The Department of Economic Development started applying the first phase of the new commercial signage regulations on March 26, 2012, as part of its project to improve the external appearance of shops, in Abu Dhabi main branch and the branches of Al Bateen and Abu Dhabi Chamber. The rest of areas and regions will follow according to a specified scheduled.The Higher Committee for Maintaining Privacy of Residential Areas, approved granting a period of 3 months as a deadline after renewal of trade licenses for all new shops, to abide by and fully apply the new commercial signage regulations and the aesthetic city appearance The Committee entrusted the Department of Economic Development to obtain a written commitment from the owners of commercial licenses, through the customer services staff, to ensure compliance with this decision.The Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi started yesterday (Sunday 2 April 2012) the second phase of implementation of its policy for improving the general appearance of shops at the level of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which was initiated by Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning, in a move aimed at improving the aesthetics appearance of facades of buildings and shops; advertising signboards, and reducing the use of public places to display and store goods.Mohamed Munif Al Mansouri, Acting Executive Director of Commercial Affairs, at DED, confirmed that the implementation of new signage regulations, will necessitate new licenses to comply with the implementation of regulations, with regards to design, specifications, set dimensions of advertising banners, location within buildings as per the guidelines of the Istidama Program, launched and managed by Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning.Al Mansouri explained that the policy for implementation of the new signage regulations had specified the locations for placing or fixing advertising signs in premises of companies or shops within the building, according to the building design. The policy also stated the mechanism required for covering electrical and mechanical equipments for advertising signboards; stressing that these guidelines will maintain harmony of advertising boards, signs and banners; and will also contribute to improving the general appearance of buildings, and reflect positively on businesses and shops.According to Al Mansouri, the first stage of implementation will be followed by other scheduled stages for existing commercial licenses, upon presenting for renewal of activity. The process of implementation of signage regulations will thus continue in certain areas in the city of Abu Dhabi, allowing for a period 3 months after renewal of each commercial license to comply with set specifications and rules of new signage regulations.Al Mansouri praised the role of Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning in setting the policy of the new signage regulations, which will contribute to the organizing of the advertising permits issuance process, and eventually maintain the general appearance of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in line with the best international standards and specifications.Al Mansouri stressed the keenness of the Economic Development Department, on the implementation of projects to develop and improve the business environment in the emirate, in coordination with relevant government agencies, and in line with the orientations of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, aimed at the achievement of the goals of Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030, to place Abu Dhabi among the best five governments in the world.The Acting Executive Director of Commercial Affairs, Al Mansouri, noted that DED will work in close cooperation with Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning, and Department of Municipal Affairs, to implement this important project, in all cities of the emirate. The focus will be on launching media and advertising campaigns, to illustrate the importance of the project in improving the general appearance of the emirate; and developing the business environment.Khaled Al Meraikhi, the Head of Advertising Permits Section, of the DED Commercial Affairs Sector, said that DED had organized and conducted three workshops in Abu Dhabi, the Western Region and Al Ain, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning. These workshops targeted more than 260 calligraphers at the level of Abu Dhabi, in order to familiarize them with the new technical regulations for the designing of advertizing signboards, to facilitate the implementation of this new system.According to Al Meraikhi, DED will distribute more than 200 thousand handbooks, in Arabic and English, which contain the guidelines of the new regulations, and the specifications, locations and dimensions of advertizing billboards and signs for shops and buildings in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.Al Meraikhi, added that the new regulations require that the designed signage, signboards, billboard and banners, shall not cover or obstruct any essential architectural elements of building, shall not reduce the visibility inside or outside the business premises and that they shall not advertise or promote the products of a third party. The signs must also be consistent and in harmony with other banners or advertising boards in the same area, in order to reflect a positive image of the building and commercial activity.The workshops organized for calligraphers, were intended to raise the awareness of clients, regarding designing, fixing, and location of signboards of shop in ground floors, mezzanine, main buildings or at the top, Al Meraikhi said, pointing out that the guidelines in each region or area specify certain types of signs, so, the selection and type of signs must be within the set regulations.Al Meraikhi said that the number of signage permits issued by DED in 2011 amounted to 2115, including advertising signboards, billboards, banners for business and shops at the level of the emirate. It was emphasized by Al Meraikhi that the owners of commercial licenses, must meet the 3 months deadline set for changing the signboards, after renewal of business licenses; as non-compliance in violation of the written commitments undertaken by owners of commercial licenses.Al Meraikhi, also added that DED had already started applying the signage regulations for new business licenses, as of 26 March 2012,indicating that the number of licenses which had complied starting from 2012 regulations reached 99. The second phase of the new regulation according to Al Meraikhi, had already started on the 1 April 2012, in the branches of the Department in Musafah, Al Wathba and Al Shahamah. The regulations will apply on 8 April 2012, in the main branch of Al Ain, and the rest of its regions, while the signage regulations in the Western Region will apply as of 15 April 2012.