Dubai urges developers to retrofit skyscrapers amid cladding fears

Real Estate Regulatory Agency says it is 'strongly encouraging' replacement of non-fire resistant facades
Fire is seen at the Torch tower skyscraper on August 4, 2017 in Dubai. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Sat 23 Sep 2017 05:07 PM

Dubai Land Department (DLD), through its regulatory arm the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), said on Saturday it is strongly encouraging all owners to replace non-fire-resistant building facades.

It said in a statement that the project demonstrates RERA’s dedication to "taking proactive and preventative measures that will reduce the incidence of fire accidents in the emirate".

RERA said it has already implemented these measures with a number of companies, including Dubai Properties Group for its major Executives Towers, Vision Tower and Bay Square projects in the Business Bay area.

The call comes just weeks after dozens of people died in a blaze at the Grenfell Tower in West London, with reports suggesting that the cladding fitted on the external walls of the 24-storey block of apartments in 2015 was of a flammable nature and contributed to the rapid spread of the flames.

The same issue has arisen in the UAE, which has suffered a spate of high-profile building fires in recent years – thankfully with no reported deaths.

For example, flammable cladding was blamed for spreading the flames that partially destroyed The Address, Downtown hotel on December 31 2015, prompting the government to revise the UAE fire safety code this year.

Mohammed Khalifa bin Hammad, senior director of the Real Estate Regulatory Department at RERA, said: "By replacing building facades that do not comply with our fire resistance safety requirements, we are supporting DLD's vision of making Dubai the world’s safest and securest residential and investment destination.

"As DLD prioritises safety, investor confidence and customer happiness, it is implementing proactive solutions through its specialised departments to provide protection for both investors and residents.”

He added that this project has been specifically launched to ensure the safety of residents and save lives, while also preserving the Emirate’s reputation as a leading destination for business, investment, travel and accommodation.

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