Promoting international codes and standards in the Middle East
The International Code Council was a top sponsor of the first-ever U.S. government-supported trade mission to focus on standards. The trade mission, led by the American National Standards Institute, consisted of four days of visits with government officials, business groups and key stakeholders in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims and Global Services Vice President Judy Zakreski joined the mission to promote the continued use of the Code Council’s products and services in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
High-level decision makers, including directors general, senior government ministry officials, and standards and conformity assessment directors participated in the trade mission-facilitated discussions. Key organizations represented in the discussions included the Emirates Authority for Standards & Metrology; the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council; the Saudi Arabia Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization; and the Gulf Cooperation Council Standardization Organization.
During the meetings, the Code Council was recognized for the strong codes and standards that it develops and that are well known and widely used throughout the region, and for the extensive work that the organization has done in the region during the past 25 years to help improve building safety. Another takeaway from the meetings was the opportunity to grow Code Council activities in the region, which includes support for updating current International Code based building codes in Abu Dhabi, building code harmonization throughout the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf Region, building capacity for successful implementation of the new Saudi Building Code, and partnering with the various government conformity assessment bodies for special accreditation and product evaluation services.
The U.S. government, particularly the U.S. Commerce Department International Trade Administration, is keen to support the adoption of international standards developed in the U.S., including the codes and standards developed by the Code Council, because of the role of standards in facilitating international trade and a level playing field. If governments are willing to adopt and enforce the use of strong, consensus-based, international standards, they are protecting the health and safety of their citizens by ensuring that the products and systems used in their countries are high quality and state of the art. Additionally, jurisdictions that apply high-quality international standards create a fertile environment for investment by manufacturers of advanced products that meet those standards — many of which are U.S. small- and medium-sized manufacturers that can be undercut by cheap alternatives if high standards are not maintained. These initiatives support the Code Council’s mission, as well as promote a fair trading environment for U.S. businesses, including manufacturers of high-quality innovative building materials that work with ICC Evaluation Service.
The Code Council will continue and deepen its commitment to the Gulf Region in the coming months, and will also maintain a leadership role in the international discussions related to the adoption and harmonization of consensus-based international standards.
Click here to view photos from the event.