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Brigadier Abdullah Mohamed Al Suwaidi
DOHA: The Civil Defence Department has said that some engineering consultancies are fraudulently claiming that the department deals exclusively with them and that only their building drawings are accepted by it for approval.
These consultancies are making false claims, the department said, adding that it deals on equal terms with all engineering consultancy firms licenced to operate in the country.
The fraudulent consultancies are claiming that it costs extra to get their drawings approved by the Civil Defence Department in order to extract money from their clients.
These firms are spreading rumours that the recent amendments to building safety regulations vide law number 9 of 2012 have imposed new conditions to safety requirements and that compliance with these conditions by clients would cost
The Director-General of the Civil Defence Department, Brigadier Abdullah Mohamed Al Suwaidi, said in a statement yesterday that safety requirements for buildings remain the same as before in the new law (Number 9 of 2012) which is an amended version of the old legislation.
So, claims by some engineering firms that new requirements have been added to the law are baseless, he added. “These firms are exploiting the amendments to make people believe that the Civil Defence has some new safety requirements and that it costs more to get building drawings approved,” he said.
Also, the claims made by these firms that the Civil Defence is dealing only with them are baseless, said the director-general.
The statement said that given the hectic pace of urban development taking place in the country, the Civil Defence has “always sought to ease procedures” for the people and engineering consultancies.
Critics, meanwhile, dispute the claim of the Civil Defence about easing procedures and say the department takes quite long to provide clearances.
But after the new law was put into force late last August the drawings need to be submitted to the Civil Defence for approval.
Also, Civil Defence’s clearance is required to get commercial registration (CR) of a shop, office or any other commercial establishment renewed.
These clearances are taking a lot of time, people complain. The Civil Defence takes a lot of time to send inspectors to commercial establishments for checks and it is only after the inspection that the department provides clearance for CR renewal.
The department appears to have shortage of inspectors and that explains why there are undue delays in deputing inspectors for site visits, said a critic.
The new rules have come into force after the state amended the old building safety law and issued a new one (Number 9 of 2012) late last August.
The government stressed the urgency of amending the old law and enforcing new safety requirements after the devastating Villaggio Mall fire of May 28 that claimed 19 lives—13 of them small children.