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Dubai real estate market sees renewed interest by Russian investors

Statistics published by leading Dubai real estate portal PropertyTrader.ae for the first half of 2016, have revealed a significant rise in overseas enquiries from Russian site visitors – indicating a renewed interest in the emirate as an investment hotspot.

Although Russia has always been a key market for Dubai, especially for property purchases in glamorous communities such as Emirates Hills and the Palm Jumeirah, interest dipped after the record fall of the Rouble earlier this year amid the oil price slump – but has come bouncing back according to PropertyTrader.ae data analysts.

“As we looked at the statistics for the first six months of 2016, we noticed a definite increase in visitors from Russia looking at homes for sale in Dubai,” said Umer Ali, Sales Director at PropertyTrader.ae.

“As an illustration, in January 2016 hits from Russia made up just 6% of our overall traffic, yet in July it was up by nearly three times at 17% – this is a significant upward trend.”

He added: “This ties in with just published research by Russian real estate agency Tranio, which placed Dubai at the top of the most popular cities for prospective property investors right now.”

Russia has traditionally been attracted to Dubai for its vast array of luxury property when compared to many other cities, while low taxes and year-round warm weather are other factors that lure investors there. They are also drawn to the city’s health and transport infrastructure, good education, and its safe haven status in the region. Amidst the prevalent slowdown, Dubai’s property market can surely benefit from the return of Russian cash.

In 2015, the Dubai Land Department ranked Russian investors as the sixth largest group of foreign buyers in Dubai’s realty sector.

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Construction industry experts and government officials assembling in Dubai next month will tackle the threat of fires in the region, an issue highlighted by recent blazes in high-rise towers.
 
The latest statistics, published this month by Guardian Wealth Management, a global financial planning company, claim that up to 80 percent of expatriate residents living in Dubai are not protected against property fire.
 
In the build-up to the Windows, Doors & Façades Event taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 18 - 20 September, the latest fire safety circular issued by Dubai Municipality looks set to change the face of the construction industry.
 
That and the new fire safety codes, underlining the need for the right building façade materials to ensure heightened safety and fire prevention, will be top of the agenda for international consultants, government officials, high-profile construction engineers at the Middle East Façades Summit, the conference taking place alongside the first day of the exhibition.
 
Andy Dean, Head of Façades for the Middle East at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and design firm, believes that UAE high-rise buildings present several unique challenges, including complex evacuation strategies, fire department accessibility, smoke movement and fire control.
 
Speaking ahead of his participation in the Summit, he said: “The much-anticipated update to the country-specific UAE Fire and Life Safety code has been introduced and includes a significantly enhanced section on façade materials (Chapter 4). Since its original introduction in 2012, the market has consequently learned and absorbed this information and, at the very least, an awareness of the need for the control of fire performance has become self-evident, which is the first step in any learning process.”
 
A panel discussion, ‘Fire safety in design – translating policy into practice’, featuring Dean alongside David O’Riley, Brittania International; and moderated by Christopher Seymour from Mott MacDonald, will focus on the effective practices for ensuring highest safety standards of new construction projects as well as the ways existing buildings can be brought up to code.
 
Dean added: “The design challenge here isn’t innovation in safety, but in using robust and verified methods of evaluating new and innovative buildings, construction materials and techniques. However, tools such as building information modeling (BIM) and parametric modelling allow us to identify buildability problems before construction starts and, most importantly, provide us with opportunities to use cutting edge methodologies and materials while ensuring safety measures are met.”
 
In 2012, 70% of the UAE high-rise buildings were estimated to have utilised flammable panelling, but Dean believes the use of such materials has dropped significantly since; thanks mainly to the introduction of the UAE code. 
 
“A great deal has changed and materials going onto new buildings are now fundamentally different as a result,” he said. “Crucially, developers have started looking at their existing building stock as well as new design and this is the next important step the entire construction industry must take.”
 
The Summit will host three separate sessions dedicated to fire and safety in building design, including a panel discussion focusing on the implementation of most recent UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice updates and the ways they can be implemented.
 
Muhammed Kazi, Exhibition Director, said: “With the recent fire incidents in high-rise towers throughout the GCC, buildings safety and fire prevention is more important than ever and the Summit will address that. Its attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn from the expert speakers and government officials what guidelines are in place to ensure building safety and how the recent policies will translate into practice.”
 
A panel discussion assessing most common errors in design and approaches to maximize quality, safety, and building integrity will follow, and the one-day conference will close with a presentation of a project in Beirut designed by the late Zaha Hadid, featuring an innovative façade whilst adhering to highest levels of fire safety in materials selection.
 
Windows, Doors & Façades Event will be the central meeting place for architects, interior designers, developers, façade consultants and fabricators from across the region to source local and international products, network with like-minded peers and learn from experts, taking place from 18 – 20 September 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre.  A full exhibitor list and information about the event is available at www.windowsdoorsandfacadeevent.com.

FAÇADE SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON FIRE SAFETY IN BUILDING DESIGN

Construction industry experts and government officials assembling in Dubai next month will tackle the threat …