As October marks the start of the long-awaited Expo 2020 it is exciting to see an interview with Steve Hamm, CEO of the IFE in this edition of Gulf Fire. The interview discusses the new global strategy being implemented by the IFE in addition to how the IFE can support members dealing with local and global changes within and across the fire sector. I would strongly recommend reading this interview.
Key action points in the IFE strategy include competency and sustainability along with training, CPD and qualifications. The strategy acknowledges the support the branches can provide by influencing new legislation and regulations and the guidance on training to support these changes. A look forward is given to the introduction of new examinations and the volunteer hub which will all support the aims for enhancing the stature of fire engineering and recognizing members’ level of expertise.
Covid-19 is still a big topic for discussion and the success of the vaccination programme across the UAE has allowed easing of restrictions locally and on a global platform, but we must remain united and keep our guard and standards at a high level to minimise the risks of spreading the virus.
The year within the construction and built-environment sector started with a high level of optimism and this has continued lead by projects in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As this year formally marks the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, official celebrations commenced on 6 April 2021 with the year’s theme of celebration being the ‘Year of the 50th’.
There have been several recent initiatives with the aim of attracting the brightest minds and creative talent to the region. The UAE recently announced the launch of one new resident visa category, the Green Visa, as part of the country’s celebration for the Golden Jubilee. In addition, the UAE has announced citizenship law amendments to grant investors, people with specialized talents and professionals Emirati citizenship. The country also updated its residence and tourist visa programme to attract investors and entrepreneurs to the country with the introduction of a remote work visa; a five-year multi-entry tourist visa for all nationalities for up to 90 days for each visit; and permission for foreign students to bring their families to the UAE as long as they are financially stable.
EXPO 2020 update
As this edition of Gulf Fire is released Expo 2020 will have started and visitors will be able to explore the power of connections in shaping the future of our world and be presented with unique architecture, culture and inspiring innovations from the participating organisations and 191 nations.
For the first time in World Expo history, every participating country will have its own pavilion allowing visitors to enjoy cultural experiences and discover what makes each country unique and experience how people from across the world are creating meaningful impact through a range of programmes and initiatives. As a reminder the objectives of the Expo 2020 are:
- Innovation – Making Expo 2020 an engine of global innovation that both inspires and acts as a catalyst for creative and scalable solutions.
- Partnerships – Establish a network for collaboration between nations, organisations and innovators via shared global challenges.
- Impact – Create tangible and quantifiable impact to improve the lives of people around the world by supporting the development and transfer of new solutions.
- Engagement – Engage participants and stakeholders by ‘Connecting Minds’ to support solutions across Expo’s subthemes.
A new committee has been created by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai to lead the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan that was unveiled earlier in 2021. The high-profile plan will focus on five key districts of the emirate as it looks to increase usable land and sustainability throughout the city. These districts are Deira and Bur Dubai, Downtown and Business Bay, Expo 2020 Centre, Dubai Silicon Oasis Centre and Dubai Marina and JBR.
The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan was launched in March 2021 to make Dubai ‘the world’s best place to live in’ providing the highest standards of urban infrastructure and facilities in the city. Beyond its responsibility to achieve the objectives of the Urban Master Plan, the new committee will also work in line with all government priorities and directives, while also ensuring integration of roles across the urban planning sector.
The urban construction sector witnessed a flurry of contract awards in Q2 and most notably saw the resumption of projects that were earlier placed on hold due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In Abu Dhabi, the Hard Rock Hotel that will host the world renowned Hard Rock Cafe in Al Zahiya resumed construction after being stalled for about three years, while a new contractor was appointed allowing resumption of the Maryah Plaza residential development on Al Maryah Island located in the capital of UAE.
The urban construction sector in Dubai despite witnessing a slowdown is putting up a hard fight for revival. Vincitore Benessere, a retail and residential building that depicts the grand Legacy of Greek, Roman and European architecture, was set into motion by the award of the main and MEP construction contracts in Arjan. La Quinta, designed under the concept of ‘cluster homes’ featuring three, four, five and five plus- bedroom independent villas, achieved near to full completion and is due to be handed over to the client, Dubai Properties, in September 2021. Moreover, the work on Donna Towers in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) recommenced with a completion date of Q2, 2022 following the termination of the earlier contract in Q1, 2021.
Elsewhere, a subsidiary of the largest Belgian construction company operating in the Middle East was awarded the main construction contract for the Sheikh Zayed National Museum coming up in the Cultural District of Abu Dhabi. In addition, the Fujairah Government signed an agreement with the Unique Collectibles Museum to establish the World History Museum in the emirate which will be the first of its kind in the region displaying rare artefacts from ancient civilizations. We also learnt that the construction on the new UAQ National Museum commenced in Northern Emirates with completion scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.
The most notable completions in the hospitality industry in Q2 were the St. Regis Dubai, The Palm in Palm Jumeirah, Terhab Hotel & Residences and a 4-star hotel, The One JVT both located in Jumeirah Village Triangle within Dubai.
As we move towards the cooler winter months and hopefully a wider lifting of travel restrictions, we can look forward to the recommencing of ‘in-person’ events and exhibitions such as Intersec which is scheduled to take place in Dubai from 16 to 18 January 2022. Such events can act as a catalyst for knowledge sharing and allow us to collaborate across the industry and support the implementation of the IFE strategy as highlighted in the interview with the IFE CEO, Steve Hamm, within this edition of Gulf Fire.
For more information, go to www.ife.org.uk/GCC-UAE