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Friday, June 02, 2006

A Week of Construction in the UAE

What happens in a typical week across the vast landscape of construction projects in the UAE? Or even more pertinent to the topic of this blog, what goes on in the Dubai Marina? The latest issue of Construction Week reports Another worker dies on the JBR site, which adds one more to a tally of two killed in the previous month.

Another story announces, DAMAC flooding fiasco provokes tenants’ fury in which developer DAMAC's newly completed Marina Terrace tower suffered its second major pipe-bursting incident in four weeks, causing tenants potentially thousands of dollars in damages. Advice to tenants from the developer's chief executive, Peter Riddoch, was to take up damage claims (if any) with their individual insurance firms.

These are certainly the kind of reports that make you wonder--how many deaths and injuries go on (mostly unreported) at construction sites across the city and country, and of what quality are the towers and other structures being built?

Also, whose responsibility is it when things go wrong? Apparently, DAMAC's cheif executive doesn't believe it his company's responsibility, even in a newly commissioned tower. Will the insurance providers readily take up the task of paying out when blame can be so clearly assigned to the builder?

Further afield in the wider Dubai environment was news of the 4-5 day strike by the 8,000-10,000 laborers of building contractor Besix. This was apparanlly the largest and most organized strike ever in the country, yet the outcome for those involved suggests their efforts were in vain. The latest issue of Construction Week goes into some detail in several different articles on laborers' issues.

The bigger question is what such stories say about the building phenomenon taking place across the city and country. Accidents do happen--but why? Is there enough accountability? Are workers needlessly dying and being injured, and are investors and homebuyers being handed structures of inexcusably poor workmanship?

(The articles referenced above are also posted in this post's comments.

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