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The dog's bark louder than his bite?

Summary: Or is it just a sensible dog? Kipp wonders whether to laugh at decision delay enforcing green code on buildings or to empathise with it.

It started as early as four years ago when a directive from Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed said that all buildings constructed in Dubai from 2008 should meet the green building standards. From then on, it was long and tiring dance that ensued at the Dubai Municipality, as officials tried to work out the regulations for the new code. But then finally late last year, the reports came in 2010 that the Dubai Municipality had finalised the nitty-gritty details. The government approved the code and lo and behold every newspaper boasted about this excellent achievement: all buildings to go green in 2011.

For their part, the Municipality was rather sensible about the implementation of the code. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the Municipality had said that the regulations would be implemented in phases during which the municipality intended to educate the construction industry. The government also promised to offer incentives to encourage developers to adhere to the green building code.

It was a fine day for the Dubai Municipality. But now, barely three months after the grand announcement, comes news that the Green building code introduced in January will not come into force until January 2014.

"The Government does not want any additional costs to building owners and investors" said Yousef Jebril, the executive vice president of power and water planning at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) at the Dubai Global Energy Forum at the conclusion of the three-day event at the city's World Trade Centre.

And though you may expect Kipp to come down harshly on the powers that be, as we do, for backtracking on their commitments to going green, we are rather torn on this one. On one hand we think it is so typically Dubai to make these larger than life statements like, "No more plastic bags after 2012," "Reducing our Carbon Footprint by 50 percent in 2 years" and the like. But on the other hand, we understand that the desire to go green, first expressed in 2007 at the height of the boom, is both expensive and potentially detrimental to the construction industry.

Currently major developments under way have been either stalled, cancelled or are going on at a snail's pace. Should Dubai penalise construction companies who cannot at the moment afford to go green, at the risk of further jeopardising the injured property market? Or should they follow through with their noble plans of going green as promised? Don't look at Kipp for answers, it is a tough one. What do you think?

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Publication:Kippreport
Date:Apr 20, 2011
Words:460
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