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Sat 7 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Fire coatings take market hold

Intumescent paint manufacturer says industry is taking notice of safety standards as demand grows across the region

The UAE’s construction boom has seen the fire-resistant coatings market grow by 200% over the last year.

According to Andy Holt, marketing manager, Leigh’s Paints – manufacturer and distributors of fire-resistant coatings in the UAE – the intumescent market in 2005 was worth US $13.6 million (AED50 million).

However, the rapid increase in construction has led to more steel structures, which in turn has resulted in more than double the demand for protective coatings.

“They no longer compromise on quality to ensure complete safety and protection,” he said.

Philip Matthews, general manager, Leigh’s Paints, said: “In 2005, damages due to fire was estimated at $15 million in the UAE alone.

The use of passive fire protection in the Middle East is growing rapidly and we are currently working on 47 projects.

” These include Dubai Festival City, the new Intercontinental Hotel, Al Kifaf Etisalat Building, the new Crowne Plaza Hotel and the Emirates Crew Training Centre, among others.

Leigh’s Firetex range features both solvent and water-based systems, offering up to two hours fire protection to both internally and externally exposed structural steelwork, with the protective coating acting as thermal insulant against fire.

This surge in demand for protective coatings combined with ambiguity over industry standards has resulted in the adoption of one common standard among leading international paint producers.

Endorsed by the Intumescent Coatings Forum (ICF), this common standard known as the ‘European Standards’ aims to remove any uncertainty and ensure uniformity and safety in paint products manufactured and distributed in the region.

Currently, 18 global paint manufacturers have adopted the European Standards, representing 95% of the total intumescent coatings supplied to the Middle East region.

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