A building under construction ... fire protection is vital.

The UAE has witnessed a 20 per cent increase in demand for fire-resistant paints last year, with total sales rising from Dh50 million ($13.61 million) to Dh60 million ($16.33 million), according to Al Gurg Leighs Paints (AGLP), the leading manufacturer and distributor of Firetex range of fire-resistant coatings in the UAE.

“The recent spate of fires across the country has shown the need for improved levels of fire protection more than ever before. Last year, damages caused by fire were estimated to cost Dh100 million in the UAE alone,” says a spokesman for Leighs Paints. “Whether under construction or fully occupied, the buildings remain vulnerable to fires resulting in financial and human loss.'
“These fires have focused attention on dangers associated with buildings during the construction phase. Due to the fast speed of construction, it is common to find multiple trades working simultaneously in close proximity to each other often resulting in accidents,” he adds.
Leighs’ Firetex range is said to offer up to two hours fire protection to both internally and externally exposed structural steelwork. Experts expect the demand for such fire-protective intumescent coatings to continue to rise at an annual rate of at least 10 per cent.
“The use of fire protection in the Middle East is however growing rapidly, and AGLP is currently working on various projects, including the Dubai Mall, Almas Tower, Etisalat’s cable warehouse, the Burj Lake Hotel, a district dooling plant and Dubai International Airport among others in the UAE.
Leighs is committed to adopting uniform standards in the Middle East with recent test results confirming Firetex’s international standards. “Based on the new standards, all manufacturers will have to adhere to set specifications and guidelines in paints distributed, applied and sold. We are aware the movement will take time, but at least it’s a start,” the spokesman points out.
The increase in demand for fire protective coatings has led to the formation of the UK-based Intumescent Coatings Forum (ICF) – a body aimed at ensuring consistent standards in products worldwide – while safety consultant Bodycote Warringtonfire is set to provide a Centre of Excellence for fire safety testing and approval of products in Dubai.
Established in Sharjah in 1988 to manufacture a wide range of industrial and decorative coatings, AGLP is a member of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group of Companies.
Protective coatings for the industrial, marine and petrochemical industry, including those for fire protection, are manufactured under licence from the UK-based Leighs Paints, while high-quality Dulux decorative paints are manufactured under licence from ICI Paints, UK.
AGLP operates a regional technical laboratory equipped with the latest research and development and analysis equipment.