This year, on May 22nd, International Code Council (ICC) marks the first-ever International Building Safety Day. It is a day dedicated to promoting and celebrating building safety and the benefits it provides to our communities' health and welfare. It also celebrates the significant progress made in ensuring the safety of our built environment, acknowledging the challenges that remain and charting a course for the future.

Looking Back: A Region Taking Safety Seriously

The Middle East has seen a rapid construction boom in recent years, transforming skylines and infrastructure across the region. Alongside this growth, a focus on building safety has emerged as a critical priority. Many countries have adopted stricter building codes, established dedicated building safety authorities, and invested in fire/structural safety provisions and awareness campaigns.

Dubai has established itself as a frontrunner in building safety with its comprehensive Dubai Building Code (DBC), referencing international standards from ICC. The DBC is regularly updated, ensuring its regulations reflect the latest advancements in construction practices and safety protocols.

Additionally,  Saudi Arabia is also making significant strides in building safety utilizing the I-Codes as the base of their codes , ensuring safety while adapting to specific needs. This approach allows them to tailor regulations to specific needs while still upholding global safety benchmarks.

Oman is poised to join the ranks of regional safety leaders. Partnering with ICC, Oman is developing a set of six building codes expected to be finalized by early 2026. These codes will be based on the latest International Codes (I-Codes), ensuring Oman's building industry adheres to the most up-to-date safety practices. The focus on areas like sustainability and technology integration further strengthens Oman's commitment to a safe and future-proofed construction sector.

These initiatives by Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Oman demonstrate a collective commitment to building safety in the Middle East. The results are undeniable. Improved regulations and enforcement have led to a decrease in construction-related accidents and building collapses. Advancements in fire safety measures, particularly with regards to high-rise buildings, have also contributed to a safer living and working environment.

Building a More Resilient Future

The Middle East, however, faces unique challenges when it comes to building safety. Extreme temperatures, high levels of sun exposure, and frequent sandstorms necessitate additional considerations. Daily temperature fluctuations can significantly impact the storage and lifespan of building materials, particularly adhesives, paints, and sealants. Here, highly heat-resistant materials become essential to reduce heat gain and loss. Similarly, all pipes – water, gas, sewage, – require increased insulation to counter extreme temperature variations, preventing warping or leaks.

To address these challenges, countries in the Middle East are increasingly turning to the International Code Council (ICC) suite of building safety solutions. The family of solutions provide a rigorous and internationally recognized system for evaluating building products and materials, ensuring they meet the highest safety standards and are suitable for the region's specific climate and conditions. By utilizing these services, countries can create a safer built environment while promoting innovation and the use of advanced building technologies.

The Road Ahead: Embracing Innovation and Collaboration

"The future of building safety in the Middle East lies in innovation and collaboration," said Mohamed Amer, Regional Director of Operations at ICC MENA. "Embracing new construction techniques and materials can improve the resilience and sustainability of buildings. Exploring new methods of construction like offsite construction and 3D concrete printing  can significantly contribute to reduction in material waste, enhanced construction quality, more controlled and more accessible work environments, and optimized project timelines.”

Building codes need to evolve to incorporate sustainable construction practices, ensuring long-term environmental benefits alongside safety considerations. Continued public awareness campaigns and educational programs can empower individuals to identify and report safety hazards. Additionally, fostering knowledge-sharing between government agencies, construction professionals, and the public is key to achieving a collective focus on safety.

International Building Safety Day is a reminder that our built environment plays a vital role in our lives. By celebrating past achievements, acknowledging present challenges, and embracing innovation and sustainability practices, we can build a safer, more resilient future for the Middle East."

For more information, please visit: