Dubai beefs up fire regs

Buildings under construction to feel the heat with the new, detailed regulations.

Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi
Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi

The director of Dubai Civil Defence has announced the implementation of the revised fire regulations for buildings under construction.

In an exclusive interview with facilities Management Middle East at last month's Intersec exhibition, Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi said companies would soon have to comply with a new "checklist" based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

"The new regulations are more detailed and support the original law by the introduction of sub-sections. It will force companies to adhere to a minimum standard in safety requirements for buildings under construction.

As well as human lives being considered, the building will now be protected too," said Brigadier Matrooshi.

The directive requires that a safety officer must be assigned to each project under construction and be responsible for onsite safety and worker safety training.

Other requirements include ensuring flammable products are stored far away from areas under construction and if kept inside, are protected with fire extinguishers situated close by.

Staircases will also have to be kept clear to avoid unnecessary obstruction in case of an evacuation.

Brigadier Matrooshi said the regulations are due to come into force over the next couple of months, but had been in circulation among industry professionals for the past six months to ensure smooth compliance.

Asked how Dubai Civil Defence intends on managing the new directive, Brigadier Matrooshi said: "The safety officer will act as a contact between the project and Civil Defence and will report back to Civil Defence on a regular basis.

"This person will be employed by the project and then trained and certified as a safety officer by Civil Defence. That certification will be renewed every year.

Marc Leguin, managing director of Fire Fighting Consultants, which worked with Dubai Civil Defence on the regulations, said: "We wanted people to get conscious of the fact that any job can be at risk of a fire. By creating a checklist of requirements companies will comply to international standards and the Civil Defence will have a detailed report on that project in case a fire breaks out.

Dubai has been hit with several high-profile construction site fires in the past year, which have claimed a number of workers' lives.

In one of the worst incidents, four labourers lost their lives while over 60 others were injured when a fire broke out in the Fortune Tower under construction on Sheikh Zayed Road in January 2007.

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