• Published on April 14, 2013

Most of you may have already heard of green building rules that are rumoured to be implemented from next year for new constructions in Dubai. After Abu Dhabi’s introduction of the Estidama Pearl Rating System in 2010, Dubai Municipality’s implementation of green building rules will be another critical step towards the UAE’s progress in sustainable urban planning. These regulations, which were first proposed in 2009, will not only apply to new-build projects, but also to buildings that undergo additions, extensions and refurbishment which require a building permit from Dubai Municipality.

While regulation to mandate and encourage sustainability are a welcome introduction for many, what can commercial developers, contractors and others in the construction industry do to prepare for the upcoming regulations? To apply any long-term industry change, we must first think about laying the necessary groundwork. Preparation is key for any building owner, developer, architect, designer or end-user impacted by these regulations.

First and foremost educate and familiarise yourself with the rules. Admittedly, this can be difficult when the rules are always evolving so find yourself a trusted consultant who can advise on the lay of the land. For instance, if regulation specifies the use of low-VOC emitting materials, then it would be beneficial to find a consultant or contractor who has worked with such materials. According to current regulations, each building permit has to be accompanied by a Green Building Declaration which is an unconditional commitment taken by the development team to meet the requirements of the green building regulations.

Even as a designer or contractor, you need to know what changes are in store for you and how they will impact your work on a project. You may have worked on sustainable projects earlier but the need to adhere to mandatory government rules for all projects undertaken means that the way you design, delegate, contract and sub-contract projects is likely to change.
The key to the successful delivery of green projects  is to define roles and responsibilities both externally and internally, whether it is deciding who will look after new documentation procedures, sourcing of green-certified products, or agreeing how much of the regulation responsibility will be shared with your partners. This is important in order to avoid making sudden changes to your business processes and defining new roles when regulations come into effect.

At Summertown Interiors, we are committed to being a socially responsible organisation and our environmental footprint is a key area of measurement in this regard. We formed the Summertown Eco Leaders Committee, an internal taskforce of nine employees that is responsible for initiating and managing green measures for the company on a daily basis that.

By Marcos Bish, Managing Director, Summertown Interiors