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At last, sustainable development is recognised in the GCC.

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Oh Gosh, this is what I've been waiting to hear for years. Here are the news for you :)

GCC norms to bring down building costs

DOHA: GCC states are working towards developing common regional standards and specifications for buildings and once the new benchmark is applied, buildings would be ‘green’ and building materials would be cheaper by 40 to 50 percent, a senior Qatari official said yesterday.

Qatar is playing a key role in helping develop the regional standards and specifications for buildings to be constructed in the Gulf region, Dr Mohamed Saif Al Kuwari, head of laboratories at the Ministry of Environment, said. All buildings in the Gulf region — whether offices or homes — will have to be ‘green’ and comply with these standards and specifications once they are in force. The benchmark standards would make mandatory the use of environment-friendly building materials. Extensive guidelines will be issued as part of the proposed benchmark on how to make optimum utilisation of energy in a building and how to make it fire-proof.

“We will need specialists to oversee construction of such buildings,” said Dr Anawar Al Abdullah, secretary-general of GCC Standards Organization.

He was addressing a news conference with Al Kuwari here yesterday to announce the holding of a ‘GCC Buildings Code’ conference from October 11. The event is to discuss the proposed benchmark and setting up of a regional body that would help enforce it.

Al Abdullah urged universities and engineering colleges in the region to include the standards and specifications under study in their curriculum for engineering courses once they are ready.

He said building material industries in the region would get a tremendous boost once a regional benchmark is implemented. Best practices in the field from around the world are being studied for reference in the preparation of the proposed regional benchmark.

The minimum age of a building would be 60 years once the benchmark is in force, said Al Kuwari. According to him, Qatar has emerged as a pioneer in the region and outside in several key areas.

For example, it conducted research-based studies on ready-mix concrete which is used in the local construction industry.

The researches have been so successful and the quality of ready-mix used here is so high that Qatar’s example is being emulated by many other GCC and Arab countries.

Similarly, Qatar’s research in the field of recycling sewage water have earned recognition in several countries, including some GCC neighbours, and these countries have adopted the system successfully, curtailing their reliance on the precious potable water, said Al Kuwari. The Peninsula
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