Life Safety (HLS), an international provider of fire systems, sensors and devices and safety products for general industrial worker segments, told Emirates Business yesterday that it is working closely with Dubai Civil Defence in drafting the codes.

"We are one of the principal editors of the code for Fire Alarm System (FAS), which is quite comprehensive focusing on automated fire detection and alarm systems, their application and their mode of operation for different types of buildings.

"Our endeavour is to tap into the latest learning, codes and best practice from Europe and the US and from the rest of the world," said Mark Fenton, Business Leader, heading the regional operations of HLS.

According to him the new codes when complete will be a leading document for the property and infrastructure sectors in the Mena.

"There are existing standards but are a little bit outdated compared to the way Dubai has changed. There are so many new tall towers in the emirate today compared to a few years ago. The Civil Defence is very proactive in its efforts to improve things and is in discussions with various industry experts in developing the new standard," said Fenton.

"It will take at least two years to complete the report but it could well come out in phases – first with towers, followed by apartments, hotels and shopping malls. Or it could be released as one document."

Fenton blamed several recent incidents of fires in Dubai on lack of maintenance and outdated fire safety system.

"Considering the recent spate of fires and accidents lately due to the sheer scale of construction, training and fire drills to prevent the same will go a long way.

"Last year alone the UAE saw a number of accidents on construction sites, industrial areas and work places," he added. The company has also developed wireless fire-alarms that can be installed in sites in an effort to detect fires in buildings under construction.

It is also planning to initiate along with Dubai Civil Defence training levels and structure programmes for fire crews, building inspectors and installers and is also involved in developing the fire safety system for Burj Dubai with Rolf Jensen and Associates (RJA), the fire and life safety consultants for Burj Dubai.

HLS operates in all the countries in the region and has been growing at more than 20 per cent annually.

"The global real estate market is certainly going through a slow down and Dubai is no exception. However, the market still remains vibrant for Honeywell. Apart from new projects we can expect several buildings to be refurnished. That is what happens usually during recession," said Fenton.

The company's manufacturing facilities are located in the US, Mexico, the UK, Italy, Russia, India and China.