Opinion

The case for building a UAE construction law

The revelation that construction disputes in the Middle East saw an 88% rise in value in 2014 shouldn’t really be a surprise to interested observers of the industry. Given the rise in construction activity in the last few years, it’s only natural that high-value claims should be initiated for projects undertaken in 2008 and 2009, given that money is now finally available to pursue them.

It will be fascinating to see how the UAE legal system copes with these claims. My conversation with Dr Habib Al Mulla, the distinguished chairman of Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, was quite eye-opening.

READ MORE: Middle East construction disputes rise in value by 88%
READ MORE: UAE legal expert calls for specialised construction law
READ MORE: Habib Al Mulla on why UAE construction law needs an overhaul

Hearing him speak about the disparities that exist within the current legal system reinforced my belief that the UAE needs to have a construction-specific law to help the industry become more efficient and streamlined.

Given the concerns floating around the regional real estate markets, having such a law would only be beneficial to the industry. No one wants to be caught out again, like people were in 2008 and 2009. Has the industry learnt nothing since then?

Another interesting point raised by Dr Al Mulla was the role the UAE Contractors Association plays in developing and shaping the industry, or rather, the lack of it.

Given the influence that similar contractor associations have in the US and the UK, it surprises me that our regional chapters aren’t more proactive. These associations could be a vital link between industry and government, and to see them being under-utilised is quite disheartening.

We all want the best for the industry, so this isn’t meant to be a criticism; rather, I hope it comes across as encouragement and support, which is what it is meant to be.

Finally, I’d like to add another reminder to please nominate yourselves for the Big Project ME Awards 2015. The deadline is October 1, 2015, so do get nominating, as there’s not much time left!

READ MORE: Middle East construction disputes rise in value by 88%
READ MORE: UAE legal expert calls for specialised construction law
READ MORE: Habib Al Mulla on why UAE construction law needs an overhaul

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