Following Qatar’s successful bid to host FIFA’s 2022 World Cup, Qatari economy has boomed. This success has visually translated into heavy investments in infrastructure development. But it is key that whilst these buildings are rapidly going up, fire safety is thoroughly considered, qualified and the necessary protective measures are put in place. Particularly when we consider that temperatures in Qatar can and do reach above 50°C!
Constructing the World Cup – The Progress
Come 21st November 2022, the whistle will blow and the 21st FIFA World Cup Tournament will be underway. With this a mere five years away, the busy renovation, expansion and construction of stadiums, the development of new infrastructure and the installation of exciting tourist hubs is in full-swing. Included in these projects is a new $15 billion QIRP Rail development that will incorporate 37 stations to reach the seven host cities. There is also to be a new port and an $824 million investment in a new ‘Mega Mall’ in the capital Doha.
In addition to these huge developments, there are also to be eight brand new football stadia. Each of these are rapidly coming together, and have been designed by some of the world’s most respected architects, including Zaha Hadid, Pattern and Foster & Partners. As the building continues and the stadiums gradually take shape, excitement has been building as they slowly appear; each seems to be adopting a different theme dictated from Qatar’s rich culture.
Qatar’s Mall Fires: The Villaggid Tragedy and ‘Mega Mall’ Warning
Each of these new developments has been designed to tick every box; access, sustainability and a lasting legacy. However, recent years have highlighted the importance that Qatar needs to be placing on fire safety. This is especially apparent against the backdrop of the tragic Villaggid Mall fire in 2012. This incident saw 19 people sadly lose their lives, 13 of which were children in a crèche. More recently, in April last year, Doha’s brand new mall – not yet complete – found itself engulfed in flames. Whilst this latter fire thankfully saw no casualties or fatalities, it serves as a harsh warning to the rest of Qatar for the need to ensure fire protection measures are firmly in place.
The importance of more rigorous fire safety measures can clearly be seen in governmental behaviour, who since 2012 have been offering paid fire safety courses for those in the construction industry. However, more needs to be done, especially when we consider the sheer number of people that could be at risk come 2022, particularly in the new stadiums that can cater for up to 65,000 people.
Preventing Fires in Qatar with Fire Curtains
With the rapid rate of expansion in Qatar also comes great responsibility. And with FIFA World Cup on the horizon, it is more important than ever that fire standards are met and excelled. In buildings like the above; open plan malls, luxury resorts and stadiums, where lift and lobby areas, a multitude of stairwells and the lack of compartmentation are abundant and complex to protect, fire curtains emerge as a single solution.
Fire Curtains – coming in a range of sizes, capabilities and plans – help designers to replace non-loadbearing firewalls with (or without) doors, fire doors, fire rated glazing, lobbies and sprinklers to achieve modern, open plan environments that are wholly in line with stringent fire regulations. Fire curtains automatically deploy to allow for safe evacuation by providing compartmentation and control over the spread of fire and smoke. Fire curtains can also provide up to four hours of fire protection integrity – which really can make all the difference.
Primarily constructed from an E-glass woven lattice, fire curtains are robust, extremely fire retardant and highly flexible. This means that they can be discreetly installed and used for a whole range of applications. Coopers Fire’s commitment to advancing fire technology has led their engineers to set the benchmarks that fire experts and inspectors have now come to expect.
Coopers Fire in Qatar
Coopers Fire takes great pride in being able to say that throughout the world, many of their fire and smoke curtains have been installed in some of the world’s most significant buildings. From installations in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai and beyond, our reach is certainly far reaching. We also are able to put our name to many designs, build and fire and smoke curtain installation projects in Qatar including the Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City and the Leabaib Health Centre.
All of Coopers Fire smoke and fire curtains are fully tested to UL and BS EN standards. Coopers Fire are happy to work with clients to offer standard or bespoke products that result with no design compromise but the assurance that your building complies with fire safety codes and specifications. Coopers Fire can also provide CAD drawings to aid with any design phase.