An emphasis on quality

In the past, this column has attempted to bring some attention to a phenomenon that everyone knows about, and almost everyone would agree with - that the quality of construction in this region is, for the best part, compromised.

COMMENT, Projects

In the past, this column has attempted to bring some attention to a phenomenon that everyone knows about, and almost everyone would agree with - that the quality of construction in this region is, for the best part, compromised.

This can be backed up by a live poll taken at a recent construction summit which revealed an overwhelming opinion among delegates that the quality of much of what is being built is below standard. The result was met with gasps, followed by an outright rebuttal among the group of contractors and developers assembled on stage.

Some developers have responded positively to any suggestion that quality was being compromised, saying there are no influences over the integrity of what they are building. They've also invested a lot in building a brand that stands out in a competitive environment.

But the fact that Dubai Municipality's building department is investing in the recruitment of more than 150 engineers is testament that the authorities themselves see that there is an issue with build quality, or at least the way in which it is currently tracked. The move shows that the municipality is taking the matter seriously. Over the last few years, the authority has come up with ways of testing and monitoring the quality of materials used in buildings.

A building code is in place, and all materials listed for use in proposed construction have to undergo testing and certification from accredited laboratories before the project gets approved.

The price that consultants and contractors caught ignoring the building code could pay includes severe fines, the cancellation of a project and the loss of their trading licence.

Up until now, the main reason for some companies ‘getting away with it' has been down to the shortage of skilled engineers needed to take on the colossal task of inspecting the colossal number of construction sites.

Having more engineers to assess project speculations and conduct site visits would go a long way in raising the bar in quality. But what might help it even further is a consensus among all those involved in the construction process that lapses in quality will no longer be tolerated, and one that will hopefully push out the rogue players.

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