Technical Director, Buildings
What mechanisms are activated when a rapid growth scenario occurs in a city like Dubai, Middle East, because of several large-scale fast track developments being simultaneously launched? To achieve ambitious outcomes, the administration and authorities had to create new municipalities for many of the new cities within the city, which increased the growth of variations in the authority approval processes. Because technical solutions are highly dependent on authority regulations, a reflection and examples on the current status of approval processes is compared with the processes of other locations, while debating whether there are better middle-ground approaches, while also discussing safety levels of structures.
Fast-track projects generate innovation and the Middle East has many examples of innovative solutions, from fully prefabricated housing and low-rise projects, to sophisticated high-rise buildings constructed via advanced jump-form techniques that were developed locally and consider multifunctional site activities. Understanding the local conditions is essential; namely seismicity, wind environment, extreme temperatures and aggressive soil conditions in the development-heavy coastal areas. Additional factors are locally-sourced construction materials and the development of new materials and techniques such as high-strength concrete and solar panels, and 3D printed materials. Case studies of leaking basements, fire in claddings, air tightness of façades and thermal bridging are discussed to fuel a discussion on how these issues can be avoided in the future.