Dubai's green buildings about collaboration and regulation

August's Build it Green Dubai seminar in the City Hall building of Dubai Municipality saw representatives from WSP and the Building Department of Dubai Municipality outline the legislative framework that will guide Dubai in its challenge to build and manage green buildings.

COMMENT, Facilities Management

August's Build it Green Dubai seminar in the City Hall building of Dubai Municipality saw representatives from WSP and the Building Department of Dubai Municipality outline the legislative framework that will guide Dubai in its challenge to build and manage green buildings.

Unlike LEED, BREEAM, Estidama, Green Star or any of the other 250-odd sustainability assessment tools currently in use around the world, Dubai's system of "Mandatory Progression"? will be based not on arbitrary recommendations or point systems, but on stringent, enforceable rules. On the government side, Dubai Municipality will create a specialised office to oversee management and enforcement of said rules.

"Rating systems are marketing tools that people use to put a plaque on the wall," said Susan Rogers, project manager for the Green Building Regulatory Project. "Regulations are mandatory and they are stringent."

Mandatory Progression will be implemented in four tiers, ultimately culminating in Dubai becoming the world standard for green buildings and sustainable development. Tier 1, to be defined later this year, is enforceable from January 2009 and it will detail the minimum basic guidelines to which everyone in the industry must adhere. However, panic need not ensue.

According to Tim Armstrong, project director of the Green Building Regulatory Project and LEED certified engineer for WSP, Tier 1 regulations are so basic that anyone currently conducting responsible design or construction will be largely unaffected.

Designed with a rare degree of flexibility, Mandatory Progression will focus on green design for new buildings and green performance for existing ones. According to Rogers, the regulations within Mandatory Progression may align with credits from the more popular rating systems and thus, the tools will progress on "parallel tracks"

WSP adopted the more stringent regulation-based tool partly in response to Sheikh Mohammed's October 2007 decree, but also, to break the "circle of blame", in which end-users, designers, architects and engineers all point to one another as the main obstacle in building greener buildings.

Jeff Roberts is the editor of facilities management Middle East.

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