MVL: Dubai fire regs are among the world’s safest
Abie Musa and Karim Elshafie explain why Dubai Civil Defence’s rigorous approvals process means that customers can be 100% confident in MVL Firestop’s technologies
Fire is a risk that is taken seriously by authorities in all Middle East markets, but in Dubai – where the built environment possesses a distinctly high-rise flavour – this issue represents a perennial cause for concern.
As such, authorities including Dubai Municipality (DM) and Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) have taken a series of precautionary measures in a bid to mitigate this threat. Encouragingly, the UAE’s Ministry of Interior reported a 31% drop in fire-related accidents in 2016, citing factors such as improved response times, increased user alertness, and advanced fire prevention technologies, as driving forces behind the reduction.The updated UAE F
ire and Life Safety Code, which was launched by DCD in January 2017, is likely to further improve this situation. The 1,384-page document, which is 677 pages longer than its 2011 iteration, has been drafted in accordance with international best practice, and with reference to feedback from consultants, contractors, and local property developers.
It is within this context that MVL Firestop has developed a comprehensive suite of region-specific fire-stopping technologies. The UAE-based firm spent years securing DCD approval for its products and systems and, with a burgeoning portfolio of high-profile projects in Dubai and beyond, it is beginning to enjoy the fruits of its labour.
Abie Musa, managing director of MVL, says that while the stringent standards to which Dubai’s fire-stop suppliers must adhere may entail extra work for those companies, they are helping to create one of the safest built environments on the planet.
“The process of getting approved as a fire-stop company is a little different in Dubai than in other parts of the world,” he explains. “Elsewhere, the onus of the approvals process is on the manufacturers, which have to conduct all of the necessary testing. Once certified, contractors are free to use their materials.
“But in Dubai, DM and DCD play a pivotal role in ensuring that fire-safety protocols are both met and exceeded. They don’t take the word of the manufacturer; it is the responsibility of suppliers to ensure that the products and systems they offer have been certified by appropriate laboratories.”
To this end, all of MVL’s fire-stop technologies have been certified to Universal Laboratories (UL) standards and approved by DCD. Moreover, this approvals process extends beyond individual products to the efficacy of MVL’s systems, in situ.
“The approvals process involves two branches: products and systems,” says Musa. “All individual products, such as sealants, mortars, and so on, must be tested. But systems – wherein several individual products must work together – also have to be approved by DCD.”
This robust approvals process not only serves to increase safety, but also acts as a test to determine which companies have the wherewithal to make it as a fire-stop supplier in the Dubai market. Musa continues: “The process of getting all of your products approved by DCD is long and arduous and, because of that, it helps to filter out the firms that don’t have the gumption to see it through to its conclusion. We have seen many companies – both local and international – begin this journey only to fall by the wayside.”
Nevertheless, MVL Firestop’s hard work is beginning to pay off. As one of only four companies approved by DCD to offer a full suite of fire-stopping technologies to the Dubai market, it has already secured contracts to supply a selection of large-scale developments, including Emaar Properties’ supertall skyscraper, Marina 106.
However, as Karim Elshafie, performance materials manager at MVL Firestop, explains, his team cannot afford to become complacent. In terms of both safety and reputation, it is vital for the company to continuously monitor the installation of its fire-stopping products and systems.
“The UAE Fire and Life Safety Code stipulates that fire-stop suppliers have to use approved applicators; professionals who are equipped to install products and systems.