Chaired by Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Federal Demographic Structure Council (FDSC) held its 11th periodic meeting in Abu Dhabi. The meeting was attended by Saqr bin Ghobash, Minister of Labor; Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy; and Mariam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs.
During the meeting, the council approved the outcomes attained by the Technical Committee for Efficient Building Design, in response to the decision of the Council of Ministers to develop a general Construction Index in the UAE, within the set of proposals that the FDSC submitted to the Council of Ministers. The index aims to establish uniform building design codes in a bid reduce the need for low-skilled laborers at construction sites; and encourage the use of modern methods of construction using prefabricated components manufactured in modern factories and then assembling these components at the construction site using a minimum number of laborers and with a high level of quality.
Attendees also reviewed the joint efforts exerted by the federal and local government entities, in coordination with the General Secretariat of the Federal Demographic Structure Council to develop the ‘Building Design Efficiency Index’. The index was designed by specialized engineers from the Ministry of Public Works, the municipality of Abu Dhabi and the Municipality of Dubai, in close consultation and cooperation with the private sector.
The index analyzes the building designs and plans based on the end goal, which is reducing the number of laborers at the construction site. The field studies carried out by the council indicated that implementing the minimum standards of the efficiency building design index will yield a significant and positive impact on reducing low-skilled laborers, reducing a project’s cost, duration and human errors, as well as decreasing construction debris and pollutants during construction.
H.E the Minister of Economy had formed two committees to develop a general Construction Index in the UAE. The first is a supervisory committee chaired by Minister of Economy and includes the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Works; the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Municipality; the Director General of the Dubai Municipality; the Assistant Secretary for Policies and Research at FDSC; the Director of the National Productivity Improvement Program; and a representative from the Association of Contractors as members. The key task of this committee is to oversee the index’s development process. The second committee is technical, chaired by Hessa Al Malek from the Ministry of Public Works, and includes in its membership a number of engineers from the municipalities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in coordination with the General Secretariat of the FDSC. The key mission of this committee is to develop a ‘Building Design Efficiency Index’ that is well suited for the UAE.
The technical committee reviewed the viewpoints of the contractors and consultants. The concerned parties stressed the importance of establishing uniform standards and measurements, especially in the structures and wall systems. This is of high importance because in any project, traditional concrete work to build structures and walls requires a large number of workers, and also represents the biggest part of the total cost and duration of the project. Construction companies unanimously approved the implementation of the index, which would reduce the need for low-skilled laborers, and accelerate the project delivery process, ultimately yielding a positive impact on their business. Furthermore, the municipalities’ experts who took part in developing the index praised the standards that encourage the use of modern methods, hence reducing errors during the construction process, as well as reducing differences that may arise between developers and construction companies.
On the same note, the work team evaluated a large number of existing projects to identify the most appropriate minimum standards for the index in the first stage. The team also examined the production capacity of national factories specialized in the supply of prefabricated building components and the modern systems adopted commensurate with the state of the construction industry; in addition to the gradual transition towards the modern systems. The proposed index was also submitted for review to the various municipalities across the UAE, which expressed willingness to adopt and implement the index.
According to architects affiliated with municipalities and contractors from the private sector and construction companies, the proposed building standards are expected to increase the average lifespan of these buildings, as the prefabricated building components are manufactured in a perfect environment and using advanced methods and modern devices with easily controlled high quality specifications. Studies also revealed that adopting the standards proposed in the ‘Building Design Efficiency Index’ contribute to reducing cost by 10% and increasing the speed of delivery. It is also expected to save almost 30% construction time compared with the traditional methods, in addition to reducing the number of workers at construction sites.
The Design Efficiency Index do not impede creativity in the designs because the uniform building code requirements only include the structure and wall systems, in addition to some supporting standards related to the size of key components such as doors and windows, which encourage prefabrication of these components and reduce the need for workers.
This project is a part of the initiatives of the National Productivity Improvement Program, implemented by the Federal Demographic Structure Council. It is designed to increase productivity levels in the UAE, reduce dependence on expatriate workers with a low skill level or a limited economic value for the work performed, and forge ahead towards creating a knowledge economy that is based on highly skilled workers and driven by technology, under the leadership of competent national cadres.
The council adopted a proposal to form an evaluation and follow-up committee from the Ministry of Public Works and Municipalities, in a bid to implement the index across all municipalities and to follow-up on the observance of its relevant standards. The committee would also identify the index’s uniform minimum standards at the countrywide level, develop these standards, and periodically upgrade the minimum standards, with the aim of encouraging the construction industry to boost the efficiency of design.
The meeting was attended by Hamid Al Dir’e, Assistant Secretary General for Strategy and Communications; Dr. Saeed Abdullah, Assistant Secretary General for Policies and Research ; and Eng. Issa Al Hammadi from the Secretariat General of the Federal Demographic Structure Council; along with Eng. Hissa Al Malek from the Ministry of Public Works.