As part of being keen on interaction with its strategic partners and stakeholder to enhance the building and construction sector, the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) in Abu Dhabi organized a workshop on the proposed Abu Dhabi International Building Codes. The workshop was organized at the Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC). Attendees were engineers and consultants from ADAC as well as DMA and ADM technical staff. The workshop objectives were to introduce latest updates on the new building codes in Abu Dhabi and open the dialogue on code related issues between the two agencies. Eng. Ali Bukair, Building Code Manager at the DMA gave an overview of the code development process and the efforts behind it to produce building codes that we can call ours. He indicated that DMA with the help of the International Code Council (ICC) have successfully completed the initial customization of six codes and two standards with coordination with other government stakeholders including UPC, ADWEA, GasCO, (Ala: it is a good chance to mention the stakeholders) .Eng. Bukair went on to explain the structural design requirements of the new Building Code pointing out that the DMA consultants team included Dr. S.K. Ghosh who is a renowned expert in the field of structural design of concrete buildings .
He further elaborated that DMA is working with educational entities to include the building codes to the curriculum of engineering students.
Fatma Amer, Building Code Consultant at DMA and former First Deputy Commissioner of New York City Department of Buildings, started her presentation by explaining the general structure of all codes. She indicated how Safety is at the heart of any code and how use and occupancy of buildings affect the design in terms of type of construction, maximum height an area and means of egress from these buildings. As such, there is a difference between a building that is going to be a school and a building that is going to be factory.
She went on to explain the code requirements of means of egress and how should a designer perform Egress analysis to demonstrate code compliance. The presentation also included the code requirements regarding accessibility of buildings by people with disabilities and how airport terminals are usually very equipped to meet these special needs.
Also, she addressed the code requirements regarding Fire and Life Safety Systems like sprinklers and fire alarms and how such requirements should be coordinated with the new UAE Fire Code. She concluded by explaining to the practitioners in the room, the difference between codes and standards saying that a code mandates where and when I have to do what, where as the standards detail how to do it.