Updated fire code delayed

The release of a new and updated fire code for the UAE has been delayed for a month as officials continue to study the headline grabbing blaze which spread rapidly through the Address Downtown Hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve

Civil defence officials said the speed with which the fire took hold has resulted in several additions to the code, which will now be released next month.

“In the Address hotel nobody was badly hurt but we don’t know what will happen the next time – to prevent that we need to work together,” said Lt Col Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, director of the preventive safety department of the Dubai Civil Defence.

“Saving the lives of people is our biggest concern. We are making regulations, updating the code, and if there is a mistake we will correct this.”

The new code is expected to contain lists of approved construction materials and could ban the use  flammable panels used to clad building exteriors that have been blamed for rapid spread of flames. And any suppliers of non-approved materials will for the first time face prosecution under the code.

Property owners will in future be required to renew no-objection certificates (NOCs) from civil defence on an annual basis to ensure structures remain safe. At present they only need to obtain one NOC on initial completion of the building.