Projects face redesign to meet green regulations

Green building laws may force some designs back to drawing board, official says.

Sustainability standards: new green rules for building
Sustainability standards: new green rules for building

Some projects may face a redesign in order to fall in line with new green building standards set to be enforced in January.

Under the instruction of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai, all buildings in the emirate will have to be constructed according to international green building principles.

According to Mohammed Ali, design department, Dubai Municipality, the main focus will be on the efficient use of energy and the type of materials used in construction.

"All designs won't have to go back to the drawing board, but some may. We have been working on these regulations for a while now," he said.

"The use of solar power will be a big point, while the type of materials used in buildings will be specified, such as using recycled plastic when possible. The use of wood is also going to be discouraged."

The regulations will be implemented in phases, with separate laws for buildings that have already been built, those that are under construction or those that are in the design stage.

"The phases will look at private developments, new and existing developments, government buildings and the urban fabric," said a committee member working on the legislation, who wished to remain unnamed.

"The legislation will provide for buildings that have already been designed, and will depend on how much of an impact it will have in terms of redesign."

But with only two months left for the industry to align itself with the new standards, it could fall short of time, as well as have difficulty implementing the laws.

"It is unlikely that all buildings will be green by 1 January 2008, however those that have not started construction may be subject to some changes," said Colin Hill, technical director of engineering and design consultancy firm, Otak.

"The extent of those changes will depend on a number of issues, including how much of the building has been sold, how long it would take to implement changes and the effect on the construction schedule. Each case will need to be reviewed on its own merit."

But some in the industry don't think the changes would affect them too much as the shift towards green building has been in the pipeline for a while.

"I think most contractors are already aware of the imminent changes and know what they have to do and how to do it," said Philippe Dessoy, general manager, Besix.

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