UAE to begin fire safety inspections

Published January 13th, 2016 - 12:00 GMT
The cause of the Address Hotel blaze on New Year's Eve remains under investigation. (File photo)
The cause of the Address Hotel blaze on New Year's Eve remains under investigation. (File photo)

The recent fire incidents in Dubai landmarks have left many wondering whether it is a question of cladding. Following the blaze that engulfed Address hotel in Downtown, experts and residents have started questioning the quality of material used to clad the emirate's buildings.

A top government official said on Tuesday, the UAE will soon start inspecting buildings across the country to prevent fire accidents from happening.

The luxury skyscraper hotel was in flames stretching more than 20 floors few hours before the start of new-year.

The incident has also led to an increase in requests for home insurance in the UAE. Home services website MoveSouq.com said the number of requests for home insurance in the first week of 2016 grew three times compared to its weekly average of requests.

On the second day of the Address Hotel fire, government departments started meetings and decided that such accidents should not happen in Dubai again, Lt. Col Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, director of Preventive Safety Department, General Directorate of Dubai Civil Defence, UAE Ministry of Interior, told reporters during a Press conference. The UAE Code is one of the most advanced and includes all best practices in the world. Despite this the UAE Safety Code will be updated in March, he added.

Under the new regulations, the developer will be responsible to hire an in-charge to monitor issues. And after one year of completion of the project, the in-charge will look after the building.

"If there is cladding we will be more careful and check if the cladding is approved or not," Lt Col Ibrahim said. The owner of the building will be asked to replace the cladding if it does not meet the required standards, he added.

Giving the example of Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, he said: "We refused to change the cladding of one side and asked the insurer to replace the cladding on all four sides of the building." The building caught fire on November 18, 2012.

"We are now collecting the data from the departments concerned. We are also holding workshops and having discussions with developers to collect data," Lt Col Ibrahim told Khaleej Times.

"The announcement will be made public before we start the survey which will be done by the Civil Defence," he explained.

He mentioned that there were fires in some buildings in the country but they did not spread because of the good standards adopted.

"There will be different solutions for different buildings and we have solutions for any kind of problems in any building," he explained.

Regarding the report on the cause of Address Fire incident, he said Dubai Police and Criminal Investigation Department are doing the investigation. It will be made public once completed.

By Abdul Basit

 


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