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New Earthquake Laws Hit Dubai

New Earthquake Laws Hit Dubai
The Dubai government is imposing new earthquake standards for buildings taller than 10 stories, which could add delays and construction costs to buildings.

The regulations require that buildings be able to withstand earthquakes of up to 5.9 on the Richter scale. The new codes are effective immediately for buildings under construction and buildings that do not yet have a permit, according to a statement from the official government news service, WAM.

The new earthquake standards will add a new twist for project designers, particularly for projects already in development in Dubai, one of the world centers for tall buildings.

"These new rules will be of great concern to all those people designing and working on tall buildings in Dubai at the moment, especially those already under construction," Mark Lavery, associate director for tall buildings at the engineering consultancy Buro Happold, told the National.

"The biggest problem is likely to be the delays. It could take two or three months to re-analyze and produce the design documentation to suit the new rules, and then get a new permit from the municipality."

The announcement of the new codes follow two tremors in Iran last month that prompted evacuations of buildings in the UAE.

It is unclear how the Dubai municipality will handle address projects already under construction.

"Any delay will have clear cost implications for developers," Chris Seymour, head of property and social infrastructure at EC Harris, told the National.

The Municipality is also expected to release new codes for wind standards for tall building in the next few months.

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