Government to update UAE Safety Code following hotel fire

New regulations in the UAE safety code require building owners to replace sub-standard cladding

Dubai building owners must replace exterior cladding if the material does not meet necessary standards, according to a top government official.

Lt. Col Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, director of the Preventive Safety Department at Dubai Civil Defence, told reporters during a press conference in January that the UAE Safety Code will be updated in March.

He also said that the UAE will start inspecting buildings across the country to help prevent the rapid spread of fire.

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

Under the new regulations, the developer must hire a consultant to monitor safety issues for up to one year from project completion.

The move comes after fire broke out at The Address Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve. Starting between floors 14 and 15, the blaze engulfed the 63-storey luxury hotel, leaving 14 people with minor injuries and one person with moderate injuries. Another person suffered a heart attack.

“We are focused on saving lives. That is important to us,” Lt Col Ibrahim added.

The blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit in an exterior light.

Speaking after the incident, Ray Hogan, managing director of Oryx World Portfolio, reassured investors and explained how the company insists upon the highest international standards.

He said, “We always partner with the most reputable developers to ensure our product is the best quality and conforms to the most rigorous international fire and safety regulations. Our investors do not have cause for concern in this regard.

“We look forward to the updated Safety Code and to helping Oryx World Portfolio clients continue to purchase world-class properties that are built to the best standards.”

The new safety changes are being relayed through meetings with developers and workshops for cladding suppliers and municipalities.

According to Major General Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi, Director General of Dubai Civil Defence, the city’s buildings are compliant with the Emirates Fire and Life Safety Code, which meets international safety standards.