Qatar approves new building law

Civil defence warns that new law could see violators faced with three years of jail time

The Qatari Cabinet has issued a new legislation stipulating safety and security measures to be implemented by residential, commercial, administrative and industrial buildings and premises across the country.

The new law comes three months after a fire in Doha’s Villagio Mall killed 19 people, including 13 children, four women teachers and two civil defence personnel.

After a week-long investigation into the fire, the Qatar Special Higher Committee said there was “a status of lack of adherence to required laws, systems, and measure by all concerned parties to different degree. This includes adherence to design, license, and safety conditions, which contributed to the Villagio catastrophe.”

According to the new standards, the approval of the Civil Defence Department (CDD) should be obtained before commencing any building project and as well as after its completion.

Violations are punishable by three years in jail or a fine not exceeding $54,900 or with both penalties, the CDD warned.

The violations in the new law include introducing changes to the type of activities for which the facility was licensed and designed, and any modification of the originally approved building designs without prior approval from CDD, the department said.


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