x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

GCC makes progress on unified building code

GCC chiefs agree to create a standardised building code to make buildings safer across the region.

GCC chiefs have agreed to create a standardised building code to make all Gulf buildings, such as these high-rises in Doha, safer.
GCC chiefs have agreed to create a standardised building code to make all Gulf buildings, such as these high-rises in Doha, safer.

GCC regulators have moved a step closer to a unified regional construction code by drafting regulations for safer buildings.

The Gulf chiefs also agreed to introduce rules for the labelling of tobacco products across the region in 12 months. Details were not immediately available.

At the 14th meeting of GCC standardisation chiefs in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last Tuesday, the delegates agreed to move ahead with the building code.

The draft includes 24 technical regulations.

The chiefs assigned Qatar to host the office responsible for the building code project, and to cover its operating costs.

They also decided to form a higher committee to draft the code.

The national standardisation bodies of the member states and the General Secretariat of the GCC will play roles in drafting the regulations.

They will also review and approve the annual operating plan and all other details required to make the project happen.

Abu Dhabi officials have discussed introducing a unified building code dealing with fire safety.

They have begun work on applying the code to the Interior Ministry building and will later extend it to all buildings in the emirate.

Abu Dhabi's buildings have been constructed according to a range of codes from different jurisdictions.

Also on Tuesday, the standardisation chiefs agreed on measures including:

- the establishment of Gulf standards for measurement of temperature, humidity and electrical quantities, including "current, resistance [and] voltage".

- the adoption of the Dubai Central Laboratory's mass measurement standards as a reference for GCC mass measurements.

- a draft guide system that will make the rapid exchange of information on product safety easier.

- that the Gulf common market's customs outlets will also have a draft regulations guide.

The organisation approved its final accounts for the fiscal year of 2010, and the draft budget for the fiscal year 2012, totalling more than 30.5 million Saudi riyals (Dh29.8m).

Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, represented the Emirates at the meeting.

hdajani@thenational.ae