Crackdown on UAE building safety after tower fires
Municipality engineers are to meet building owners in Sharjah to discuss fire safety following a spate of blazes.
“Most of the buildings in existence are built using materials that are highly flammable” said an official from the technical department at the municipality.
“Changing these materials would call for partial demolitions and the whole exercise might be very costly.”
He added: “We are planning to meet owners so that we can find better ways of making these buildings safer through advice from our structural engineers.”
He said contractors have disregarded fire safety codes introduced last year. The code sets a fine of Dhs50,000 for those found to be using highly flammable material, such as aluminium cladding.
Abu Kheir Hassan, a structural engineer in Sharjah, said contractors have, in the past few years, used cladding panels to enhance building exteriors and some ignore the fire safety hazards associated with them.
“These materials vary in terms of quality and prices,” said Hassan. “Most contractors go for the cheap materials without considering the fact that they can be dangerous in a fire.”
He said the cladding was responsible for the rapid spread of the fire that gutted Sharjah’s Al Tayer Tower last week and Al Baker 4 Tower in January. Sharjah Civil Defence will check smoke detectors, sprinklers and hose reels.