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Hazards occurring in high-rise commercial towers could be many such as accidental fires, or perhaps a natural calamity. In Dubai, owners of high-rise buildings have been required to adopt new fire safety regulations in line with the new regulations announced by the Civil Defence. The new rules demand the installation of fire-retardant panels every three floors to stop fires from spreading, alongside external sprinklers. These rules are applicable to existing towers as well as upcoming ones.
With regard to building a plan to act upon in case of an accidental fire, a lot of measures need to be adopted such as fire exits for occupants, access for firemen, water connections for firefighting equipment and, at a ground level, it is important to use non-combustible building materials.
Technically, the UAE is not in a seismic zone so we do not need to worry as such. However, we are in proximity to Iran which is a seismic area, so formulating and applying guidelines towards protecting high-rise towers is crucial. In mid-2013, the Dubai Municipality revised their building code and with immediate effect, all buildings need to be able to withstand earthquakes of up to 6 on the Richter scale. It is also a rule that buildings taller than 10 floors as well as important structures such as schools and hospitals must be built to withstand quakes of up to 5.9 on the Richter scale.
Since the UAE witnesses frequent episodes of strong dust storms and gusty harsh winds, the municipality rules state that structures should be able to withstand a wind speed of up to 45 meters per second for a 3-second gust which is an approximate of 160 km/hour.
The Abu Dhabi Municipality’s Town Planning Department states that all construction projects have been built in accordance with the global seismic building code; therefore, they will be unaffected by tremors below 6 on the Richter scale. Building materials of high technical specifications are used in construction, and every stage is monitored to ensure the strict enforcement of regulations.
Handy Hints on safety regulations
• Abu Dhabi projects built as per the global seismic building code
• Rules demand installation of fire-retardant panels in buildings
• All building structures must be able to withstand earthquakes
Source: Urmila Santosh, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer