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16 April 2024

The Address effect: Your building now up for inspection

By Waheed Abbas

The UAE authorities will review all the buildings across the country as part of initiative launched to make them fire-resistant.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi public institutions along with the Ministry of Interior will conducted a thorough survey of the buildings and will recommend changes if needed in internal and external installations of the buildings.

This is as per the new fire safety code which will be announced in March, said Lt. Col. Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, Director of the Preventive Safety Department at the Dubai Civil Defence.

“We are now collecting the data from the departments concerned. We are also holding workshops and having discussions with developers to collect data,” he said, adding that the announcement will be made public before the start of the survey.

This decision has been taken in the wake of recent blaze at The Address Downtown hotel fire on the New Year eve.

“From the second day of the fire, we have started meetings to solve this problem so this doesn’t occur in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah in future.

 “To find the best solution for the existing buildings, we’ll conduct survey for all buildings in the UAE. We’ll see the report and if we find an issue we will put the solution as different buildings require different solutions,” Lt. Col. Jamal said.

He also revealed that the under the new UAE regulations and norms set to be announced in March include the building owners will have to hire maintenance company or a third party to carry out maintenance of the buildings.

Under the new law, once the building has been approved by the civil defence authorities the responsibility for any fire-related incident will rest on the owner of the building.

“The law is very clear, the owner is responsible his buildings. If any building will have any issue the owner has to replace the installations.

“We will sit with the companies also to get all the solutions. For example, there are gaps in the buildings or any issue with the facades, those all will be changed,” he said.

Giving an example of Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers fire incident, he said: “We refused to change the cladding of [just] one side and asked to replace the cladding on all four sides of the building."

The building caught fire in November 2012.

Additionally, the consultants will also be part of the project from the planning stage to the completion and even a year after the project has been handed over to the owner, Lt. Col. Jamal told reporters at the Intersec press conference held in Dubai on Tuesday.

“The law will stipulate that there must be a consultant in charge responsible from A to Z – from design to the last touches, plus one extra year after the construction of the building.

“This will be part of the new regulations taking into account the regulations and proposal of the stakeholders and builders and manufacturers.”