There have been several blazes in recent years including a major fire that hit the 63-storey The Address Downtown hotel on New Year’s Eve (pictured below) and the Torch Tower earlier in 2015.
Consultant Tom Bell-Wright explained that while the Civil Defence in Dubai does an excellent job of introducing and regulating fire safety standards, work needs to be done on enforcement and maintenance of systems.
The CEO and CTO of Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants added that developers are always ahead of the regulators. “These codes are state-of-the-art. However, checking that the work is done properly on-site and maintained properly is probably lagging a bit,” he added.
“The Civil Defence has an excellent programme whereby any time a fire alarm goes off on our premises, for example, it rings in a call centre at Pacific Controls, which can determine whether it is an actual fire or a false alarm.”
However, Bell-Wright was quick to point out that the overall attitude to fire safety in Dubai has changed considerably since his firm began operations, with a number of requirements for fire protection inspections in the Abu Dhabi International Building Code and the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice.
One area that needs improvement is the ongoing inspections while construction is progressing. These should cover aspects like fire stops, penetration seals, perimeter fire barriers and fire doors, Bell-Wright said.