Business in the Middle East, this is an interesting market full of opportunities.

INSIDES

In contrast, there are:

  • cultural differences;
  • political and geopolitical instability;
  • a peculiar legal framework;
  • uncertain economic trends, with potential future overcapacity;
  • trends linked to events such as Expo 2020 and the World Cup in 2022, on which follow-up questions must be asked;
  • in some cases, lack of controls and the presence of companies with unreliable products or unattainable prices;
  • the potentially paltry cost of labour.

COMMON PLACES

Very often people generalise, thinking that it is enough to have a permit for UAE (United Arab Emirates), for Dubai, to have a permit for the whole area.

In reality, the scenario is more fragmented and complex: it take only a moment to realise that there are different states and different regulations. 

Another potential error is accessing third-party certification systems accepted in several countries in the area: always check the situation in the individual countries carefully by comparing it with the lists we present below, because it could happen that when a request is made to set up a CoC – Certificate of Conformity, this is denied, perhaps because that specific product was tested in a laboratory that is not on the list for that specific country.

However, the situation is very fluid, and evolving.

In the past, licensed, even local, fire doors production (e.g. Falcon, Ramkor or Halspan) were very much in vogue.

Also as a result of the disastrous fires in buildings, as well as more than borderline behaviour of local building product market players, there is a trend towards greater control.

THE NOW WIDELY ACCEPTED METHOD

Over time, each country has developed its own Civil Defence, a kind of Ministry of the Interiornal Affairs.

The various laboratories and notified bodies must be accredited by this body.

Products will only be marketable if they have a CoC – Certificate of Conformity, issued for that country using the dedicated form. This certificate is not that of the test. It is that of the specific certification for that country. A big difference.

The CoC must be valid, the validity is annual. Furthermore, the CoC must be available online on the website of the notified body.

To obtain the CoC,  tests carried must carry out at an authorised laboratory (by the Civil Defence) and use an authorised notified body (by the Civil Defence), which will make an annual visit to the production site to verify that the products conform to the tested sample and that the system is consistent.

This methodology is relatively new and to date not all laboratories and notified bodies are recognised. There is in any case a ‘race’ to get recognised, although it is not an easy process, where more and more bodies are included. In the past, only the major and international ones found a place on these lists, such as Exova-Warringtonfire, BM Trada, Applus, UL, Intertek and FM, and in the past, the only list available was that of the UAE.

SITE ON THE SITE OR NOT?

In some countries it is required to have a local importer, in others not. Certainly having a partner who understands the dynamics of the local market is advisable regardless of the regulatory requirement.

UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujaira, Ras al-Khaima, Sharja and Umm al-Qaywayn.

The subject is managed by the ‘United Arab Emirates Ministry of Internal Affairs Civil Defence G.H.Q – Fire International Labs & House of Expertise & Training Centre Approval Committee‘.

It periodically produces ‘THE LIST OF APPROVED INTERNATIONAL TESTING LABS AND CERTIFICATION BODIES‘: you will find it below, in the in-depth sections.

This list consists of the first pages, which are an index of notified laboratories and bodies. They have a ‘scope’, which identifies them as ‘testing’ or ‘certification’. It is a clear distinction, if you have testing, your tests can be recognised, and if you have certification you can do certification and CoC.

The following pages go into the details of the individual body, with the list of products acceptable for Civil Defence. If the product is not included in the list, it cannot be subject to the CoC.

For UAE, it is necessary that once the CoC has been obtained, the importer, based in the Emirates, goes to the Civil Defence to validate the document.

Please note: no Italian fire door laboratory is included as CERTIFICATION in the current list. It will therefore be necessary to use another notified body for certification.

As far as the requirements for doors are concerned, below is an extract from the “UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice“, a 1348-page work, from which we have extracted the table summarising the characteristics and performance prescribed in the UAE Fire Prevention.

QATAR

This topic is managed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs,  Qatar General Directorate of Civil Defence – Fire prevention department – safety systems division’.

Here too, the list ‘Currently recognised product certification bodies and testing laboratories’ is compiled periodically: you will find it below in the in-depth section.

This list consists of the first pages, which are an index of notified laboratories and bodies. There are two columns identifying where the ‘testing body’ and the ‘certification body’ are located. It is a clear distinction, if you have testing your tests can be recognised, if you have certification you can do certification and CoC. If you have both, you can do both.

On the following pages we go into the details of the individual body, with the list of products acceptable for Civil Defence, with a distinction between ‘Certification’ and ‘Testing’.

If the product is not included in the list, it cannot be subject to the CoC.

Please note: no Italian fire door laboratory is included as a CERTIFICATION in the current list. It will therefore be necessary to use another notified body for certification.

KUWAIT

The subject is managed by the “Kuwait Fire Service Directorate“.

A list of ‘Testing laboratories approved by KFSD‘ is drawn up: you will find it below in the further details.

This list is a list of approved bodies. No distinction is made here between testing and certification.

OMAN

The subject is managed by the ‘Public Authority for Civil Defence & Ambulance’, which is an extension of the ‘Royal Oman Police – Sultanate of Oman’.

A list is drawn up ‘List of the Royal Oman accredited international testing laboratories’: you will find an extract from it, below, in the in-depth sections.

This list is a list of authorised bodies. The product-related column mentions products that can be certified.

SAUDI ARABIA

At the moment, we do not have a list of approved bodies. However, we do know that there is a list of accredited laboratories for the Gulf Cooperation Council – GCC market.

It consists of the union of all the Persian Gulf states except Iraq, thus: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.

On the GCC website, there is a list of accredited bodies. We have noticed that in the scope of some bodies, regulations are also listed for fire doors. We provide the link to the page in the in-depth information.

For this status given the variability, we advise you to check the situation carefully with us or with your trusted body.

WHICH INSTITUTION TO CHOOSE

In the various countries, each entity has, over the years, also gained a certain recognition from the market, positive or negative. You should also check with your partners and customers, which is the right partner in these countries where, sometimes, decisions do not always follow a linearity of thinking.

HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU IN CHEMOLLI FIRE

We have contacts with many of the listed organisations, national, international and on site.

We have already carried out activities, supporting customers in all stages of testing and certification, in particular

  • in all relations with the notified body;
  • during sampling (sampling of products to be tested);
  • to implement your FPC – Factory Production Control;
  • to prepare the necessary documentation including instructions and marks;
  • with our presence during inspections.