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Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council reveal the results of the application of regulations for commercial signage in Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council reveal the results of the application of regulations for commercial signage in Abu Dhabi

Monday, April 22, 2013
Abu Dhabi Business Center of the Department of Economic Development had set end of  July as the deadline for business owners in Abu Dhabi to change their shops signage in accordance with the regulations stipulated by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.This was announced during a press conference held at the headquarters of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development today, which was attended by Mohammed Rashid Al Rumaithi, Acting Executive Director of the Business Centre and Amer Al Hamadi, Executive Director of the Urban Planning Sector at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and a number of officials from both sides.Mr. Mohammed Rashid Al Rumaithi  in an opening speech at  the press conference  said that the Abu Dhabi the Department  of Economic Development managed to apply the signage regulations in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council since March of last year,  in an attempt to improve the external appearance of the city and reorganize of the forms of advertising signage  to reflect the civilized image of the country in General, in accordance with the best international standards and specifications. Al Rumaithi said that the project aims at improving the   appearance of buildings and shops and the development of billboards in both the city of Abu Dhabi, and the Eastern and Western regions, thus preserving the aesthetic appearance of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He added that that this project has reached its final stages after giving shop owners  a three months grace period  at renewing their licenses   to change their old billboards since March of last year.Al Rumaithi stated that Abu Dhabi Business Centre had  expects all  commercial places to abide  by the deadline to change the trade name signage for all businesses  set at the end of June in all regions of the Emirate,  urging business owners to quickly change their shops boards before the deadline  to avoid  violating   set rules.Al Rumaithi  noted that the Department of Economic Development began implementing the second phase of the signage regulations in  its Abu Dhabi branches in  of  Musaffah , Al Wathbah  and  Al Shahama,  in  April 1,  last year, while it had announced the launching of the project in Abu Dhabi on 26 March, at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Chamber and Al Bateen, as well as the city of Al Ain and the Western region.Mohammed Rashid Al Rumaithi  said that  Abu Dhabi Business Center  has granted  the three months period  after the renewal of the business licenses, to change  commercial boards  according  to signage as  well as  city appearance regulations, on the commitment  of commercial licenses holders  to comply with the r.The application of the new regulations for  commercial signage  includes   the abiding of  new business licenses includes by  signage models, specifications, dimensions, and location within the premises in accordance with the guidelines  of  Estidama program  launched and managed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.Al Rumaithi, praised the role of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council in the preparation of the regulatory policy for   trade name commercial signage  in Abu Dhabi, according to the best standards and specifications applicable worldwide, contributing to enable the Department of Economic Development  to implement this project, the results  of which are clearly visible in the streets of the Emirate.He  stressed  the keenness of the Department of Economic Development  and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council on the application of  the signage regulations shops in Abu Dhabi,   and achieving  its  objectives, stating that  3 workshops were organized last year, including 2 in Abu Dhabi and one in  Al Ain, which were  attended by more than 150  calligraphers, to familiarize them with the technical aspects and applications required for the implementation of the business signage new regulations.Al Rumaithi  explained that since the introduction of the new signage project, in Abu Dhabi in March of 2012   and until this month, more than 60% of businesses especially those in buildings along the main streets in Abu Dhabi, had changed their billboards.Al Rumaithi said that in following follow-up on the implementation of the system, the Abu Dhabi  Business Centre  had  conducted  around (20,000) field inspection visits during the first quarter of this year, to ensure  the abidance of  stores that  undertook to change their  billboards  after receiving the three months notices The Business Center has filed 3,150 violations and notification since the implementation of the commercial signage regulations project in March 2012, including non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the proper writing of approved trade names, boards, measurements dimensions, displaying of board or non-compliance with specified height or places of billboards and other irregularities.In conclusion Al Rumaithi expressed his thanks and appreciation to the representatives of the media t for attending   the press conference, which reflect their efforts in raising the awareness of business owners of the importance of   abiding by the commercial signage regulations. Few months ago, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) unveiled the Abu Dhabi Commercial Signage Regulations to improve signage located on building facades and limit the use of public space for equipment and storage around storefronts. The Commercial Signage Regulations, were developed in close collaboration with the Department of Economic Development (ADDED), outline permitted commercial signage typologies, specifications, dimensions and position on a building. As described by H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, UPC General Manager : “ The Commercial Signage Regulations help lay the foundations for the Emirate’s future vision and complement the guiding principles of Urban Planning Vision 2030 which call for more liveable, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing public spaces across the Emirate, in line with the Estidama guiding principles. The new regulation is improving the appearance of building facades and streets through the use of the signage design guidelines. Our goal is to enhance the public realm experience for residents by ensuring a high level of signage quality while still allowing for creativity and individuality and making sure the signs do not conflict with the architectural features of a building  “  The regulations outline the permitted commercial signage types, specifications, dimensions and positioning on a building, along with a comprehensive series of diagrams to help business owners to clearly understand what they are allowed to do. Based on its location within a building, the Regulations highlight the specific zone where a business sign can be placed within.  The UPC, along with its strategic partners and stakeholders, is implementing the Regulations while the Department of Economic Development (ADDED) is enforcing commercial signage.  “The Regulations are aimed at raising the standard and consistency of all permanent commercial signs across our Emirate and apply to all permanent new and existing signage on buildings. Following implementation, we received very positive feedback from both the general public, and the business community who were the primary targeted stakeholders for the implementation of the Signage Regulations.” said Eng. Amer Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Planning and Infrastructure, UPC.  Considering the situation of the 80.000 existing signs in place, a number of clear challenges were addressed: the design of most of the buildings was not designed to accommodate signs, the lack of an universal logical place for signs that were trying to convey too much information, the limited capacity of several signage companies and the ability of Municipality regulations to enforce guidance. To answer these specific needs, the new Regulations define specific signage zones based on the location of the business within the building and apply location and screening restrictions to air conditioning units and gas cylinders to improve safety and maximize public access by limiting the public space for equipment and storage.A Commercial Signage Manual has been prepared that outlines in full the building signage zones, permitted signs by type, signage regulations as well as other signage. Furthermore, the Manual gives signage design guidelines to ensure that no sign or portion of a sign covers an integral architectural element of a structure, obstructs views into and out of business premises or advertises third party products. Furthermore, the Regulations outline restrictions for the placement of air conditioning units and gas cylinders to improve safety and enhance public access.The Regulations ensure signage uniformity on buildings and encourage signage that complements the building in order to convey a positive image of the building and business. A delegation from the Advertisement Section - Planning Department of the Dubai Municipality met with the UPC’s Planning Policy Team to know more about the initiative itself and the feedback received by the UPC and ADDED following the initial implementation phases.  “We had the privilege of being invited by the UPC as a strategic partner, to know more about its initiative in transforming Abu Dhabi into a model of sustainable urbanization through the Arab world’s first sustainability rating system the Estidama pearl rating system (PRS). Particularly, the application of the Commercial Signage Advertising Strategy and its success in the consistency of all permanent commercial signs across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as a part of the City Beautifications Processes. As we will highlight the UPC’s best practices in the Parapet Fascia Signage as well as the Mezzanine Level Signage zone to the Dubai Economic Department.“ Said Mona Khamis Head of Advertisement Section – Planning Department, Dubai MunicipalitySuch interest from another major municipality demonstrates the recognition received by the Abu Dhabi Government for its commitment to creating Complete Sustainable Communities and providing citizens with the highest standards of quality in terms of the public realm experience.  It reflects the UPC’s vision to design neighborhoods that create livable and convenient places through best practice planning, design and construction, with the commitment to establishing sustainable communities that help protect the UAE’s unique urban environment. Prior to the final implementation of the Regulations the UPC engaged directly with the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Municipals Affairs to make a clear inventory of the existing situation and the existing laws and structure types in place while discussing on how to implement the new regulations through the Municipality plans and processes. Then, the UPC contacted the signage companies to learn more about typologies, capacity and customers’ expectations before starting developing and testing prototypes and addressing licensing issues. Then, the final stage was the conduction of series of trainings with the concerned stakeholders to get their final feedback and answer to their concerns prior to the start of the implementation phases while confirming the assigned role of municipal departments. The ultimate aim of the new regulations is to ensure signage uniformity on buildings and encourage signage that complements the outside visual perception in order to convey a positive and valorized image of both the building and the business.
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