Excavation requirements tightened in Abu Dhabi

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Deepwell system for basement with diaphragm wall side support during basement excavation at a project in neighbouring emirate of Dubai. Photo - WJ

The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City has made it mandatory for all consultancy offices and contracting companies engaged in excavations and dewatering of underground water at all constructions sites to comply with the technical standards, specifications and controls applicable in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. They are also required to take appropriate measures for ensuring public safety and safeguarding the neighbouring buildings near the excavation site.

Engineer Salah Awad Al Sarraj, acting executive director of Town Planning Sector of Abu Dhabi City, issued a circular regarding the standards related to drilling and dewatering works and highlighted proper steps and procedures to be implemented for conserving the sites adjacent to construction areas.

He said, ?All consultancy offices and contracting firms undertaking various projects have to obtain official approvals beforehand from the concerned entities as regards to dewatering of various drilling works in respect of all projects.?

He reiterated that it is the responsibility of the supervising consultancy office to ensure compliance with the requisites and submit applications for obtaining prior approvals for dewatering works from the Municipal Customer Service Centres.


Shallow trench may be excavated without being battered or supported, however, in case of deep excavation, mechanical digging is not permitted until the area is clearly identified and marked for any service cable or pipeline and necessary precautions are taken.

No work should be carried out without the knowledge of company project manager or his authorized representative. Use of supports on the site should follow the requisite specifications.

Presence of any underground service should be established prior to the commencement of the work and should have prior approval for the work. A gas test must be conducted to identify for any oxygen deficiency in the atmosphere. Artificial ventilation by means of air scoop or electric blowers should be erected before commencement of the work. Considerable lighting should be considered in the area.

The ground de-watering programme must be either by drainage or by installing well-points around the site and pumping out the water to lower the ground water table to below the excavation. Access to the site must be controlled.

Sources: Gulf Today, ADWEA.ae

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