Over the last decade, Dubai & the UAE has been transformed into a palette upon which some of the most innovative architectural design that urban development has seen are displayed. With the discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf just in front of abu Dhabi, during the 1970s, Dubai and the UAE witnessed an unprecedented population explosion. The emphasis was on accommodating more people in less space, and Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s skyline began to rise, as the Western concept of apartment buildings began to appear alongside the traditional houses.
Much of Dubai and UAE’s infrastructure (roads, housing, drainage, office buildings, etc.) was established in this decade.
The 1980s saw architectural projects being developed more in relation with local culture, as many emirati architects graduated at this time.
The 1990s saw Dubai architecture mature, and a growing integration with the architects coming from all over the world: Europe (UK, Italy, Germany,..) and US & Canada in primis.
The traditional style of architecture in Dubai & UAE is the result of a mixture of four dominant factors: the climate (hot and humid), the religion and customs of its people, will of integration and westernization, the locally available building materials.
This is set against an unprecedented increase of luxury projects, mushrooming on the back of a state initiative to raise the benchmark for opulent living and tourism.
UAE law supersedes the construction contract including FIDIC standard form contracts within Dubai & the UAE. FIDIC is the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, known by its French acronym. It was formed in 1913, with the objective of promoting the interests of consulting engineering firms globally.
One Article of UAE law which might surprise Architects is Article 880 of the UAE Civil Transactions Law, Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 (“Civil Transactions Law”).
Article 880 of the Civil Transactions Law states:
If a job contract is for construction of buildings or other fixed installation designed by an architect and executed by the contractor under his (architect’s) supervision, they shall be JOINTLY liable to indemnify the client for any total or partial dilapidation that occurs, within ten years, in the buildings or installations constructed or erected by them, and for any defect that threatens the strength and safety of the structure if no longer period is fixed in the contract, unless the two contracting parties want the installation to survive for a period of less than ten years.
The liability for said indemnity shall remain even if the fault or dilapidation arises from a defect in the land itself, or if the client agrees to the construction of the defective buildings or installations.
The ten years period shall start from the delivery of the works.
Therefore, the architect is jointly liable with the contractor for at least ten years to pay compensation to the employer if the architect’s design led to partial or total collapse of the building or installation and for any major defect which threatens the stability and safety of the building or installation. It is possible to extend the defects liability period for longer than ten years in the construction contract in the UAE.