New buildings to be denied completion certificate if they don’t have fire resistant cladding
Following an outbreak of fires across Sharjah, new buildings in the emirate will now only be approved by municipal inspectors if contractors can prove that exterior aluminium cladding will not catch fire.
According to a report by Dubai based daily newspaper, Gulf News, the Sharjah Municipality is taking a hard-line approach to the widespread application of non fire-rated cladding in the wake of two major tower fires in recent months.
Salah Butti, chairman of Sharjah Municipality’s Planning and Survey Department, said in a circular issued on April 29 that all contractors and consultants in Sharjah have been served with official notice that the rules have been changed significantly.
All cladding panels would have to be fire-proof and capable of withstanding intense heat for several hours, he said.
“All the consultants and contractors offices who are supervising multi-storey residence towers, which are under execution stage, should inform the general department of Civil Defence for the certification,” Butti wrote in his notice, “which proves that all the aluminium [tiles] used for the building facade on these buildings should be fire rated for a minimum of three hours.”
The new regulations have come into force after it was found that specific laws prohibiting the use of Low Density Polythene (LDPE) aluminium cladding tile did not exist.
Tests have shown that LDPE tiles can burn within eight minutes while fire-resistant panels have shown that they remain non-flammable under extreme conditions.
Sharjah has seen a spate of fire-related incidents that has prompted calls for an increase in fire safety measures. In January 2012, hundreds of residents were left homeless after the Al Baker Tower caught fire. Most recently, the Al Tayer Tower went up in flames in April, sparking wide spread concern over the safety of high rise buildings in the emirate.
Butti also said that contractors must prove beyond doubt that any tiles slated for installation must be accompanied by an ‘origin certificate and a conformity certificate’. He emphasised that “Sharjah Municipality will not issue the completion certificate unless contractors complete these standard procedures.”