Rating the System

Dr Kamal Jaafar, director of Engineering Management at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, offers his verdict on Abu Dhabi?s newly-launched Estidama Pearl Rating System

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Estidama, Dr Kamal Jaafar

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s (UPC) vision for Estidama is thorough and acts as a good overview of the strategy to be implemented. There appears to be a systematic approach to the overall strategy that is focused and can be implemented. Unfortunately the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council does not seem to be following-up on the actual implementation up to date.

If this tool is to be used, experienced and professional individuals are required to manage and closely monitor the implementation.

In the development of Masdar City, there were a mix of tools used and hence no focus was given to a certain tool that caused a number of problems, including not meeting almost all of the set standards.


The primary benefit of developing Estidama is to truly implement a local green-building scheme. If this scheme is implemented in a scientific, step-bystep method it will be very beneficial in reducing the carbon foot print and carbon-dioxide emissions that are considered to be some of the highest in the world when talking about the UAE.

With increased education and training for the whole community, using the Estidama initiative would be effective and beneficial to the UAE.


A critical part of the Urban Planning Council’s plan is to educate the community on the use of the Estidama tool. In my opinion, the key to education can be facilitated by a swift rolling out of the Pearl Qualified Professional (PQP) programme and a subsequent opportunity to complete the exam. The PQPs will quickly become ambassadors for the programme, just like LEED and other accredited certificates that have been implemented and have become internationally recognised certificates that can be obtained all over the world. The PQP should be dealt with in the same way.


The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council needs to keep the region’s construction community updated on progress and roll out the Pearl Qualified Professional programme, making it available to industry as a matter of urgency. For the system to really take off, the council will need to launch a major marketing and educational campaign that aims to give the community a comprehensive idea about the advantages of becoming a Pearl Qualified Professional and how it fits in with the UAE industry’s long-term goals.

The implications of not following a system like this should be emphasized to the community to ensure that everybody is aware of the repercussions of not implementing this tool in the long run.


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