The UAE Fire Safety Code was first introduced in 2006 to provide detailed specifications and standards at a time when new-build projects were booming.
However, since then, a series of serious tall tower fires, most recently in Dubai’s Address Downtown Hotel on New Years Eve 2015, and more recently in a tall tower in Ajman, both fortunately without loss of life, have caused Dubai Civil Defence to amend some aspects of the Code to strengthen the responsibilities upon builders and contractors to fully meet the fire safety requirements of the Code.
Speaking at the recent 6th UAE Fire Safety Technology Forum in Dubai, Major General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, said contractors are not always following the regulation contained in the Code by installing exterior sandwich cladding panels that are not fire resistant rated as they contain combustible material.
In all the recent tall tower outbreaks, these non-fire resistant panels have caused very rapid fire spread both up and down the external facades of the structures involved.
Major General Matroushi also stated that other inferior non-fire rated building materials are also still being installed in new buildings – for instance fire resistant doors and their various components.
The revised UAE Fire Safety Code is currently being finalised and is expected to be unveiled in the early weeks of May 2016.