12th April 2021

How Dubai’s Revised Building Code Will Boost the Construction Industry

In late 2020 it was announced that there would be an overhaul of the Dubai building code to help reduce construction costs. This came in the wake of Arabtec shareholders voting to liquidate after suffering huge losses, exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic.

A revised set of construction rules and standards was agreed by Dubai’s Executive Council. The changes to the Dubai building code will unify construction standards to encourage sustainable development and innovation in the emirate.

A central focus of Dubai’s new building code is making Dubai a more attractive proposition to international investors and to create a diverse range of building projects. The changes aim to speed up the design phase of construction projects and reduce overall construction costs. This represents an excellent opportunity for future building construction projects in Dubai and beyond.

Global investment opportunities in Dubai

Despite the unprecedented damage done to the global economy in the wake of the pandemic, Dubai increased its ranking to third in the Global Cities of the Future report 2021/2022, published by the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine.

The report is a measure of how much Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is flowing into the world’s leading cities. Despite Singapore occupying the top spot Dubai has seen faster growth in inward FDI. And whilst Singapore and London both held onto their 1st and 2nd places, Dubai has moved up three places since the 2018/2019 report. According to fDi Magazine: “Dubai’s favourable tax rates, free zones and well-educated workforce have proven highly attractive to many businesses.”

Dubai’s commitment to generating 75% of its energy from clean sources by 2050 has also made this growing investment hub attractive to outside investment as many large investors seek to expand their green portfolios.

A “one-stop shop” for construction projects

The recently announced changes to the Dubai building code are an excellent way to tap into Dubai’s growth potential in the construction sector. Under the announced changes it will become much easier for contractors and developers, building owners and investors to get approval from licensing agencies and departments in Dubai.

By creating what has been described as a “one-stop shop” for Dubai construction projects investors can get all design requirements approved at once rather than checking with individual departments for each aspect of their designs.

The benefits of using steel frame systems in building construction

Given the focus on shortened design and construction times, now is a fantastic opportunity for architects and specifiers to use steel frame systems (SFS) in place of the blockwork that has long dominated building envelope construction in Dubai.

We commissioned leading consultancy firm Faithful+Gould to produce a steel frame system cost analysis comparing our Hadley Steel Frame System (HSF) with traditional blockwork. Faithful+Gould found that HSF was 14 week’s quicker to install than blockwork, and could increase the weekly productivity of a three-person work crew by nearly 300%.

Given the coming changes to the Dubai building code it makes sense to take advantage of the rapid installation times that steel frame systems can bring to building envelope design.

Speeding up building design

The design phase of commercial and residential building construction projects is critical for delivering projects on time, and within budget. Anything that can be done to speed up the design phase will increase the profitability of construction projects and boost investor confidence.

Two of the biggest factors that can slow down the design phase are design errors that delay project approval by the relevant authorities and construction errors that result in wasted materials and labour resources. Once the design phase is complete it is important that construction times are kept as short as possible. This saves on construction costs and means owners can start using their buildings to generate revenue.

At Hadley we offer a three-stage steel frame system design service. This service seeks to eliminate errors from the early design stage of steel frame systems so that you can quickly get buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. Any potential design issues are ironed-out early on so that they don’t cause waste and cost inefficiencies further down the line.

We use specialist in-house Business Information Modelling (BIM) tools to ensure every element of your SFS specification is detailed and visualised in a rigorous virtual environment long before any installation work begins. Our site managers are also available to visit your site to ensure installation proceeds smoothly.

Increasing sustainability with steel frame systems

Another big plank of the changes to the Dubai building code is its focus on sustainability. Since 2006 Dubai has been on a mission to become a sustainable city fit for the future.

One of the four main sustainability targets Dubai has set focuses on building envelope and placement, such as L-shaped houses which shade each other from the sun, reducing strain on air conditioning units.

These kinds of innovative designs require the kind of design precision that light gauge steel frame systems are best placed to deliver. Hadley Steel Frame Systems are also significantly more sustainable than blockwork. Our manufacturing process reduces waste by 95% by reusing and recycling offcuts back into the manufacturing process without compromising quality.

Steel frame systems also require less mass of material than blockwork, thus significantly reducing the amount of embodied carbon. Using SFS instead of blockwork can also reduce lorry deliveries by up to 25 times, resulting in less carbon emissions and streamlined logistics.

Steel frame systems are the future of construction in Dubai

A strong desire for greater sustainability, more rapid design and construction processes and building envelope innovation, combined with the upcoming changes to Dubai’s building code, make using steel frame systems the number one priority for engineers and specifiers in Dubai.

To find out how Hadley can help with steel frame specification for your next project contact your local Hadley representative today.