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Classification registration to change in Abu Dhabi for construction & engineering companies in 2019

7th October 2018

Classification registration in Abu Dhabi is due to change in March 2019. The change will affect construction and engineering companies working directly on government projects in Abu Dhabi.

What is Classification registration in Abu Dhabi?

Classification registration is for contractors and consultants in Abu Dhabi.  Classification ensures companies are suitably experienced and qualified to carry out and complete the projects they tender for.  The aim is to ensure excellence and quality. Classification evaluates the following: experience, technical/qualified staff, assets/capital and other conditions such as ISO:9001, ISO:14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Under the current registration requirements, which were last updated in 2012, companies select which category to register for based upon the value of tenders they are participating in.

New Classification Changes in Abu Dhabi for Contractors

The new changes which have been announced so far suggest the Classification categories will be based upon the number of floors a contractor can work on in a building.

Limits of floor works Minimum No. Registered Engineers Minimum No. Years Experience
Special Category Unlimited 4 10
First Category Ground + 25 3 10
Second Category Ground + 16 2 10
Third Category Ground + 9 2 7
Fourth Category Ground +3 1 5
Fifth Category Ground + 25 1 4
Sixth Category Industrial towers & supplements of villas 1 3
New Classification Changes in Abu Dhabi for Consultants

It is understood that the Classification registration requirements for consultants will also be based upon the number of floors in a building.

Limits of floor works Minimum No. Registered Engineers Minimum No. Years Experience
Special Category Unlimited 4 10
First Category Ground + 9 2 7
Second Category Ground + 3 1 4
How can Abu Dhabi companies find out about the new Classification registration changes?

It is understood local companies will be invited to participate in upcoming consultative workshops.  The workshops will introduce the planned Classification changes in Abu Dhabi.  Local construction and engineering companies will be encouraged to provide feedback.  The feedback will be evaluated prior to the Classification changes being formally adopted.  This is all due to happen before the end of 2018.  The changes will be published in the Official Gazette and then become effective three months later.

What Classification changes in Abu Dhabi still need to be clarified?

So far, no mention has been as to whether there will be changes to the levels of capital and assets companies are required to demonstrate in the UAE.  Under the current Classification registration system, for example, consultants registering for the level of Special Category are required to demonstrate a minimum capital of AED3 million.  Given they don't generally have assets in country, this means ensuring sufficient cash in the bank, which is often difficult.  It also risks losing highly talented consultants which don't have such capital.

Once the changes are implemented, how quickly will existing registered companies need to make any changes in order to comply?  Previously when the Classification system was updated, companies were given a two year grace period to comply.  Will it be the same this time?

The new changes for contractors focus on the levels they can work on in a building, but it is not yet mentioned how companies working on ground level and below are affected.

Currently, there are advantages for foreign companies partnering with Emirati engineers as the local sponsor.  It will be interesting to see if and how this might be changed, which could affect the shareholding structure of existing entities.

We look forward to the full changes being announced to assess the extent of the proposed changes and the subsequent comments of companies currently operating in the local market.

How to get your Classification registration in Abu Dhabi

Gateway Group can help with your Classification registration in Abu Dhabi.  By having an engineer in our team, who understands the nature of your business, and is highly experienced and knowledgeable of the Classification & Engineer Registration processes, as well as a specialist in the financial requirements for Classification, we are uniquely positioned to streamline the process for our clients.  For more information about how Gateway can help with your Classification registration, please email us: Info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com

Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO, Gateway Group of Companies

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By providing bespoke  business setup, corporate local sponsorship, and visa processing in Abu Dhabi, award-winning Gateway Group uses its on-the-ground experience and knowledge to help companies make informed decisions that are right for their business and in line with their goals.

For assistance with your Abu Dhabi business set up, visa processing and ongoing Trade License renewals, Email us: Info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com

Gateway Group - We`re pretty good at what we do

Gateway CEO, Jenny Hunt, in FORBES' Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Middle East 2018: CLICK HERE

Gateway is ranked in the Top 20 Abu Dhabi blogs to follow in 2018: CLICK HERE

Gateway are winners of Best Company Formation Specialists 2018 MEA Markets 2018 UAE Business Awards

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