Inspections ramp up piling safety

Dubai Municipality regulations add time to project schedules but authorities defend the importance of the new provisions.

Groundworks contractors were invited to a conference last August, at which the measures were explained.
Groundworks contractors were invited to a conference last August, at which the measures were explained.

Dubai Municipality is clamping down on piling and shoring regulations issued over the last year.

The move comes in the wake of the shoring collapse at Infinity Tower in Dubai Marina in February.

Circular 131, which stipulates a third party review for properties and Circular 141, which focuses on shoring works, were introduced 12 and six months ago, respectively.

But developers claim the clampdown is causing cost overruns and project delays.

According to Bill Mullen, general manager, Dubai Select, the company was due to start shoring and piling work for its Bay Central project at the time of the accident at Infinity Tower, but must now submit its plans to a third party consultant, which has increased costs and delayed construction for two-and-a-half months.

"We are the first company in Dubai Marina to submit these plans, but it is terribly expensive, we were talking in the region of US $1.6-1.9 million (AED6-7 million) extra. Not to mention the loss of time, and now we have to put additional anchors into the sub-structure along with thicker piles and more rebar."

Moawya Omar, head of structural engineering unit, building department, Dubai Municipality, said consultants and contractors were invited to attend a conference last August where the new regulations were explained in detail.

But this failed to prevent the Infinity Tower collapse. "They didn't construct the shoring system properly, if they followed Circular 141, that wouldn't have happened," he said.

Kamarin Ibrahim, regional technical director, Hyder, said the regulations are necessary to ensure proper analysis takes place, especially in areas that are environmentally complex.

"You need to look beyond the immediate area, at the impact of your action and the environment."

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