Construction

Need for better cladding to avoid fire risk

3,359 fire incidents were reported in the UAE in the first six months of 2012 alone.

Flammable cladding, which has been reportedly used in the construction of over 500 skyscrapers in the UAE, is attributed with the rapid spread of fire across building structures, particularly in the case of the most recent accidents in Dubai and Sharjah.

According to the figures revealed by civil defense authorities, 3,359 fire incidents were reported in the UAE in the first six months of 2012 alone. The majority of these were in residential buildings and high-rises.

Forensic reports released by Dubai Police on the latest blaze at the Tamweel Tower in Dubai indicate that flammable cladding in the structure contributed to the accelerated fire hazard, caused by a cigarette butt.

The exterior panels are now expected to be replaced by a brand new set of fire-retardant ones once reconstruction plans are finalized, in compliance with newly anticipated laws and outcry expressed by owners in the aftermath of the incident.

Recently Abu Dhabi announced the new Abu Dhabi International Building Code. It will require facades to undergo a series of rigorous testing procedures that focus on the ability of building panels to resist fire.

“There is need to create awareness about the usage of certified fire-rated or fire resistant panels,” says Ankur Singh, marketing manager of Dana Steel, a leading supplier of fire-rated building panels to the region.

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