Shopping centres and small units in Dubai have been exempted from decoration licenses, with Smart Self-License services also launched for bigger units in the emirate. The move is part of Dubai Municipality’s efforts to organise construction work according to international standards.

Dawood Al Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality, issued the decree pertaining to the development and improvement of procedures for licensing decoration work.

Shops of any size in commercial centres and buildings outside such centres “of no more than 100m2” will be permitted to design and implement decoration work without obtaining a license from the municipality’s building permits department, be it for commercial, office, or investment use, Al Hajiri explained.

“However, [the work] should be compliant with the requirements of the Civil Defence, and should be an independent rental unit,” he added.

“The decoration work should be done through a contractor approved by Dubai Municipality and should abide by the specifications, requirements, and provisions of the building and planning legislation in force in the municipality. The decoration work should be within the limits of construction units that are approved according to the licensed plans of the building. It should not include any building area that is added, cancelled, included, or separated. The tenant should obtain the approval of the owner of the property to get permission to do the decoration work.”

For building units that span more than 100m2, decoration licenses are available directly through the Dubai Building Licensing System, without the involvement of municipality engineers. This is in accordance with the requirements of the system, which should be applied to by a contractor or an engineer approved by the municipality through the Self-Licensing of Decoration service.

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“The work should comply with the specifications, requirements, and provisions of the building and planning legislation in force, and the decoration works should be within the limits of the approved building units – it does not include any building area [that was] added or cancelled or completed in the system and got the certificate automatically,” Al Hajiri explained.

The development comes in response to the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to boost business in the emirate. Al Hajiri said the move would contribute to the creation of “a stimulating and encouraging environment for investment” in Dubai.