Dubai Civil Defence – New restrictions on external cladding panels on buildings
The use of cladding will be restricted in new buildings in the UAE following a new set of regulations to be added to the UAE Fire and Safety Code. Major General Expert Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, said some of the new regulations will include not using cladding for buildings that are higher than nine storeys.
“If a building owner wants to use cladding, then there needs to be a road around the building that would allow fire trucks to go around the building, if not, then the building should not use cladding,” he said. “For buildings higher than nine storeys, if construction companies want to use cladding, they should use the cladding in a small section of the building. For example, use cladding on two floors, then have two floors made of cement, to prevent the fire from spreading.”
Major Gen Al Matroushi added that for shorter buldings, such as showrooms, they can use cladding as a fire can easily be controlled. He said that most companies choose to use cladding because it looks good and is cost-efficient.
These regulations were the result of the meetings of teams that were formed on orders from Lt. General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to check all buildings in the UAE especially for flammable cladding, and also for any other discrepancies, whether inside or outside the building, that could be potential fire hazards or in conflict with the Fire and Life Safety code. For older buildings, solutions will be provided case by case, once the survey of all buildings is completed.
Major General Matroushi also announced that DCD has ordered two new fire trucks with extra-powerful pumps that can deal with fires in buildings as high as 100 floors. At present, the ladders of the fire trucks used by the Civil Defence can reach up to 18 floors.
The Major General said the two new fire trucks have extra powerful pumps that pressurise the water seven times more than regular pumps. “The new trucks pump foam and water simultaneously which makes the hose lighter and easier to handle than if it was all pressurised water,” he said. “We have tested one of the trucks before buying them on a 96-floor building and it performed very well.” The new fire vehicles were ordered following the Torch building fire in 2015. One of the new vehicles will be stationed in the Bur Dubai area and the other in the Deira area.
Dubai Civil Defence Fire Safety Inspectors Acquire Body Cameras
Fire Safety Inspectors from Dubai Civil Defence will soon wear cameras in their breast pockets to document inspections, having acquired 35 cameras to be used by their 45 inspectors.
Lt. Colonel Jamal Ahmad Ebrahim, Director of the Preventive Safety Department at Dubai Civil Defence, said the videos taken with the new cameras will be used for two purposes; training new inspectors and as evidence when companies contest inspection results. “We have tried the cameras in two inspections. When the inspector is done, he uploads the video through software that keeps track of all the videos,” he said. This new technology was on display at the recent Intersec 2016 exhibition.
Lt. Colonel Ebrahim said the cameras are part of the smart inspection system. Other smart inspection tools include a smart inspection app, which provides the inspector with a checklist and the ability to add additional notes. “The inspector can carry out the inspection from his smartphone, which can also be attached to the new smaller RFID [radio frequency identification] scanners, that enable the inspector to scan all tagged fire equipment.”
RFID technology transmits the identity and location of an object using radio waves, so they can know the exact location of the equipment at all times. When a tagged item is scanned, the inspectors get the detailed information of the item, what it is, the manufacturer, where it is supposed to be located, etc.
Dubai Civil Defence also have new inspection management software that will make the department’s operation more efficient. The new system will allow the manager to know the location of the inspectors, so if there is an urgent pending case that needs attending , the manager can assign the inspector closest to that scene.
For more information, go to www.dcd.gov.ae