Christine Stewart stands next to a shattered glass pane in the Time Place Tower where she lives in the Dubai Marina.
Christine Stewart stands next to a shattered glass pane in the Time Place Tower where she lives in the Dubai Marina.

Shattered windows spark safety fears



DUBAI // Windows in high-rise apartment blocks are spontaneously breaking because of a combination of shoddy workmanship and inadequate building regulations, construction experts say. "I came home from work and it was smashed, and I'm not quite sure how or why," said Nina, 38, a Briton, who found a half metre-long window damaged in her one-bedroom flat on the 36th floor of a tower in New Dubai.

"On the ground there were a few splinters, but it was more the window being cracked while still in the frame." According to experts, Nina was probably the victim of building contractors who had improperly fitted window panes. Large temperature fluctuations then caused the metal frames to expand and contract, straining the glass beyond its breaking point, they believe. The problem is compounded by insufficient building regulations with regards to window installation, they say, leaving standards to be decided by contractors and developers.

"There are some incredibly bad practices - contractors who don't know what they're doing, putting things together in ways that are completely unacceptable," said Tom Bell-Wright, founder and owner of Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants, which specialises in building facades. "As far as regulations are concerned about installing windows and glass, there aren't any." Asked if such regulations were maintained by Dubai Municipality, Kamal Azayam, a mechanical engineer who works in the qualifications and building studies section, said: "As far as I know, nothing."

Such decisions were not overseen by the Government, he said, but instead depended "on the requirements of the consultants". Christine Stewart is baffled as to why a glass panel in the lobby of her apartment building suddenly shattered into dozens of pieces on Saturday. "Nothing had hit it, nothing had happened," said Ms Stewart, 46, a Briton who works in the media. "It just literally went, and people were sitting nearby. It could have hit them, but luckily it didn't.

"What worries me is what caused such a thing to happen, is it going to happen again, and how safe are our apartments." When Barti Makhijani returned to her 28th-floor apartment in Dubai Marina recently, she found one of the five window panes in her bedroom, which run from floor to ceiling, was cracked in numerous places, but still intact. "It looked at first glance like it was raining on just that window," said Mrs Makhijani, 30, an Indian who lives with her two children.

"It was shattered, as if a large stone had hit and some sort of ripple effect all along that centre pane. From what I understand, it was the outside pane that was shattered. "I've got children around, and what if somebody throws something at that window like a ball because I'm not always in to guard the window?" The cost of replacing the window, about Dh12,000 (US$3,200), was borne by Mrs Makhijani's insurance. But the men who did the repair told her "it wasn't the first flat in the building that experienced it".

Paul Rogers, managing director at Eminent Surveyors and Loss Adjusters, described Mrs Makhijani's window as "frosting up". This happens when windows are installed without the necessary "wedges", which act as shock absorbers. This exposes them to greater amounts of thermal pressure, making them more prone to buckling. "It's mostly the outside pane that shatters," he said. "If the inside shatters, that's serious because it means the glass was fitted the wrong way."

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Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

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About Tenderd

Started: May 2018

Founder: Arjun Mohan

Based: Dubai

Size: 23 employees 

Funding: Raised $5.8m in a seed fund round in December 2018. Backers include Y Combinator, Beco Capital, Venturesouq, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, SOMA, Dynamo and Global Founders Capital

COMPANY PROFILE

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Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Started: 2022
Based: Dubai
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Sector: Climate tech
Investment stage: $1 million raised in seed funding

COMPANY PROFILE

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Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

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Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson

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The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

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Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
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Translated from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez

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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
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2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,200m, Winner: AF Sahwa, Nathan Crosse, Mohamed Ramadan.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: AF Thobor, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mezmar, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

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Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

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Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

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Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
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Winner: Recordman, Richard Mullen (jockey), Satish Seemar (trainer)

5.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000, 2,200m​​​​​​​
Winner: AF Taraha, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic Prestige (PA) Dh110,000, 1,400m​​​​​​​
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6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Colts Classic Prestige (PA) Dh110,000, 1,400m​​​​​​​
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7.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000, 1,600m​​​​​​​
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US-based BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.98 trillion of assets under management as of the end of last year. The New York firm run by Larry Fink provides investment management services to institutional clients and retail investors including governments, sovereign wealth funds, corporations, banks and charitable foundations around the world, through a variety of investment vehicles.

KKR & Co, or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is a global private equity and investment firm with around $195 billion of assets as of the end of last year. The New York-based firm, founded by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, invests in multiple alternative asset classes through direct or fund-to-fund investments with a particular focus on infrastructure, technology, healthcare, real estate and energy.

 

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Mission to Seafarers is one of the largest port-based welfare operators in the world.

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Stars: Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Richard E Grant, Henry Golding and Nikki Amuka-Bird

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Director: Atlee

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi

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Transmission: eight-speed automatic

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Torque: 730Nm

Price: Dh649,000 (Dh549,000 for GTS) 


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