+The Peninsula of Qatar informs GCC code will be launched by end of  December 2015

A unified GCC Building Code will be will be unveiled on 28 December in Doha, Qatar’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdullah S M Al Khulaifi said last week at a GCC housing ministerial meeting in Doha.

He mentioned that ministerial, trade committees as well as specialists agencies will be consulted before the standards code is finalised for publication.  [ms-protect-content] Experts are already saying that the code is based on international best practices and that it will focus mainly on safety and sustainable development.  It is reported that the launch will include in the first edition of six codes, and that it will take into consideration environmental needs of the region, its topography and all cultural and human heritage.

Al Khulaifi said experiences of member states in housing, housing information rules and database for the region and possibility of a website were also discussed by GCC housing ministers at their meeting adding that in December housing ministers of all Arab countries will meet at Arab League headquarters in Cairo to debate among many other things on ‘Arab architecture’.  GCC housing ministers will take opportunity and coordinate with one another at the meeting notably for next year’s meet in Saudi Arabia.

According to Wikipedia building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum standards for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures.  The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction, occupancy of buildings and structures.  The building code becomes law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the appropriate governmental or private authority.

In the UK, Building Regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out mainly through due approval that is required for all building work.

With respect to safety, buildings in Qatar as well as in all GCC countries, must comply with US-derived standards as determined by the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Authority) although Qatar’s Civil Defence Department people say the country has not yet developed its own specific official fire safety and building code.

In the meantime, the NFPA codes, guides and recommended practices that are written through consensus so as to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks on the building fabric.

As per NFPA’s reckoning, virtually every building, process, service, design, and installation in society today is affected by NFPA documents.  Codes and standards, administered by more than 250 Technical Committees comprising approximately 8,000 volunteers, are adopted and used throughout the world but these latter have no power to enforce them.  Any safety concerned organisation however can only inspire itself from the proposed guidelines.  Local authorities like state law makers in the US use them as basis for their statutes and other legislation pieces.[/ms-protect-content]