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Wed 15 Oct 2008 07:04 PM

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Healthy construction

When buildings are being constructed as fast as they are in the Middle East, it is extremely hard to ensure quality is maintained. Inevitably, in the lower budget projects, corners will be cut and standards will drop as a result.

When buildings are being constructed as fast as they are in the Middle East, it is extremely hard to ensure quality is maintained. Inevitably, in the lower budget projects, corners will be cut and standards will drop as a result.

This may not drastically affect the standard of a building and could even go unnoticed by the end user. However, it is worrying for both the industry and the general public when health is put at risk as a result.

In last month’s edition of MEP Middle East Pipeworks managing director Gary Brodie called for legislation to ensure backflow prevention devices are installed in buildings in the Middle East. This is already law in Europe and the United States, yet in the Middle East it is going unchecked. Brodie stated: “All people are looking at is ways of saving energy, but what about poisoning people?”

LEED systems are ensuring that fewer corners are being cut and more sustainable building designs are used, but, as Brodie points out, they are useless if major issues such as backflow prevention are ignored.

The November issue of MEP Middle East will look at the maintenance and cleaning of ductwork. This is another issue that can seriously affect the health of members of the public, yet sadly is not strictly regulated. Like many issues in the Middle East, the solutions must come from the very top and only when developers, designers and contractors are completely denied the opportunity to cut corners will they stop doing it.

Many projects in the Middle East are extremely careful about these problems and ensure that a building’s occupiers are at no risk of health issues. But like most major problems, even a small minority doing things the wrong way can have a huge negative impact on an entire sector.

With green thinking and sustainability ideas we can certainly improve tomorrow, but it is just as important not to overlook the basic problems that could seriously affect our health today.

Peter Ward is the assistant editor of Mechanical Electrical Plumming Middle East.

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