Safety Design in Buildings conferences have been taking place in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Cairo over the past four years. Over 50 specialized safety experts presented in more than 30 conferences in this time debating fire prevention and safety in construction at large. Gulf Fire spoke to Campaign Manager Philipp von Zitzewitz at the recent Safety Design in Buildings Muscat event.
For anyone who is not familiar with the SDiB platform, can you summarize what the Campaign is about?
Our campaign is an independent platform for construction professionals concerned with safety planning, execution and maintenance. Though not exclusively, the topics discussed at conferences are naturally dominated by fire safety. Fire safety is only a niche topic when it comes to construction, engineering and architecture at large, however every job description in the construction industry is concerned with safety considerations to a larger or lesser degree.
The campaign therefore caters to the continuous professional education needs of everyone working in the construction industry. The conference programs follow a simple formula – we invite leading specialists and experts to present their insights and thoughts about safety trends on stage. They are meeting with a professional audience who is able to question or apply information and content in their daily jobs.
So the campaign helps to exchange technical know-how but also to facilitate networking among the different sector groups of the construction industry. Conferences attendance is subsidized and low priced allowing a wide and informal participation.
What started off as a stand-alone conference in Dubai in 2012 to bring safety and glass experts together over fire prevention practices, soon turned into a regional campaign following prominent fire incidents and increased questioning of industry practices by the authorities.
The topic hit a nerve and due to the interest of local Civil Defence departments lead to increased volunteering of consultants to share their insights for improved protection of people and assets on stage.
Over time the campaign has built a pool of contacts to leading consultants in the region. They are invited to participate in conferences, and to propose and submit presentation topics. We form conference committees which jointly review presentation proposals and group them into event programs with up to 6 speakers and two panel discussions.
The majority of presenters are very outspoken and passionate about safety. Their motivation to go on stage and share with their peers is driven by ideas for improvement of industry standards. We therefore typically have engaging and motivating discussions.
The campaign is financed by a group of industry players who committed to jointly sponsor the conference set-ups in the region. They comprise of Intersec on the one hand, the leading trade fair for security, safety and fire protection who have an interest in promoting a diverse technical debate in the region, and a group of leading construction suppliers on the other, namely Schott, Dorma, Forster Profile Systems and White Aluminium.
How can more people get involved?
The campaign and each conference live off ideas and the people driving the debates and representing the industry. People can get involved by proposing topics and becoming part of presentations and panels. Also by attending or inviting other relevant industry representatives to participate. We run hosted invitation programs which allow companies and individuals to invite others using their own names as a courtesy.
The campaign also publishes a free blog and Linkedin group and welcomes updates and comments from the industry.
The conferences are now well established in the GCC, and since 2015 also in Cairo. We see an interest in the conference debates also from other markets and are currently preparing for an introduction event in Iran for 2017. Other than Iran we are preparing for Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait, Riyadh and Jeddah again.
For more information, go to www.safetydesigninbuildings.com