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Glass federation to lobby for standardised codes

When we go as federation and say that we speak for the industry, it will be heard Nigel Rees, Glass and Glazing Federation. (SUPPLIED)

By Sona Nambiar

The Glass and Glazing Federation (Gulf) is aiming to target a 25-strong membership to form a body and lobby the UAE Government for standardisation of glass codes, according to its chief executive.

"One of the issues here is that manufacturers and processors work to very high technical standards but they are all different – American, Japanese, British or European. The idea of the federation is to bring the industry together and give them a single set of standards that everyone works to – so that it becomes easier for architects and specifiers to understand how they were comparing companies and it is a way of promoting those companies that promote themselves as high quality as opposed to those outside the grouping," said Nigel Rees, Chief Executive and National Secretary, Glass and Glazing Federation.

The aim is to find a single voice. "We can be a single voice in the Middle East. In the UK, if a single company tries to go and speak to the government, it will not be heard. But when we go as federation and say that we speak for the industry, it will be heard," he told Emirates Business in an exclusive interview.

The Gulf chapter of the federation was set up two and a half years ago. It has 12 members [companies] from the industry in the GCC.

"There is also some interest in Egypt and Syria. The aim is a single standard that the glass industry can work with in the region and hence there is no boundary to the membership in the region. We had a workshop yesterday and got around 15 participants," said Rees, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Facade Design and Engineering 2010.

"The industry is very open to the idea and we have still not met a company that has refused to hear us. We are hoping to reach 20-25 companies to be a strong and sound base, which would take us another 18 months to two years. We have sat down with the Abu Dhabi Standardisation Authority and had a positive response. The next move is to look at meetings in Dubai but more towards the regulation side, namely Dubai Municipality. We have used the knowledge of our members within the region and can assist in the overall technical work and the standardisation but it will be an open debate as to what will really be needed in this part of the world."

Meanwhile, Richard Gulliver, Chairman, Technical Committee, Glass and Glazing Federation, Gulf, said that clients need to look at using high performance glass. Cutting down construction costs in the initial run does not help in a good return on investments in the long run. "Since the start of the downturn, we found that clients don't want to spend as much as they wanted to on the cost of the building and glass is the area that they reduce costs," said Gulliver. "They want something that will save them costs in the initial run but will cost a lot of money in the long run. These studies show that a building with a 10,000 sqm façade and using high performance glass will save around Dh24 million over 20 years based on today's energy prices."


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