We are all aware of the exponential growth of buildings both residential and commercial construction in Dubai and throughout the Emirates. However, growth on this scale has not been without a steep learning curve that has forged Dubai into one of the leading and strictest countries for construction regulations. The two major municipality inspections are regularly exercised in Dubai in every newly completed building.
For a quality engineer working in this environment, you will have honed your skills with continuous documentation checks and keeping updated with amendments.
You will have learned to deal with relentless municipality inspections and contractors and direct company employees to adhere to reports, ensuring conformity to building codes and specifications.
In your role as a quality engineer, it is often your duty to ensure the completion certificates are issued on time without problems. With so many regulations to deal with this can be a daunting task for the less experienced quality engineer.
For the experienced quality engineer the culmination of the construction project leading to the issuance of the completion certificate is a busy time for the team, and one with potential consequences if delays occur.
In this short document, I will give you the heads up on two critical requirements before the certificate of completion is issued.
Civil Defence Inspection
When you have submitted your request for the project completion certificate your project should be substantially complete, if not fully complete. However, the inspector will issue the completion certificate if he can see the project is well advanced and a completion deadline is imminent.
The reason the municipality inspections or the Civil Defence can issue a completion certificate before actual project completion is that Civil Defence is concerned with electrical schematic sign-off and fire suppression systems.
Both of these projects areas fall under MEP (mechanical-electrical and plumbing) which will have been completed long before the whole project is completed.
Nevertheless, you will need to have copies of the original building permit, NOC (Non-objection Certificate) from utility companies, and the power supplier.
COC (Certificate of Conformity) for all electrical elements of the project, most of all the fire alarm system and the fire suppression system should any of the original drawings have been amended before completion you will need to produce the sign-offs for the amendments.
The quality engineer should be fully prepared for the inspection and have at hand any certificate requested by the inspector. Be prepared and be knowledgeable about the project.
Do not tell the inspector what you think he wants you to tell him, evidence and compliance are the keys to the certification being issued.
Here are some examples of municipality inspections comments of the Dubai Civil Defence, these comments should assist you with your final checks.
• All fire dampers should be set in an open position to allow normal airflow.
• The building and working areas should have adequate illumination; check light fittings are clean and functioning providing
• Clean all fire sprinklers make sure they are free from constriction debris, paint, and any obstruction that would impede water flow.
• Fire Alarms systems should be mounted in false ceilings and walls and be functional.
• Re-check extraction fans and air makeup fans, check correct airflow to specifications.
• All security and exit doors should be installed prior to inspection.
• No storage should be located in any stall areas and should be removed.
sufficient light for the designated area.
• All exits located in basements areas should be illuminated, directional illuminated arrows should be placed in strategic locations that can be easily seen by anyone on foot.
Before you submit your application for the DCD inspection, you might want to read and learn first about the UAE Fire and Safety Code of Practice. It is an open-source ebook from the dcd.gov.ae.
Dubai Municipality Inspections
How does Dubai Municipality affect the work of an engineer who managed the project and what does the municipality do and is responsible for?
Municipalities wherever in the world have the responsibility for the citizens and services within their jurisdiction. Dubai municipality is no different, and everything that happens in Dubai is directly connected to this important government unit.
In essence, the Dubai municipality touches the working life of a concerned engineer because the Municipality is responsible for all business services such as permits and compliance information.
Running in parallel to the business services department is the government services department, which ensures the common thread of permits and certification are represented in unity throughout the Emirates.
It is worth noting that the Dubai building codes are well established and codified, this means the building regulations are law and cannot be deviated from or altered by the construction company or its contractors.
In the past couple of years, the process for certification in Dubai has been simplified to be friendlier to the architects and construction companies.
However, as with most governments, continual improvements and changes should be expected and it is incumbent on the quality engineer to keep himself appraised of any changes required for compliance and more importantly the final goal of completion certification.
If you are not aware of this already, I want you to get up to speed with SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency).
Buildings in Dubai will be denied permits and completion certificates unless they comply with SIRA requirements. This can only be done by engaging a competent consultant, who will guide the construction company and its architects and engineers through the requirements to comply with SIRA.
For the quality engineer, the Dubai Municipality may be your first port of call when you require completion certification for your construction project.
Unlike Dubai Civil Defence Inspection, the municipality inspector will want more information and correlation to the original construction permit/planning permissions and his focus will be on the compliance of the fabric of the building’s construction in line with the approvals granted from the government prior to construction.
Also unlike the Dubai Civil Defense, the construction will need to be complete, before a certificate of completion will be issued. This includes the removal of office and storage buildings. Minor exterior building works such as finishing landscaping and terracing if applicable will be acceptable to the inspector if not quite complete.
You will need to produce documents like COC (Certificates of Conformity) NOC (Non-Objection Certificates) Planning permission, Dubai Civil Defense sign-off documentation and SIRA compliance, and all other documents associated with the construction project.
For the quality engineer, issuance of the completion certificate is the goal you have been working towards for the whole time the construction project has been in place. The culmination of all of your effort and expertise should not fall at the last hurdle because you are not prepared.
Be prepared for Dubai Civil Defense as your first sign off and then Dubai municipality inspector for the final issuance of completion certification.
The fines in huge amounts will be imposed upon which will be included in the new UAE fire code. Avoid these fines by securing all necessary documents and of course, the building should comply with the civil defense requirements.
Like most things, we do in our working life we need to be prepared and part of being prepared is being educated in local laws and compliance so that the project will always be ready for municipality inspections.
I understand that we can be overwhelmed with work demands at times but the successful quality engineer is prepared for any eventuality and on top of his chosen profession.
Completion certification is no different from any other aspect of our work. Get with the program and be prepared and knowledgeable.