x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Department to consult on building code

The Department of Municipal Affairs is embarking on a broad outreach programme before rolling out a set of new building codes that could transform the construction industry.

The Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) is embarking on a broad outreach programme before rolling out a set of new building codes that could transform the construction industry. The DMA said yesterday it would contact 40,000 building professionals in telephone and online surveys to evaluate how ready the industry would be to implement the regulations. "The imminent introduction of the new building codes represents a major change to ? construction practices in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which will create quality buildings that are safe and sustainable," said Rashid al Hajeri, the chairman of the DMA.

"These codes will also protect construction investments from an economic perspective." The code, expected to be released next year, will be based on the standards of the International Code Council, which sets the standards for the US. Abu Dhabi's buildings have been built according to a range of codes from different jurisdictions. The DMA is seeking to unify these practices under a recognised system that will also reduce fire dangers.

The code will also deal with accessibility and accommodation for the disabled. Several apartment fires in Abu Dhabi have recently put the lack of safety equipment in the spotlight. All new buildings will have to meet the standards. Older buildings will require retrofitting, but any changes or additions will have to be in line with the code. Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties (ADCP), the capital's largest landlord, has hired Schirmer Middle East to conduct a safety audit of more than 2,500 buildings. ADCP has also been issuing fire blankets to residents.

bhope@thenational.ae