The Contractors Classification Division (CCD) of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) today organized a professional workshop at the premises of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce Industry (ADCCI) on systems of classifying contractors and consultants and registration of engineers. The event was attended by an audience of more than 400 people representing construction companies and consulting and engineering firms Abu Dhabi-wide. “This workshop is intended to establish communication between the DED, contractors, consultants, engineers and strategic partners, ensuring the clarity and transparency of new systems, dispelling the ambiguity and fogginess of some points, measuring and gauging the opinions of customers and users – including contractors, consultants and executing entities - of the new rating system, in addition to debating and deliberating on some topics of joint interest,” Mr. Ahmed Abdul-Rahman Al Burkani, Director of the CCD, said in an opening speech of the event, underlining that such systems have contributed to the re-organization and re-structuring of the contractors’ and consultants’ business in a manner keeping abreast of developments being witnessed by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, particularly in the construction sector, which is one of the most important sectors contributing to the growth rates in Abu Dhabi’s GDP.“The DED cares for streamlining and reactivating all applicable regulations and laws concerned with the construction sector with an aim of realizing what is enshrined in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and; consequently, of both improving performance and identifying necessary requirements for the upcoming chapter over which it is expected for Abu Dhabi to experience massive development and urban expansion in different areas and cities of the emirate,” Mr. Al Burkani noted, saying that “All such procedures entail that we whet our forces, double our efforts, be perseverant and keep upgrading the systems in a way commensurate with future variables and supportive of the construction and real estate sector’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s GDP.Posterior to launching the systems in November last year, the total number of companies classified and rated hit nearly ( ) construction companies and consulting firms, he stated, mentioning that theses systems and instructions have taken into consideration classifying all construction companies and businesses into categories proportionate to their expertise, technical and financial capacities in accordance with specific criteria and benchmarks, then issuing general policies per system, along with the relevant application mechanism in conformity with basic prerequisites, criteria and rules.Mr. Al Burkani said: “ The most important developments covered by these systems are: the classification of engineering consulting firms and of designing and site contractors, together with possible ownership by a non-engineer UAE investor of a consulting firm and potential combination of construction and consulting activities, possessing more than one consulting firm, registration of an advisory opinion office, terms and conditions of quality, security and safety besides the professional guarantee”. “Also included in the new systems are the selection of engineers and training them so as to be part of companies’ technical apparatus, performance control, the application of these systems to all construction companies and engineering consulting firms licensed in the emirate, the fair and square distribution of projects out to all classification categories, ensuring equal opportunities for all contractors and consultants, gathering together the total values of projects completed by a contractor or consultant, in addition to increasing the estimated value for projects in which the contractor may participate, introducing a sixth category in the contractors’ rating according to easy terms and conditions, along with cancelling the contractors-classifying committee and replacing it by a grievance-specific one,” he added.Accordingly, Mr. Al Burkani explained in his remarks that “The grace period for classified contractors shall be four years in order for positions to be adjusted, while that for consulting firms and unclassified contractors shall be two years”.Concluding his address, Mr. Al Burkani extended his thanks to everybody for their participation and presence, wishing the workshop to be successful enough to come out with specific recommendations that would both back up the application of the system and turn out to be a genuine mechanism for joint action in a manner that would materialize the emirate’s public interest.The workshop addressed specialties of contractors’ classification pursuant to the new regulations for major roads, buildings and civil works, electrical, water and sanitary drainage projects, together with electromechanical and agricultural activities.Similarly, it was demonstrated that the special category for the classification of contracting companies stipulates that the amount of capital and assets should be no less 30 million dirhams, that the total projects accomplished during the past period should be no less than 480 million dirhams of which at least 360 millions executed as a main contractor, and that the value of one project should be no less than 120 million dirhams. This is related to each and every field of specialization desired to be classified and the same should be holders of (ISO 90001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 1800).Regarding the first category for classifying contacting companies, it stipulates that the amount of capital and assets should be 15 million dirhams, that a company should have earned the same certificates as those of the special degree, that the total projects completed be no less than 240 million dirhams of which at least 180 millions should be executed as a principal contractor, and that the value of one project should be no less than 60 million dirhams for each and every specialty in which the classification is required. As regards the second category, it is a prerequisite that the capital and assets included therein be at an amount of 7 million dirhams, that the total projects accomplished be no less than 120 millions of which at least 90 million dirhams should be executed as a main contractor, that the value of one project should be no less than 30 million dirhams for each and every field of specialization in which the classification is require, and that the same should be a holder of the ISO 9001 certification.Likewise, it is stipulated that the capital of the third category’s companies should be no less than 4 million dirhams, that the total projects completed should not be less than 60 millions of which at least 45 million dirhams should be executed as a principal contractor, and that the value of one project should be no less than 15 million dirhams as per each and every specialty in which the classification is required.It is a precondition set by the new systems that the capital and assets for the fourth category of companies should be no less than one and a half million dirhams, that the total projects accomplished be no less than 28 millions of which 21 million dirhams should be executed as a main contractor, and that the value of one project should be at least 7 million dirhams for each and every field of specialization in which the classification is required.As for the fifth and sixth categories of companies, it is a prerequisite that the capital and assets should be no less than 750 and 300 thousand dirhams, that no completed projects shall be included, but that they should have a professional, full-time team recorded under the category of at least “profession engineer” in the engineers registration book, and that the engineer’s experience period should not be less than 4 years.Concerning the terms and conditions for the classification of contractors of designing and site projects, the workshop introduced a detailed explanation in this connection through the new systems-prescribed amount of 40 million dirhams at least as a prerequisite for the special category. It is also stipulated that such they should be holders of the (ISO 90001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and Professional Indemnity) certifications, that the total projects completed as designing and construction ones should be no less than 480 million dirhams, and provided that the value of one project should not be less than 60 million dirhams for each and every specialty in which the classification is required. As for the first category of such companies, it is a prerequisite that the capital and assets be 20 million dirhams and that they should be holders of the same certifications as those of the special category, while it is stipulated for the total projects completed as designing and construction ones be no less than 240 million dirhams, and that the value of one project should be at least 60 million dirhams for each and every field of specialization in which the classification is required.Regarding the second category of designing and construction projects’ contracting companies, the regulations have prescribed that the capital and assets should be at least 10 million dirhams, that they should be holder of both the (ISO 9001 and Professional Indemnity) certifications, and that the total accomplished projects should be no less than 120 million dirhams, provided that the value of one project should be at least 30 million dirhams for each and every specialty in which the classification is required.The workshop did answer many questions associated with the rules related to the contractors-classifying systems as it stressed that it shall not only be permissible but it shall also be an imperative for engineers and the accounting apparatus required for the classification to be sponsored by the company or business applying for the classification, and that a seconded engineer cannot be approved since secondment is usually for a six-month period only, while the classification certificate shall be valid for two years.The Contractors Classification Division (CCD) of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) stated that it has been permitted under the new system that a contractor may engage in the profession of engineering consultancy within certain controls. However, this should be done by two separate trade licences and a curriculum vitae can be approved, provided that the same be stamped and accredited by an authorized signatory at the company or business. Thus, such an authorized signatory shall be held responsible for the correctness of data contained in the CV.In respect of getting a licence issued, the workshop made it clear that it starts with booking a trade name either via the DED’s website or by paying a visit to the Trade Licences Division. Then the applicant is to show up at the Contractors Classification Office so as to be briefed upon the classification-related terms and conditions and to sign a declaration that he has been briefed upon such prerequisites and that he is going to proceed with the classification procedures posterior to having the issuance of the trade licence completed. By virtue of the applicant’s signature on the aforesaid declaration, a no-objection letter shall be given thereto for purposes of completing the licensing procedures. Then, the same shall be submitted to the licensing division in order for the trade licence to be issued.It was illustrated as well that requirements would vary with whether a given project is governmental or private. If the project is being executed for a government entity, the contractor shall be requested to provide the project’s contract in addition to an initial or final receipt proces-verbal issued by the governmental entity; that is, the owner of the project. In the event of a project that is still in the process of execution, the contractor shall be asked to submit the certificate of the last payment approved by the government entity and stating the amount of completed work.As for a project executed in favour of the private sector, the contactor shall be asked to submit both the relevant contract and initial or final receipt proces-verbal, in addition to copies of received payments and the contractor’s account statement showing the deposit of received payments into the company’s account, provided that such payments be approved by the project’s consultant. The DED affirmed that the classification transactions receipt and accomplishment shall be reactivated in the city of Al Ain once the department has moved to it new premises bases there.With regard to the approval of the classification-specific prerequisites for other emirates of countries, the Contractors Classification Division (CCD) emphasized that as each and every country and even each emirate has its own regulations and conditions for classification; therefore, classification certificates issued by them cannot be approved.The DED stated that there is a partial exemption for companies to obtain the projects of an advanced category in line with the previous experience required for the fourth, third and second categories of UAE companies and businesses and in conformity with certain terms and conditions.The workshop underlined that it would be possible to approve a sub-contracted executed project if it is the highest one in terms of value posterior to the provision of supporting documents required for projects sub-contracted as per the prerequisites of the classification instructions. An undertaking can also be accepted upon the classification for the first time or upon shifting from the old system to the new one prior to the expiry of the granted respite period (of four years), provided that such supporting documents be made available within a year as from the date of the undertaking.Furthermore, the workshop explained that as per the new systems, a number of specialties have been exempted from the necessity of having most of submitted projects executed as a main contractor. Excepted fields of specialization are: power-distributing networks and stations, water-distributing networks and stations, branch and ancillary sanitary drainage networks, refrigerating and air-conditioning works, electromechanical works, irrigation networks and forestation and works.