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Home / SUSTAINABILITY / Experts warn: old buildings pose a looming problem


Experts warn: old buildings pose a looming problem

by Gerhard Hope on Nov 14, 2012


Stephen Embley, Alan Collett and Bassem Salah debate demolition versus regeneration of the region's aging building stock.
Stephen Embley, Alan Collett and Bassem Salah debate demolition versus regeneration of the region's aging building stock.

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A lot of first-generation buildings in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are reaching a stage of their lifecycle where they need to be revamped, or even demolished to make way for newer buildings.

CW spoke to a range of construction industry experts about urban regeneration, and the implications for both sustainability and effective master planning.

Stephen Embley, Middle East oeprations MD at Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, says: "The older buildings, mainly from the 1970s and 1980s, are now coming to the end of  what we call their normal life.

"Up to now, market forces have meant they have just moved to another cycle. But it comes to a point where the cycle bottoms out, and you have to make a decision whether to knock it down or not."

Bassem Salah, construction director at ISG, says: "We do not have enough end users who are big enough at the moment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to drive the redevelopment of entire areas, so it is typically driven by the government rather than the private sector."

Alan Collett, president of RICS, says: "Governments can try and direct, but in the end, people will go where they want to go, and commercial success comes from meeting the needs of people who really want to be there, as opposed to people who have to be there."

Darren Bellew, UAE regional director for Faithful+Gould, says: "When you rebuild, retrofit or regenerate, you need to look at the whole lifecycle cost, and that will then throw up what your FM strategy is, and whether there is a value to demolition as opposed to rebuilding."

Read the full debate in the next issue of Construction Week magazine.


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