As part of developing the green building project and the transformation to a sustainable and smart city according to the vision of Dubai Municipality, its Buildings Department has issued Circular No. 222 for putting the new green building rating system, Al Saafat, in the implementation phase by the beginning of next year.
Saafat in Arabic means date palm fronds and refers to the traditional Arabic system of using palm fronds as roofing to keep the interior cool. It was a symbol of construction and also represents the local environment because all parts of the palm tree were utilised for various purposes.
Al Saafat project aims to reduce 20% in electricity consumption, 15% in water consumption, 20% carbon dioxide emissions, and 50% waste reduction. The initiative is designed to achieve high performance of buildings to promote human and environmental health by strengthening the planning, design, implementation, and operation phases of buildings.
Eng Layali Al Mulla, director of buildings department, Dubai Municipality, said: “In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the municipality continues to move towards achieving its goals of being the world’s first sustainable city; hence, it has launched several projects and initiatives, the latest being green building rating system, Al Saafat.”
The objectives include enhancing Dubai’s march towards sustainable development and to make the country as a healthy city that meets the highest standards of sustainable development through continuous rationalisation of energy consumption, conservation of water resources, protection of environment from harmful pollutants and waste in order to provide a better life for the community, ensure economic growth in Dubai, increase its competitive opportunities and its leading role in sustainable development.
Al Mulla stressed the role of integrated control through the work mechanisms in the Buildings Department to ensure quality and accuracy in carrying out construction work that comply with the requirements of the green building rules and specifications during the stages of licensing and supervision in order to achieve the desired objectives and enhance cooperation between Dubai Municipality and its strategic partners, the property developers, owners, consultancy offices and contracting companies operating in Dubai.
As per the Circular No. 222, the green building rating is split into four major classifications: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze (in the descending order) and every building must adhere to the minimum bronze category requirements.
The general requirements and the bronze requirements are mandatory for private residential villas and industrial buildings, while the general requirements and the bronze and silver requirements are mandatory for the rest of the buildings such as investment villas, public buildings, multi-storey and floor level buildings. The platinum and gold requirements are optional for all types of new buildings.
As regards the current status of the green building regulations and specifications, Eng Fida Al Hammadi, head of research and building system section, pointed out that Dubai Municipality has licensed more than 3,716ha of green buildings during 2014-2017.
“The buildings completed according to this regulation is increasing at an accelerated pace, which will lead to the efficiency of the performance of buildings in the area of energy and water consumption, and reduce waste generated from both construction and operation of buildings. It will also contribute to supporting green economy initiatives by encouraging the use of environmentally friendly materials with low-impact on the internal environment, ensuring the achievement of a comfortable, healthy and safe environment for building occupants.”
Al Hammadi pointed out that the Buildings Department, through the circular, has opened the way for owners and developers wishing to apply for re-evaluation of buildings constructed after January 1, 2012 according to the terms and conditions of green buildings by a consultant or contractor, according to the selected Saafat, through the website
“A green building evaluation certificate will be issued for the Bronze and Silver Saafat with the issuance of the certificate of completion if their requirements are met. As for the Gold and Platinum Saafat, the owner should submit application separately to the Researches and Building System Section through the Saafat website in order to check the systems applied in the building during the operation phase, and during the issuance of the certificate and the installation of the board on the building. The validity of the Saafat certificate will be three years, and all buildings with the certificate shall be re-evaluated for renewal after the expiration of this period, based on the official request submitted by the owner of the building or his representative through the Saafat website.”