The updated UAE Fire and Life Safety Code has been unveiled at the Intersec 2017 exhibition.
Awaited since the beginning of 2016, the new code was launched by Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) officials speaking at the Intersec Fire Safety Conference, being held on the exhibition’s first day.
Lt Taher Hassan Altaher, head of DCD’s inspection and permitting section, said the 1,384-page code – 677 pages longer than its 2011 version – has been prepared based on international references and feedback from consultants, contractors, and local property developers such as Emaar and Deyaar.
A “new connection between fire fighters and safety engineers” has been developed through the code, Altaher said.
The new code includes guidelines related to cladding, such as testing, installation, and [maintenance] responsibilities of each building development party – such as clients, consultants, and contractors.
“Existing buildings are being researched, and there’s a timeline for all claddings for maintenance, after which they have to be changed,” he continued.
“Until then, those [cladding components] have to be maintained,” Altaher said, adding that ensuring the cladding is eventually changed is “still on the table”.
He added: “Existing towers already have [DCD] approvals and don’t have to change it. Cladding sections undergoing maintenance would have to comply with the new code.”
Since each building’s maintenance schedule for cladding is different, Altaher explained, no deadline has therefore been set for their replacement with new guidelines.
Altaher said it took the code’s formulation team “six months” to set the requirements “only for that [cladding] chapter”.
He added: “We have [included] more details to install it in the appropriate way – that was the problem.”
When asked whether this requirement would flow down to contractor operations, Altaher responded: “Yes, that’s why we [specified different parties’] responsibilities [in the code].”
A minimum fine of $136 (AED500) will be levied for non-compliance with the code’s new guidelines, Altaher said, adding this figure could “go on to $13,612 (AED50,000) for each fine”.
An inspector will be based in each fire station who will be assigned a locality for patrol.
This inspector will keep track of how many buildings have been inspected, how many comply – or not – with the code, and whether they have been fined.
Responsibility for fire safety will “start at the developer and go all the way to the tenant”.