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Onus on UAE developers to hire competent fire engineers

The head of fire and life safety at Dubai-based consultancy AESG also praised the UAE's efforts in promoting the revised rules

Developers must work with capable fire engineers from a project's design phase [representational image].
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Developers must work with capable fire engineers from a project's design phase [representational image].

It is the responsibility of developers to work with “competent fire engineers” from the outset of a project, as is enshrined by the updated UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, a senior official from construction consultancy AESG said.

“Civil Defence authorities in the UAE have done an excellent job of promoting the revised code and making it easily accessible to anyone who wants a copy,” said Peter Van Gorp, director of fire and life safety at AESG, in an emailed statement.

“The onus is now on developers to engage with competent fire engineers right from the initial design stages,” he added.

“For all new projects that AESG is involved in, we make sure fire safety systems are made a priority and work closely with architects, façade engineers, and other teams as a coordinated effort is key to success.”

The updated code was launched by Dubai Civil Defence at the 2017 iteration of the Intersec Fire Safety Conference in Dubai. The document was prepared based on international references and feedback from consultants, contractors, and local property developers.

It is part of a wider action by the UAE to ensure façades are adequately fireproofed to prevent accidents and promote security.

In its recent statement, AESG said: “While new developments have been quick to implement the regulations and safety measures stipulated in the code, there is need for existing properties to follow suit.”

The issue of accountability is also central to the revised policy. Speaking to Construction Week earlier this month, Belarimo Cordero, AESG’s head of façade engineering, said that accountability for fire safety previously rested with construction contractors, while consultants were “responsible for the design [but] not for the installation”. 

Praise for the UAE’s more stringent fire safety rules has also come from outside the GCC. In 2018, a senior official from the New York Police Department praised the UAE for its efforts in improving its fire safety standards.

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Construction Week - Issue 749
Sep 15, 2019