x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Building codes due 'within weeks'

The first and second phases will be to adopt the International Code Council's (ICC) building codes and customise them.

ABU DHABI // New building codes aim to take a "holistic approach" to regulating the emirate's construction industry.

The Abu Dhabi International Building Codes 2012 (ADIBC), which will be implemented in six phases, cover conservation; structure and concrete; mechanical; fuel and gas; property maintenance; and a private sewerage disposal code.

Yasmeen Sami Saadah, acting division director of municipal regulations at the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), said the codes would be announced "within weeks".

"They will be the only reference for consultants, constructors and government entities," she added.

Ms Saadah said the lack of a unified set of building codes caused confusion and technical issues within the construction industry.

"Right now we have a combination of different codes, so every consultant just picks what is suitable for him," she said.

The first and second phases will be to adopt the International Code Council's (ICC) building codes and customise them.

The third phase involves training schemes at various universities, including Al Ain University and Zayed University, where people can learn about the processes of automation and applying for building permits.

A mandatory implementation of the building codes will take place in phase four - 12 months after the official launch of the ADIBC.

The codes will then be published on the DMA website. DMA, the municipality's regulatory authority, aims to "activate our role as supervisors and inspectors" through the compliance system in the plan's fifth phase, said Ms Saadah.

The DMA will work with the Department of Economy to regulate and implement the ADIBC through registration and licensing for consultants, contractors and skilled labour.

The final, and "most important", phase of launching the codes will be maintaining them.

"We are about to announce more than six or seven committees that will assist consultants, contractors, the community and others who have any questions or comments," said Ms Saadah.

The implementation of the conservation code would initially increase costs, said Ms Saadah, but the rest of the ADIBC would reduce overall construction costs by two per cent.

"When everyone uses the same reference it will be easier and cheaper for consultants and contractors," she added.

molson@thenational.ae