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UK electrical safety body to open in Dubai to combat fires

UAE – NICEIC, the UK’s electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary regulatory body for electrical installation safety throughout the UK, is to establish a regional base in Dubai.

The expansion of NICEIC’s services comes after the introduction of Dubai’s new fire code in January 2017, which mandates third party independent inspections, strict accountability and a number of fines for non-compliance or a breach of standards.

Worrying electrical study

Electrical faults are the most common cause of fire across the GCC. A study by Dubai Statistics Centre revealed 22% of fires between 2011 and 2013 were caused by electrical faults such as the one which started the fire at The Address Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve 2015. In Oman, one third of all fires, in 2015 could be traced back to electrical malfunctions, with 1,225 incidents over the course of the year.

Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defence estimates 70% of all fires in the Kingdom are due to electrical faults and in Qatar the widely reported tragedy at Doha’s Villagio Mall, which claimed the lives of 13 children, two firefighters and four teachers, was also caused by an electrical fault.

Eddie Arrowsmith (pictured), NICEIC Regional Engineering Manager responsible for Middle East operations, said: “A large number of the fires in the region can be traced back to electrical faults which puts thousands of lives at risk every day. Along with development corporations, major international design and construction firms have created highly sophisticated buildings which have transformed cities throughout the GCC.

“It is of paramount importance that these buildings are maintained professionally, to ensure that they continue to provide safe and efficient offices and homes, that are fit for purpose and do not pose a risk to residents or occupants.”

Solid reputation

Over its 60-year history NICEIC has built a reputation for promoting safety, integrity and technical excellence in the electrical industry and will now export the same standards to the GCC.

NICEIC is the most widely recognised brand in the UK’s electrical industry and currently maintains a roll of over 36,000 registered contractors.  In the GCC, NICEIC will provide training, technical advice, certification and information on all the latest industry developments, with each contractor completing a rigorous assessment process, covering a representative sample of their work, premises, documentation, equipment, and the competence of key supervisory staff. Re-assessment will take place on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance.

Arrowsmith added: “NICEIC has worked with tens of thousands of firms to help achieve and maintain excellent safety records on a wide range of projects and we look forward to transferring that success to the GCC. We will be working to accredit contractors through a number of recognised schemes, supporting their students through a technical library, online certification and essential training in general and specialist areas.”

The training will also give contractors a boost when bidding for new projects, as building owners who can verify the quality of electrical work in their assets enjoy lower insurance premiums.

NICEIC first arrived in the GCC in 2015 to provide third party accreditation for a major employer looking to demonstrate the competency of its electrical workers. Since then, a growing number of firms now want to accredit their services and raise the standard of electrical work in the region, such as Dubai-based developer Meraas and UAE total facilities management company, Farnek.

“International best practice is a major priority for all of the work we undertake and NICEIC accreditation embodies our commitment to provide high quality services and gives our clients confidence, knowing our electrical work is carried out to the highest technical standards,” said Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek.