Sharjah buildings to have new windows, balconies

Initiative to improve safety following spate of children’s deaths as a result of falling down. (Supplied)

Sharjah authorities have decided to enact laws forcing landlords to change the windows and balconies of their old buildings to improve safety following a spate of children’s deaths as a result of falling down.

“The emirate now needs legislation to have landlords change the window and balcony structures in their old buildings to prevent further fall accidents,” said Salim Al Suwaidi, director of the Prevention and Safety Authority.

He told Sharjah Radio that the new measures would be enforced in coordination with the municipality and civil defence and that they would apply on old buildings, which lack safety standards. “This is the main cause for the recent wave of fall accidents,” he said.

He said the new specifications stipulate that all windows must be at least 120 cm high and that their locks and outer opening must be modified.

“These specifications will apply to old buildings but they need new legislations which of course will take time…we need to enforce these measures because old buildings have emerged as the main cause of child fall accidents.”

According to Abdul Aziz Al Mansouri, the municipality’s assistant director for engineering and projects, specifications of buildings under construction have already been altered. He said balconies now must be at least one metres high while windows must be equipped with automatic locks.

He said three children have been plunged to their death from their apartments this year, adding that families are also to blame for such accidents.

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