Q: What are the main challenges faced by sustainable building developers in the GCC?
A: Sustainability is an area that is becoming increasingly important for everybody who is involved in the
construction process - for the owners, for the architects and engineers, for the contractors as well as for the developers. One of the main challenges that we face on implementing sustainable development is, time. Sustainability usually requires additional time in terms of the design process, additional thought to rethink how you’re going to do things and sometimes additional time for construction as well.
Q: What are the main trends you have seen in sustainable building development in this region?
A: There is huge interest in the region in promoting and pushing sustainability into the development culture to conform to each country’s vision. This can be seen with the Green Building Regulations & Specifications for Buildings in Dubai as well as with the efforts made by Estidama in Abu Dhabi. Developers and others in the industry are constantly looking for ways in which they can incorporate LEED, BREEAM or Estidama designs, or any other type of sustainability approaches into standard, everyday practice.
Q: How do you see Dubai becoming a sustainable city in the future and what needs to
be done to fill the gap?
A: Right now, there is a large overall ecological footprint per capita in this region compared to other cities in the world. The top three cities in this category are here in the region. I think the leaders recognise this and they want to do something about it. They have made it a priority and are trying to actually make an impact. I believe sustainability will become more commonplace as a result of that. Also, we need to see more sustainable building material options available in this market. (See pages 20 & 34 for material options.) For instance, the options currently available for the construction of building façades or for building insulation are very limited. The low demand has put high prices on these materials. Due to this, contractors may also not select sustainable options because of their
Q: Do the climatic conditions in the region affect sustainable building design?
A: I think that the weather really incentivises the need for better solutions for sustainable structures and buildings. The use of alternative power sources for buildings is certainly a great opportunity here with the amount of sunshine that is available in this region. The climate doesn’t make the building process more difficult, it just changes how we go about implementation.
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