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Enforcing regulations can counter building fires in Middle East

Lack of local regulations is the reason for fire and safety failures in the Middle East, according to Lucia Ortega, senior consultant at Jensen Hughes

Lucia Ortega, senior consultant atJensen Hughes.
Lucia Ortega, senior consultant atJensen Hughes.

The lack of local regulations is the main factor for fire and safety failures in the Middle East, according to Lucia Ortega, senior consultant at Jensen Hughes.

Ortega was speaking at the Safety Design in Buildings event held in Oman on 6 November, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza in Muscat.

Talking about the problems she has encountered in buildings and projects in the Middle East, Ortega said: "There was a lack of local regulations during the period which the majority of buildings in Dubai were constructed.

READ: Manufacturers to be held responsible for fire and safety, expert says

"Without an enforcing authority to consolidate local regulations, engineers were coming from the UK, Australia, Europe, US, trying to impose their best practices from their home countries.

"The lack of regulations permitted the use of almost any type of materials, which resulted in the use of the cheapest version of all available options. Lastly, the overall lack of preventive maintenance of buildings services resulted in responding reactively to system failures."

Before moving to Dubai, Ortega was based in London since 2006, providing fire safety consultancy for all aspects of the built environment. She has a Masters in Fire and Explosion from Leeds University.

The Safety Design in Buildings conference campaign is a GCC-wide initiative to debate safety standards and practices in the built environment. 

The next conference will be held in Abu Dhabi on 18 January, 2018 at Etihad Towers.


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Construction Week - Issue 753
Nov 09, 2019