The fire which severely damaged ‘The Address’ 63-storey skyscraper hotel Dubai (93rd tallest building in the world) on New Year’s Eve is the third major skyscraper fire in the city since 2012, after the (aptly named) ‘The Torch’ fire (86 stories) in February 2015 and ‘Tamweel Tower” in November 2012. The fire renews concerns about the use of non fire safety treated, combustible materials in exterior facades throughout the UAE. 16 people were injured in this fire but safety experts fear that “there will be fatalities sooner or later”.
Many buildings in the Emirates have non flame retardant, flammable, polyurethane and aluminium composite claddings because fire safety requirements were only introduced in 2013, when the UAE updated its Fire and Life Safety Code to require that exterior cladding is fire-resistant on all new buildings over 15 meters tall. Fire experts say “Hundreds of Dubai’s tallest buildings are infernos waiting to happen” but the costs of replacing cladding on the many skyscrapers with pre-2013 fire danger materials will be tens of millions of dollars each.
“Dubai hotel fire: Inferno at 63-storey Address Downtown hotel near New Year’s Eve fireworks display, Telegraph, 2/1/2016
“Dubai Marina Torch Fire: What Next? Who Pays? Non-fire retardant cladding poses an enormous risk for high-rises in the UAE”, Gulf Business 3/3/2015