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Sun 24 Feb 2008 05:40 PM

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The race to modernise

All over the UAE- as well as the wider region - the legislation, technology and training is nearly, but not quite, staying at the same level as the breakneck pace of development.

All over the UAE- as well as the wider region - the legislation, technology and training is nearly, but not quite, staying at the same level as the breakneck pace of development.

In the issue this month, we read the well-intentioned building standards rule-book in Abu Dhabi, which is a perfectly clear and concise guide to building standards and site safety. However, in spite of recent efforts by the authorities, the rate of development is such that there are not currently enough officers to enforce the rules, meaning antiquated, bad, or plain dangerous practices could go unchecked for a very long time. Further north, we report on how Bahrain's futuristic cityscapes do not match the conditions found in the labour camps.

We also take a look at the huge demand for quarry products, and how the northern emirates' desire to provide it is tempered only by the tectonic pace that many site owners are prepared to invest in modern high-production equipment. The result is for every modern operation, there are several old-style outfits who produce a fraction of the yield, as well as an inferior product - and often at the expense of the wellbeing of those on site.

The same is also true of the ‘dozers, diggers and graders that roll endlessly over every new road project. While machine control has been around some time now, and it is proven that such a system can cut grading time literally in half, the cost, or fear of technology has deterred most from making the investment.

All of this is very sad. The intense standards demanded by the engineers of the region's construction and infrastructure projects demand high quality products for things like aggregates as well as mirror-smooth roads capable of taking the heaviest traffic. Most importantly it relies on the grit and toil of the workers and operators, who deserve proper training and a safe environment in which to work.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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