Construction sector to put focus on fire safety

epaselect epa05084825 Flames and smoke after a fire broke out at The Address Hotel in Dubai, UAE. 31 December 2015. Media reports state that there is no immediate news of casualties.  EPA/STRINGER


Sunaina Rana / Emirates Business

Emphasising on the fire safety codes for buildings and testing protocols for construction, the regulators of the construction industry would discuss significance of using innovative materials and systems such as ventilated facades and metal faced sandwich panels that would contribute to achieving fire safety in the UAE at the 6th Annual Fire Safety Technology Forum on April 27.
The Forum would be held under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister. This year the event is themed ‘Innovation for High Rise Resilience’. Barry Lynham, Group Director of Strategy and Communication at Knauf Insulation and President of Fire Safe Europe, who would one of the key speaker at the event, said, “The super high upsurge of construction in the UAE has dwarfed the Europe’s ‘high rise’ constructions. The challenge is far from small and we have enormous common task: to regulate for resilience and ensure the long-term safety of high-rise buildings.”
In the GCC region, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are spearheading surge in demand for fire detection and suppression equipment, as economic growth and increased construction activities put the region’s fire safety market on a double-digit growth path. The residential construction boom, Saudi Arabia currently holds a 46 percent share (US$644mn) of the US$1.4bn Gulf’s fire safety market, while the UAE, with a 34 share (US$476mn) is also ramping up demand with the help of developments planned for the Dubai Expo 2020.
Lately, there has been serious building facade fire around the world, triggering the concern over the quality of fire safety regulations and standards for construction. “By partnering with organisations such as Fire Safe Europe and a wide range of construction and fire safety experts and industry partners, Knauf Insulation has been supporting policy makers across Europe to remedy dangerous discrepancies in fire safety regulations and ensure that fire safety codes for buildings and testing protocols for construction products are rigorous and performance based. I am looking forward to bringing this experience to the UAE and learning from colleagues in the region,” he added.
As per the various construction industry’s market report, the Middle East, especially Dubai, has witnessed an enormous growth in fire protection companies and certified standards in line with its rapid pace of operational development. The materials used to construct them have changed beyond recognition over the past 30 years. Also, the contemporary buildings are bigger, higher and more complex than ever before. The addition of innovative materials and systems to the construction has also been playing vital components (such as ventilated facades and metal faced sandwich panels — often with combustible thermal insulation).
The new trends of the innovation are at high in demand for sustainability, most of the new building regulations in the MENA region encourage or require that all new buildings meet international green building standards — but unfortunately building fire safety regulations have more than often been unable to keep pace.

lead-1-metal faced sandwich panels copy

lead-2-ventilated facades

Barry Lynham


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