Can construction be more sustainable?

Fabrizio Nicoli and Milena Dimitrova of FILA Middle East outline how suppliers can help change the mind-set of the construction industry towards sustainability

Sustainability is becoming a predominant concern in our society, and there is no denying that we need to take into consideration the impact the construction sector has on the planet in the construction phase and in the long-term running of buildings if we want real change.

Locally, Dubai Green Building regulations have recently been implemented, which set down the rules for a sustainable building. According to the Dubai Municipality, ever since their implementation the consumption of electricity and carbon dioxide emissions in the city have been reduced by 20% and waste by 50%.

On the international level, some construction-related companies have long been conscious of the impact of the construction sector on the environment and have worked on solutions to limit it. One of them is the market leader in surface protection, FILA Surface Care Solutions. Its products span from pre-grouting protectors, detergents and sealants to after-care maintenance and stain removal solutions.

Yet getting the construction sector to stop focusing solely on the cost of surface protection is not easy.

“There is a real culture of cutting costs to a minimum in the construction industry, and although slightly more expensive products will have less harmful effects on workers and are more sustainable while also offering better protection in the long term, some contractors will still only look at the price when choosing a product,” explains Fabrizio Nicoli, commercial manager of FILA Middle East.

Changing minds takes time and does not happen from one day to the next. That’s why companies like FILA are constantly discussing the advantages of going green with key players of the industry.

“Today, with water-based, VOC-free and LEED-certified products you can have the best protection for your materials while keeping humans and the planet safe, and this is the message we are trying to pass on to leading architects. We take advantage of industry events and carry out free technical seminars with our experts to help raise awareness for green solutions,” adds Milena Dimitrova, technical manager at FILA Middle East.

Nicoli and Dimitrova feel that the specifiers of the projects – such as architects and consultants – are the best positioned to make sure construction works follow green guidelines. Governmental regulations are also essential, and Nicoli has noticed an increase in requests for green products among major UAE projects since the implementation of green regulations like Estidama in Abu Dhabi and the Green Building Regulations and Specifications in Dubai.

It may not yet be clear what our sustainable future will look like, but the solutions provided by eco-conscious manufacturers and the UAE government’s efforts and attention to the environmental needs of the country can only bring better practices to the construction industry in the long run.


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