Dubai: A Belgian designs the buildings of tomorrow


In Dubai, Ghent civil engineer Koen Meert has developed a new building code that has become the standard for all local construction companies.

Before making a name for himself in Dubai, the engineer divided his studies between London (London School of Economics and Political Science, London Business school) and Gent (Ghent University), where he completed a Master's degree in civil engineering. He then started work at CH2M, more specifically on the creation of the Dubai World Expo 2020 site and, being ambitious, he moved to Dubai and joined the company Emaar. He has been Director of Design, Development and Innovation for more than three years now. The building code he introduced within the company was soon noticed, and was adopted nationwide in late 2021. This model sets procedures for drastically limiting the quantities of materials (concrete, steel, etc.) without reducing the resistance of the constructions, allowing both structural savings and a reduction of carbon emissions. Now extended to the entire Dubai construction sector, this model is having a significant impact on reducing the sector's CO2 emissions.

Noticed by the Sheikh, the Belgian received the Big 5 Construction Impact Award for the initiative of the year with an impact on sustainable development. But the ultimate reward for Koen would be to see his project adopted globally; at this stage a first step would be to extend this code to the entire Persian Gulf. For the time being, in Dubai at least, his model has the force of law as the new national code for construction companies!