Tuesday, June 6, 2017

UK electrical safety body to open Dubai office

Niceic, the British training and safety body for electrical contractors, is set to open its regional office in Dubai, UAE, in a bid to help GCC authorities tackle the high incidence of building fires caused by electrical faults.

Niceic is the electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary regulatory body for electrical installation safety throughout the UK.

Its expansion of services comes after the introduction of Dubai’s new fire code in January, which mandates third-party independent inspections, strict accountability and a number of fines for non-compliance or a breach of standards.

Eddie Arrowsmith, the regional engineering manager at Niceic responsible for Middle East operations, said: "A large number of the fires in the region can be traced back to electrical faults which puts thousands of lives at risk every day."

Electrical faults are the most common cause of fire across the GCC, he stated, citing a key study by Dubai Statistics Centre.

The study revealed that 22 per cent of fires between 2011 and 2013 had been caused by electrical faults such as the one which started the fire at The Address Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve 2015.

In Oman, one third of all fires, in 2015 could be traced back to electrical malfunctions, with 1,225 incidents over the course of the year.

Saudi Arabia’s civil defence estimates 70 per cent of all fires in the kingdom are due to electrical faults and in Qatar the widely reported tragedy at Doha’s Villagio Mall, which claimed the lives of 13 children, two firefighters and four teachers, was also caused by an electrical fault.

Arrowsmith said along with development corporations, major international design and construction firms have created highly sophisticated buildings which have transformed cities throughout the GCC.

"It is of paramount importance that these buildings are maintained professionally, to ensure that they continue to provide safe and efficient offices and homes, that are fit for purpose and do not pose a risk to residents or occupants," he added.

Over its 60-year history, Niceic has built a reputation for promoting safety, integrity and technical excellence in the electrical industry and will now export the same standards to the GCC.

According to Arrowsmith, Niceic is the most widely recognised brand in the UK’s electrical industry and currently maintains a roll of over 36,000 registered contractors.

In the GCC, it will provide training, technical advice, certification and information on all the latest industry developments, with each contractor completing a rigorous assessment process, covering a representative sample of their work, premises, documentation, equipment, and the competence of key supervisory staff, he stated.

Re-assessment will take place on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance, he added.

Arrowsmith said the training will also give contractors a boost when bidding for new projects, as building owners who can verify the quality of electrical work in their assets enjoy lower insurance premiums.

Niceic first arrived in the GCC in 2015 to provide third-party accreditation for a major employer looking to demonstrate the competency of its electrical workers, he stated.

Since then, a growing number of firms now want to accredit their services and raise the standard of electrical work in the region, such as Dubai-based developer Meraas and UAE total facilities management company, Farnek, he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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