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Sounds of the summer

Now August is over, life in the Middle East is slowly starting to return to normal. Those that escaped for their annual summer break are practically all back at work and school; the traffic has almost reached it's pre-holiday jam level; and the garish yellow statues of Modesh are surely about to vanish from the Dubai streets.

Now August is over, life in the Middle East is slowly starting to return to normal. Those that escaped for their annual summer break are practically all back at work and school; the traffic has almost reached it's pre-holiday jam level; and the garish yellow statues of Modesh are surely about to vanish from the Dubai streets.

And in the MEP sector, the arrival of September has meant further changes.

The mid-day break work ban is now officially over for another year, with continual daytime outdoor working resuming. As our special feature Shade seekers explains, this other annual event in the region appears to be proving more successful by the year.

Introduced as a measure to increase health and safety on construction sites during the height of summer by targeting a reduction in the number of heat-related illnesses and injuries, reports of the 2008 results appear positive.

Early figures from the Ministry of Labour claim that around 99% of firms in Abu Dhabi have complied with the legislation this year, with 99.7% of Sharjah-based firms ensuring that outdoor work ceased during the mid-day break.

The more important reports, perhaps, are those from the local hospitals stating that in general the number of patients seeking treatment for heat-related illnesses has fallen. And according to those contractors polled, the effect on project programs has been negligible or in many cases non-existant.

Much of this is down to pre-planning, with firms altering their work schedules to suit the demands of their project programs as well as the local laws. The lack of time lost due to worker illness has got to have proved beneficial to all as well.

But the summer is not finished yet. Those who have been in the region for anything more than a year know that there is at least a month, if not two, of heat and humidity still to be faced.

Even once the winter begins in earnest, there's no denying the fact that the temperatures here are relatively higher than in many other regions of the world all year round. And the continual sunshine comes hand-in-hand with a lack of rainfall.

This means that the knowledge and experience of MEP professionals is needed even more here than in many other countries just so that people and firms can function at their most effective.

The new UAE water conservation law being pencilled in for an official launch within the next year is a step in the right direction as the region struggles to match the growing demand for potable water with the availability.

Acting now to ensure that all buildings - old and new - use the latest conservation products is surely the next move that needs to be made in order for realistic targets to be met.

Alison Luke is the editor of Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Middle East.

RELATED LINKS: Shade seekers, New water conservation law for UAE

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