As Qatar, the UAE and other Gulf countries get set to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new construction projects over the next decade, the need to draft a standard building code is growing more urgent.

In a meeting in Abu Dhabi this week, ministry officials, construction heads and municipal representatives from all six Gulf countries agreed to establish such standards by the end of next year, the National reports.

The unified code will be based on international best practices, but it’s unclear whether becoming a signatory to the GCC-wide initiative would affect the current construction environment.

That’s because the agreement would serve as guidelines only, Ahmed Al Shareef, undersecretary at the Department of Municipal Affairs in Abu Dhabi, said.

It would focus on key issues such as safety and sustainable development, he added.

Qatar standards

Qatar last updated its comprehensive national construction standards in 2010. Among the subjects covered are quality assurance, inspections, new technologies, building demolition protocols and health and safety.

But the nation has been criticized lately for the difficult working and living conditions of some of its migrants. This is not because laws are not in place to protect them, but instead due to problems with enforcement, human rights groups have said.

source: dohanews