UAE Fire Code: An excellent model for lowering Facade fires
The potentially catastrophic effect that combustible cladding may have on the loss of life and property has recently been made clear by instances throughout the globe. The use of combustible facade materials that are fire-prone is a result of contemporary movements toward environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. However, considering the growing problem, the UAE FC-2018 has adopted ad hoc measures for building facade approvals in response to the occurrence of several facade fires. The code requires both full-scale assembly tests and tests for each individual facade component for building facade approval if a two-story structure includes an outside continuous curtain wall or cladding. Also, it mandates that expert engineers (HoE) approved by the civil defense review the facade engineering layouts in comparison to full-scale assembly test conditions for every project. Similar to this, the experts are required to conduct 5 inspections during the construction phase (20 %, 40%, 60%, 80% & 100%) to confirm that the site conditions match with the approved engineering layouts and full-scale assembly test reports.
In comparison to the codes of practices followed in many other nations, the UAE FC has impressive rules in place for controlling facade fires, however, some of the concerns are shared below.
1. Even though the UAE FC has Adhoc safeguards in place, the majority of the time, the aluminum contractor would hire the civil defence-approved House of experts to handle their particular project, which raises a red flag due to the conflict of interest.
2. Existing buildings with combustible cladding – Since the aforementioned requirements went into effect in 2018, there is a high fire danger from existing structures, since many buildings in the area were constructed with combustible exterior walls with cavities. Installing conventional fire stops (passive fire protection) to bring old structures up to assembly test standards is difficult and may need replacing the facade entirely.