Saudi Arabia: At the forefront of fire safety


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As Saudi Arabia looks to improve nationwide fire safety and industrial security regulations, the Kingdom’s demand for fire prevention and safety implementation systems is forecast to continue its upward trajectory during the next three years.

Market consultancy firm 6WResearch has forecast the Kingdom’s fire safety systems and equipment market – the largest in the GCC – will register 5.5 per cent compound annual growth by 2025, reaching a cumulative value of US$402m. Growth is being driven in part by government regulation of compulsory installation of fire safety, detection, and alarm systems in buildings and the recent strengthening of the remit of Saudi Arabia’s High Commission for Industrial Security (HCIS).

In August this year, Saudi Arabia’s higher authorities granted the HCIS – which sets policies overseeing security, safety, and fire protection for the Kingdom’s industrial sectors – increased powers to boost its efficiency. It means HCIS will now fully regulate policies governing security, safety, and fire protection in the petroleum, industrial, and service sectors. All facilities in these sectors can now only progress projects with the collaboration of the Commission.

“This will all result in increased demand for state-of-the-art systems and sector-wide training, which helps explain the 6WResearch forecast of a further upwards trajectory,” said Alex Nicholl, Director Intersec, which runs from September 13-15 and is a key annual event in the Kingdom’s fire and emergency services, security, and safety industry.

“This all adds to the increased opportunities being held out to the fire protection and safety industries by the Kingdom’s plans to attract investments worth USD32 billion in the mining and mineral sector. This is expected to be achieved through nine new projects, including manufacturing facilities to produce steel plates for shipbuilding, electric vehicle batteries, and copper and zinc refineries, all of which are part of helping realise Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objectives of making the mining sector the third pillar of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program.”

The huge new potential of the Kingdom’s market is driving more sector-wide players to Saudi Arabia, as witnessed by the growth in Intersec Saudi Arabia, the fourth edition set to be held at Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Centre (RICEC) on 13-15 September.

“This is shaping up to be our most comprehensive showcase to date,” said Nicholl. “We have received intense interest from the entire industrial eco-system, including key government leaders, agencies, and organisational heads.”

Intersec Saudi Arabia is witnessing growth across its five largest product categories: commercial & perimeter security; cybersecurity; homeland security; fire, and rescue; and safety and health.

Though the international fire, rescue, safety, and security suppliers now have Saudi Arabia firmly in their sights, regional players believe they have a supply advantage as proximity to the Kingdom can enable them to counter the global supply chain challenges that have hampered their international counterparts.

UAE exhibitor National Factory for Safety and Security Products (NFSSP) plans to unveil its Hoods brand of tactical and safety footwear at Intersec Saudi Arabia and says it hopes to reap the benefit of its geographic accessibility to the Kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia is a hugely important market for us and is continuously growing,” said Majed Abdulaziz Ahmed Ateq Albakeri, CEO and chairman of NFSSP. “We see massive opportunities in the construction and oil and gas sectors. We estimate we can contribute around 200,000 pairs of shoes to the market in 2023 and grow 10 per cent over the next five years.

“Globally, many companies are facing issues and high costs in logistics, petrol, and other challenges when it comes to supplying the market. This makes our UAE-made shoes a great option for the Saudi and GCC markets. We are well-positioned, competitive, and our quality and technology are approved to European standards.”

Supply chain challenges will be among the topics addressed at Intersec Saudi Arabia’s Conferences. Running for three days, the conference will bring together key government leaders, agencies, organisational heads, as well as world-class speakers, government stakeholders, policymakers, law enforcement, civil defence, and private sector players to define the future of security in the Kingdom.

“The Intersec Saudi Arabia Conference is a think tank for regional and international security industry players, who will gain key leader’s security perspectives on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,” added Nicholl. “These insights will enable all parties to better prepare to meet the Kingdom’s security needs for the next decade and more.”

Intersec Saudi Arabia is organised by Al Harithy Company for Exhibitions (ACE), Saudi Arabia’s leading event organiser, and is licensed by Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, one of the world’s largest exhibition organisers.

Building the future

In line with its ambition of serving as a key multidisciplinary consultancy firm to the wave of giga-projects in Saudi Arabia, AESG, a leading specialist engineering and advisory firm, announced it has successfully achieved the status of Saudi Civil Defense approved Fire and Life Safety (FLS) Consultants.

This follows two years of focused effort by the firm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish itself as a fully licensed Saudi professional entity for engineering services, train and certify its FLS resources, engage with regulatory authorities, and demonstrate its alignment with the country’s Saudisation agenda.

As one of the few global consultancy firms to achieve this certification, AESG is positioned to guide construction projects in the Kingdom in implementing the highest international standards and industry best-practices.

The firm’s extensive presence and commitment to the Kingdom will grant the country’s developers access to a pool of highly qualified consultants, thereby enabling them to strictly adhere to the FLS requirements of the new Saudi Building Codes which were issued in 2018 and implemented in July 2021.

Commenting on the value of adhering to the stipulations of the FLS code, Saeed Al Abbar, CEO at AESG said: “Becoming a fully licensed Saudi engineering firm and Saudi Civil Defense approved FLS Consultant is a further step in our commitment and expansion to the Saudi market.

“AESG’s international experience throughout the Middle East, Asia, the UK and Europe, coupled with our deep local understanding of the Saudi market enable us to work closely and effectively with clients and local authorities to deliver the best outcomes.”

With the Saudi Civil Defense FLS approval, AESG’s consultants are working closely with the authority to ensure new and existing building designs and implementations comply with the Saudi Building Codes.

Al Abbar added: “Our efforts mean that developers of the giga-projects taking place in Saudi Arabia have easy access to qualified, locally based Fire and Life Safety experts. This fulfils a pressing need for these professionals and will ensure these ambitious projects can proceed at pace, and in-line with highest safety standards.”

Certified Safe

UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, announced its collaboration with GCC Labs’ safety arm to advance fire safety in the Middle East. With this collaboration, GCC Labs became the exclusive partner laboratory of UL Solutions in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. UL Solutions is now a strategic and exclusive partner providing fire-related certification services for GCC Labs.

Combining the safety science expertise, market access knowledge and the global resources that UL Solutions offers with the fire safety testing skill and competency of GCC Labs, the collaboration will advance the journey to product certification for the Middle East market while improving customer access to a local test solution. GCC Labs’ state-of-the-art fire testing labs offer broad capabilities that include fire resistance, containment testing, building inspections, building envelope testing and advisory services.

The strategic alliance will also include electrical services for switchgear, transformers and high-voltage and low-voltage cables, which will give the alliance customers a priority status in securing testing and certification services. 

Based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, GCC Labs helps enable major manufacturing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the surrounding region by offering cost-effective and world-class testing and certification services to help ensure the highest levels of equipment safety, reliability and efficiency.

Hamid Syed, Vice President And General Manager of UL Solutions in the Middle East, said: “This strategic alliance represents each organisation’s strong commitment to providing customers with a wide range of fire safety services to meet necessary regional and global regulatory requirements.

“Working with GCC Labs, we are proud to apply our safety science expertise to help transform safety challenges into business opportunities, helping engineer a safer and more sustainable world. We look forward to helping manufacturers in the region achieve increased speed to market and the ability to demonstrate their commitment to fire safety to their customers.”

Saleh Al-Amri, Chief Executive Officer of GCC Labs, added: “We are delighted to partner with UL Solutions and help manufacturers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and their stakeholders, advance the reliability and fire safety of their products and systems in the Middle East. Working with UL Solutions, we look forward to providing testing solutions that lead to product certification, helping raise the overall building safety and fostering safe living and working environments in our region.” 

This article was originally published in the September edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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