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UAE construction becoming sustainable and inclusive

Builders are creating homes that adapt over time to residents' changing needs

UAE construction Fakhruddin Properties
The Maimoon Gardens development in the UAE: construction methods and technologiy developers are adopting are part of a trend towards more sustainable and inclusive homes

The UAE is home to a highly diverse and thriving construction sector, segmented across residential, commercial, infrastructure, transportation and smart cities.

The country’s rapidly expanding building industry is worth around $39 billion today, according to market research company Mordor Intelligence.

The residential construction sector plays a pivotal role in the UAE’s urbanisation and population growth strategy. Developers are working to meet the growing demand for housing, ranging from luxurious villas and apartments to affordable housing options.  

As environmental pressures increase, builders and homeowners alike are placing greater emphasis on eco-friendly construction methods. Among these are the use of renewable materials, energy efficiency, and waste reduction.

Green building certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Energy Star have encouraged builders to adopt sustainable practices.

This has increased the integration of eco-friendly features such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems and energy-efficient insulation in residential construction. 

In a testament to how sustainability has evolved to become a core pillar within the construction sector, the UAE is ranked among the top 10 countries that hold LEED certifications in the world. Projects such as Dubai’s Siemens headquarters, the Sustainable City project, and the Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi are all shining examples of green technical innovation in local buildings.

Customised homes

Smart home technology is also changing the way we live. Remote control thermostats and security systems that can be accessed via smartphones are now commonplace.

Local builders are incorporating these technologies into new construction projects, making homes more energy efficient and interconnected. We can expect further innovations based on IoT (the internet of things), such as voice-activated home assistants and even more sophisticated home automation systems. 

Modular and prefabricated construction techniques involve building components or entire sections of a home in a factory and then transporting and assembling them on-site. This reduces construction time and costs, while improving quality control. Modular homes provide homeowners with fast, customised options, with a wide range of designs, finishes and layouts to choose from. 

As the local population ages, they need housing that better caters to their specific needs. The “ageing in place” design aims to create living spaces that are easily accessible and inclusive for seniors.

Features such as wider doorways, step-free entrances, and grab bars in bathrooms make daily living easier and safer for the elderly. These design principles not only benefit older homeowners but also appeal to a broader audience concerned with accessibility and universal design. 

Evolving needs

Builders are also creating homes that can adapt over time to residents’ changing needs.

Following the pandemic, homeowners are increasingly interested in home features that promote physical and mental wellbeing. This includes incorporating natural light, using non-toxic building materials, and providing dedicated spaces for exercise and relaxation.

Indoor air quality has also become a focal point, prompting the use of advanced ventilation systems and air purification technologies.

With the world’s focus on addressing climate change, the UAE’s Cop28 may also see a focus on innovations and regulations that impact the homes of the future. Professionals in the residential construction sector stay informed of these developments and adapt their work accordingly. 

Embracing these trends will not only benefit the environment, but also enhance the quality of life in the UAE.

Dr Hassam Chaudhry is associate professor in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University Dubai

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