The construction industry's date to remember

As groundbreaking regulation comes into force, New Year's day 2008 will forever be remembered in the construction industry as the day its world changed.

Gulf Consult, COMMENT, Business

With the dawn of the New Year came a set of regulations that will completely change the face of the construction industry in the UAE - New Year's Day 2008 marked the start of new regulations governing sustainable building.

Since the official announcement in November last year that the regulations were on their way, a slew of developers have come forward with their own proclamations of establishing' green building' advisory groups, while press releases announcing new projects have been filled with connotations that the finished product will encompass everything needed to be sustainable.

In our 'on site talk' column this week, Mohammed Azad Hossain of Gulf Consult in Kuwait talks about how the past 20 years have seen a growing realisation that the current model of development is unsustainable.

He also says that while developers might procrastinate over the cost of constructing green buildings, they should think about the satisfaction that could be gleaned from their work being rubber-stamped with a coveted LEED Platinum rating. It's inevitable that doing the right thing for the environment in the long-term will evolve into becoming what will probably be the construction industry's most powerful marketing tool.

Judging by the way the market operates in this region, almost every developer will be joining the rush to get their projects marked with a LEED Platinum rating.

One green building expert recently described it as being 'the Ferrari of the green building industry'.

The process of going for Platinum might be cumbersome and costly, but having such a status would be akin to winning an Oscar, and would no doubt end up being very profitable.

The process of building green will inevitably pose many challenges. Construction methods will have to adapt, as will the mindset of all those involved in a project. Project timeframes and costs will also need to be reviewed, as will ensuring a skilled workforce is in place.

But having such stringent guidelines in place - the compulsory regulation and the LEED rating system - will spur the green building movement on, and will hopefully create a model for other GCC states to aspire to.

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