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Lootah CEO: COVID-19 will change real estate design and property management in the short and long term


Lootah Real Estate Development (Lootah), one of the region’s most prominent real estate developers, noted the ways in how real estate can change due to the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic—listing down its immediate solutions while advising long-term measures developers can do.

As the UAE implements various measures to combat the spread of the disease, Lootah runs down the changes they have done, as well as recommends long-term solutions other real estate developers could observe to combat COVID-19.

According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, COVID-19 has already infected over 665,164 worldwide and has taken the lives of more than 30,852 people as of March 29, 2020—pushing governments around the globe to implement lockdowns, and sending global stocks tumbling.

For short-term solutions, Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Lootah’s CEO, said they have focused on stricter sanitation measures both for its occupants and staff. These include the provision of hand sanitisers in high traffic areas, limitation of people in elevators to ensure social distancing, placement of posters promoting health and safety, disinfection of surfaces that are frequently touched (flat surfaces, lobby desks, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics, elevator buttons, doorknobs, etc.). It has also temporarily closed its amenities like gym, pools, sauna & spa as per the UAE guidelines in all of its properties.

“We always urge our residents and staff to practice good hygiene and staying at home whenever possible, especially when they are feeling sick. Lootah has always been committed to the safety of every tenant and employee, but right now, with the threat of the pandemic, we have taken extra precautions to make sure we contribute to alleviating its spread. We also make sure we stay up to date with the current developments in the UAE and the world so we can arrive at informed decisions on how we can make everyone safe,” he said.

Lootah has also advised other industry leaders to think of long-term plans to guarantee the safety of everyone against the disease, such as the development of buildings with contingent designs that may act as preventive measures in the future.

Such measures, he advised, may include touch-less technology in the buildings—wherein there could be automatic sliding doors and voice-activated elevators.

He added that another measure that could be implemented in real estate is the installation of heat map detectors to scan the temperature of each visitor at the building entrances. Lootah also recommended re-modelling the vent system of the building that involves air purification measures.

Lootah mentioned that the safety of its residents and staff and has always been their top priority—especially in this global health threat. “More than anything else, we care about the safety of our employees, residents, and clients. This is why we constantly strive to adhere to the sanitation standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UAE government. We want to make sure that we provide a healthy environment to all the parties involved in our business, because only through doing it can we ensure the continuity of business. Now more than ever, we have to prioritise the health of everyone, a reason we are supporting the government’s initiative to fight this pandemic,” he said.

As an industry leader, Lootah also advises his peers from the industry to observe a healthy and hygienic environment by implementing these measures to further improve the quality of living for its investors and community.

“Small initiatives like adjusting indoor environments and improving ventilation, temperature and humidity can have a positive effect against viruses. While social distancing seems to be the temporary immediate action, I believe it is reasonable for the real estate community to collaboratively think about solutions that incorporate preventive measures,” added Lootah.

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