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Phase 1 of Dubai’s building classification is done

Phase 1 of Dubai’s building classification is done

 
Details of 80,000 non-freehold plots collected and updated in Land Department database
Dubai: Surveying more than 80,000 non-freehold plots in Dubai — the majority of them in high-density older parts of the city — was only the beginning. Now comes the hard part — making use of all the data that was collected about the plots, what sort of properties were built on them, and what they were being used for.
 
And keep in mind this is only Phase 1 of Dubai Land Department’s ambitious Building Classification Survey. “Our databases will need to be updated with all of the new data that has come flooding in,” said Mohammad Al Dah, Director at the Land Department and who oversaw the nearly two-year survey programme. “In the process, we have added over 400,000 units to the database.”

According to the official, there were quite a few surprises the survey managed to unearth. Dubai has about 150,000 plots, “give or take”. “We were quite surprised to learn that the split between freehold and non-freehold is actually 50:50,” said Al Dah. “We were thinking that freehold would dominate, even to the extent of 70:30. But that was not the case.
“It was quite a struggle to collect all of the data that was needed to make this process work. But we had a matrix against which all of the data was collated and after the initial slog, things became progressively easier.”
 
Deira, for obvious reasons, makes up the bulk of the non-freehold plots in the city currently. The survey team also took in buildings in Bur Dubai and the older neighbourhoods within Jumeirah. The Jebel Ali Industrial and Ras Al Khor Industrial were the last of the neighbourhoods to come under the classification programme. 
Criteria
 
If a plot featured a built property, the Land Department team would categorise each in terms of its usage, the number of units within them, the number of floors, the number of owners to each unit, etc. Each of the plots/properties were rated based on a 64-point criteria.
“From what we have collected so far, we can tabulate the age of the building and pertinent details such as the number of fire escapes it features, etc,” said Al Dah. “At some future point, we could go back to the building’s owner and say these are the upgrades he could put in. Some of the older buildings will need some sort of makeover to be in tune with the times.”
The survey will also help the Land Department iron out some of the misuses in the current system. “We came across situations where there discrepancies between what a plot was built up for and the Ejari [rental] contracts that were issued against it,” said Al Dah. “With the Classification process done, at least the Phase 1, these types of activities will be curtailed. It will help generate greater transparency in local real estate.”
 
As such, some of Dubai’s established neighbourhoods are going through massive makeover programmes or will start on the process shortly. Even in areas such as the Deira Gold Souq, which has one of the highest build densities in the city, new areas are being freed up to extend its boundaries. Similar re-zoning is also taking place in locations such as Jebel Ali and Satwa, and which will eventually see them go through quite a transformation.
In Dubai’s real estate, change is the only constant.
 
By Manoj Nair, Associate Editor
Gulf News