x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi landlords comply with rules to stop tower deaths

Ninety per cent of buildings in Abu Dhabi are complying with new regulations that require child safety equipment in windows and doors to prevent falls.

Safe building that have protective devices on Liwa street where Department of Municipal Affairs guidelines giving building owners in Abu Dhabi six months to install protective devices on residential windows to keep children and people with disabilities from falling in Abu Dhabi.
Safe building that have protective devices on Liwa street where Department of Municipal Affairs guidelines giving building owners in Abu Dhabi six months to install protective devices on residential windows to keep children and people with disabilities from falling in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Ninety per cent of the capital’s buildings have complied with new rules banning windows from opening by more than 10 centimetres.

The regulations were introduced after a number of children were killed or injured after falling from windows and balconies.

The rules came into effect in March to align with international child-safety standards, and landlords must show proof of compliance to register with the municipality’s real estate regulatory initiative, Tawtheeq.

An awareness campaign was launched yesterday by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), which sent texts asking landlords to call 800555.

According to article 1 of the safety regulations, all property developers and existing building managers are required to install safety features on windows and doors.

The 10 per cent of landlords who have yet to comply are expected to do so by March.

It is hoped the safety features will reduce the number of children falling from buildings, said Yasmeen Sami Saadah, director of the municipal regulation division at the DMA.

“If the property owners do not show the compliance with the new safety standards, they are not allowed to register with Tawtheeq,” Ms Saadah said.

Owners must show certificates provided by installation companies detailing the safety features installed.

Ms Saadah urged parents to be cautious and pay attention to children’s activities because this is the first step in avoiding such accidents.

In November, a five-year-old Arab boy died after falling from the balcony of his second-floor home on Muroor Road in Abu Dhabi.

A three-year-old girl fell from a fifth-floor apartment at Airport Road in February.

There were two falls in 2010 and 2011. A 13-year-old Indian girl was killed after plummeting from an 11th floor apartment on Al Falah Street, while a three-year-old Emirati boy fell from the 13th floor of a building in Khalidiya.

The DMA has also ordered all municipalities across Abu Dhabi to ensure compliance with child-safety standards before issuing construction permits or renewing licences.

Apartment dwellers can complain to the municipality if a building owner refuses to install safety fixtures.

As per article 4 of the March decision, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence has been assigned to carry out random inspections on residential buildings to ensure homes have necessary child protection equipment.

anwar@thenational.ae