The global outbreak of COVID-19 has raised many health concerns throughout multiple sectors, including construction. As often in their history, real estate developments will be reimagined, adopting healthier practices, and those benefits could linger long after the pandemic fades away.
Cholera influenced the modern street grid, 19th-century epidemics prompted the introduction of sewage systems. The third plague pandemic, a bubonic outbreak that began in China in 1855, changed the design of everything from drain pipes to door thresholds and building foundations.
Today, special attention is paid to common surfaces where viruses can stay up to several days. Following the best current practices, many developers rushed to improve their developments in order to minimise potential health risks in the future. AQUA Properties with its ‘O Ten’ project currently under construction in Dubai Healthcare City was among the first ones. “Witnessing the impact of COVID-19 globally, we realised that this would change how people live. Dense buildings are more prone to cross contamination, so in the future all developments will need to safeguard against this. Realising UAE is a highly progressive country we decided we should be the first globally to produce a touch-free environment for residents”, said Ali Tumbi, CEO of AQUA Properties.
‘O Ten’ will feature anti-bacterial finishing as well as nano-coating – from tiles, walls, countertops, door handles and others. In-built HEPA air filters will further help in the elimination of viruses, bacteria and mold prevention. Moisture condensation will be minimised to prevent the spread of pathogenic bacteria. Green building materials with an anti-bacterial function will be used to enhance water safety. All landscaping and greenery shall be designed as per medical recommendations to ensure there are no associated allergies or bacterial hazards. Hand sanitisers will be placed in common areas for visitors, residents and building staff to use. Moreover, the building service access will have a de-sanitisation room.
It’s predicted that public spaces will move toward more automation to mitigate contagion. Touchless technology will be introduced wherever possible – automatic doors, voice-activated elevators, cellphone-controlled hotel room entry, hands-free light switches and temperature controls etc. Some predict that temperature screening detectors may be included in the developments of the future.
Antibacterial fabrics and finishes, such as copper, will be used as well as others and will inevitably be developed.
Layouts of the ‘O Ten’ common areas will be optimised to allow social distancing. The reception desks will be set close to entry points of the building to avoid unnecessary traffic circulation. Furthermore, the project will be equipped with indoor mapping and wayfinding for smart buildings. One of the best features of this project is its touchless environment where residents and guests shall have no physical contact – from entering the building, checking into lobby/reception, calling the elevator with a touchless system, entering their apartment or simply ringing the doorbell. Voice activation, facial recognition and motion detection systems will be used to eliminate any contact.
Constructing safe and healthy homes will soon become standard in all future building developments and AQUA Properties aims to lead this initiative.
” As one of the leading developers in Dubai since 2005 involved in delivering projects designed to cater to clients’ needs, AQUA Properties is proud to pioneer the promotion of hygiene living supported by health-aware finishing to modern smart homes in its prime locations”, says Ali Tumbi.
Martina Pozgaj is a graduated Croatian journalist with 12 years’ experience in various media. Employed as a content writer for AQUA Properties, her main focus nowadays is the Dubai real estate market.
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