Rains can cause a world of disruption in this predominantly dry climate, but buildings should still be able to cope if constructed properly.
Dubai mean rainfall (mm), 1967-2009
before defects become apparent. But what about the effects on tenants in a multi-tenanted facility? Some of those affected by the rain damage are unable to continue trading until the problems have been rectified. Who pays for this loss of business? Insurance? Maybe, if the tenant has adequate cover. The building owner can lose money if tenants are unable to trade. But wouldn’t it be better if the developer paid for damage and loss caused by poor quality construction or defects? Perhaps things might improve if the developer committed to a longer period of liability, perhaps ten years? Why should a building or unit owner have to foot the bill for poorquality construction? If buildings can keep out rain in other parts of the world, why not here in the Middle East, too? The mechanism to encourage developers and design/construction companies to focus on delivering a higher quality product can be quite straightforward – money! Contracts often have retentions for set periods. Why not simply make those
30 April 2010
Alan Millin suggests longer liability periods for construction contractors.
periods longer to make sure the buildings are sound before paying the retention?
Lower-quality Even residential buildings are not immune. Lower-quality apartment buildings leak, too. Water enters from the roof area. Water enters through the windows. The fact that the buildings are not luxury villas should not automatically translate to poor-quality construction. The fixtures and fittings might be cheaper, but the building itself should be sound. In one case, the master developer of a community took no action on
a freehold owner’s complaints during the rains early last year, and then took the same stance again this year. Their response this year was nothing short of insulting to the apartment owner: “The defect liability period (DLP) on your unit has now expired; we are no longer responsible for corrective works”. The same master developer has offered no explanation as to why it failed to respond to requests for work during the DLP either. To be using the DLP now to sidestep their responsibility reflects very badly on the company in question. Owners need protection from unscrupulous developers such as the one de-
“If buildings can keep out rain in other parts of the world, why not here in the Middle East, too?”
scribed above. The developers should be held accountable for the quality of their product. It is interesting that, at a time when corporate reputation management should be a factor on everyone’s agenda, some developers seem intent on suffering from self-inflicted wounds. Executives can act to protect their corporate reputations before attacks occur. They can act to handle attacks on their reputations as they occur. Why they would be happy to stand by as their company suffers at its own hands is something of a puzzling conundrum. One thing is sure, though. Clients should no longer foot the bill for the poor performance of master developers, designers and construction teams. Alan Millin is a Chartered Engineer and LEED Accredited Professional. He is an independent consultant, coach and trainer, based in Dubai. He has over 35 years’ experience in the HVAC industry, and has led the consultancy mission of two major Dubai FM companies. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilities Management Middle East - April 2010 - ITP Business