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How do GCC's healthcare codes affect contractors?

CWO outlines how healthcare design and construction stipulations in the GCC impact the region's contracting sector

Dubai could require 1,500 beds by 2020. [Representational image]
Dubai could require 1,500 beds by 2020. [Representational image]

Investments in healthcare infrastructure will have to be increased to meet growing demand for medical services in the GCC. 

Dubai's private sector healthcare providers are expected to provide 1,500 beds by 2020, according to Colliers International's research. 

This demand could translate into an investment of almost $1.5bn (AED5.51bn).  

Specialist construction systems are likely to emerge as a result of this demand, an official ICME Healthcare, a medical consultancy and management firm, said. 

“One of the critical components across all healthcare design now is infection control,” Mike Barns, senior project manager and architect at ICME, explained. 

Design and construction standards in the GCC also shape the regional healthcare sector, Barns added.

"There are a number of international standards, and a number of local standards managed independently by individual countries, which set out what materials can be used to create building finishes such as floors, walls, desk surfaces, and so on," he continued. 

"The key document comes from the United States, and its infection control regulations have been adopted pretty well in the UAE.

“These set out such things as materials that will resist fungus, fungal growth and resist spores multiplying.

"In all of the new hospitals that have been designed and built, in the UAE in particular, and also in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman these infection control guidelines and requirements steer the selection of materials that's available for designers to use.” 

Additionally, contractors are now obliged to use the exact specified materials, or get their recommended alternatives certified at an additional cost.

"A designer may specify three options for the contractor to supply, so he can go out and get alternative prices from those three suppliers,” Barns explained.

"But if he wants to go beyond those suppliers, there's a lot of pressure on him to show that the alternative supplier meets the healthcare standards that are put in place."  

Barns is one of the panelists expected at Dubai's Middle East Covering and the Middle East Stone exhibitions, to be held between 23 and 26 May.

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Construction Week - Issue 764
May 31, 2020