x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Manufacturers will be able to apply for seal of approval, Abu Dhabi forum told

Trustmarks are already available for paints, window-safety devices, electrical appliances and water fixtures under four schemes operated by Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC).

Abdulla Al Muaini speaks during a plenary session at the Abu Dhabi Quality Forum 2013 yesterday. Sarah Dea / The National
Abdulla Al Muaini speaks during a plenary session at the Abu Dhabi Quality Forum 2013 yesterday. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // Manufacturers of a host of new products - including medical equipment and toys - will be able to apply for a mark of safety this year as part of new conformity schemes.

Trustmarks are already available for paints, window-safety devices, electrical appliances and water fixtures under four schemes operated by Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC).

But it intends to extend the voluntary initiative to other products to highlight they are safe, said Abdulla Al Muaini, executive director of its conformity scheme services.

Speaking on the sidelines of the final day of the Abu Dhabi Quality Forum yesterday, he said schemes would be launched by the end of the year for cosmetic products, childcare products, LED lighting and plastic pipes, and medical devices used in hospitals and clinics.

"Most of them use electricity. We need to make sure there will be no electric shock," he said about the medical devices.

"Because of the voluntary nature of the conformity scheme, it depends on the manufacturer to come and apply for the product certificate. We work with them so, more or less, most of them will apply for it."

While the trustmark scheme is being launched from Abu Dhabi, any global manufacturer can apply.

A conformity scheme is "a complete process of ensuring that a particular product meets the requirements", Mr Al Muaini said. Products put forward for the scheme are scrutinised at different stages - they need to pass third-party testing at the design stage, the factories where they are made are audited and market surveillance is carried out when they are on the shelves.

"We go to the market, we buy random samples and take it for laboratory testing to make sure it complies with requirements," said Mr Al Muaini.

The conformity scheme for LED lights will hopefully be launched in June, with the scheme for plastic pipes following in July.

There are two types of trustmark - one for safety and the other for both safety and being eco-friendly.

The quality forum was attended by more than 80 regional and international industry experts.

As well as the trustmarks, topics discussed yesterday included counterfeiting and building regulations.

Engineer Ali Bukair, a consultant in building codes and construction for the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), said he expected Abu Dhabi International Building Codes (ADIBC) to be implemented soon.

The uniform regulations aim to end the confusion caused by the system they replace, which is based on codes from France, Germany and the US, among others.

The new codes are based on the US-developed International Code Council standards and have been adapted to UAE needs.

"If you think in the next 20 years and beyond, Abu Dhabi emirate has aspirations to become one of the top five governments in the world, so the DMA has embarked on this building code to help achieve that," Mr Bukair said. "We have a great case for a building code.

"A building code is a set of rules and regulations and provisions that specifies the minimum acceptable level of safety for building."

ADIBC needs to be mandated by the Government, which will "happen soon", Mr Bukair said. "Once it is mandated, there will be a transition period of about one year."

Jonathan Griffin, head of market development at the standards division of the British Standards Institute, praised the new codes.

"There can be no doubt that it represents a big step forward," he said. "You are moving from a confusing mishmash of regulations and standards to a local and unified code.

"That lays a foundation for buildings that are safer and more sustainable, and potentially less costly."

Discussing combating counterfeiting, Lt Gen Dr Abdul Al Obaidli, chairman of Emirates Intellectual Property Association, said children should be told of the importance of rejecting fake goods.

"We should start at school to develop a generation that says 'no' to counterfeiting," he said.

ecleland@thenational.ae