UAE – Over the past few years a spate of serious building facade fires has triggered a global debate on the quality of fire safety regulations and standards for buildings, particularly in high-rise buildings.
From China to France and Germany to the UAE, whilst the specific causes of these fires were all very different, according to experts, they all have one thing in common: the construction products used on the facades played a key role in the fire’s development.
Modern buildings and the materials used to construct them have changed beyond recognition over the past 30 years. Contemporary buildings are bigger, higher and more complex than ever before and use innovative materials and systems such as ventilated facades and metal faced sandwich panels — often with combustible thermal insulation built in.
These innovations are born largely out of increased requirements for sustainability – for example some of the most recent of new building regulations in the MENA region encourage or require that all new buildings meet international green building standards – but unfortunately building fire safety regulations have more than often been unable to keep pace.
The authorities in the UAE and the region have an important and urgent task ahead of them, according to Barry Lynham, group director of strategy and communication at Knauf Insulation and President of Fire Safe Europe who will address the 6th Annual Fire Safety Technology Forum in the UAE bringing experience from Europe. Held under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, this year the event is themed ‘Innovation for High Rise Resilience’
“Whilst our high rise constructions in Europe are dwarfed by the super high rise buildings of the UAE, our challenge is far from small and we have enormous common task: to regulate for resilience and ensure the long-term safety of high-rise buildings. By partnering with organisations such as Fire Safe Europe and a wide range of construction and fire safety experts and industry partners, Knauf Insulation has been supporting policy makers across Europe to remedy dangerous discrepancies in fire safety regulations and ensure that fire safety codes for buildings and testing protocols for construction products are rigorous and performance based. I am looking forward to bringing this experience to the UAE and learning from colleagues in the region,” he said.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of insulation materials, Knauf Insulation offers a wide range of fire-safe insulation products for every building requirement.