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Rules call for Abu Dhabi buildings to be clutter-free

Abu Dhabi: Building facades across the emirate of Abu Dhabi will soon become free of clutter following a set of guidelines that call for improved store signs and tidier shopfronts.

The guidelines, which were announced by the Urban Planning Council (UPC) in association with the Department of Economic Development (DED), specify details such as where commercial signs can be placed on buildings, and also prohibit commercial mechanical equipment from being stored in public spaces.

"Interesting architectural elements of a building will no longer be overshadowed by signage and equipment when these regulations are implemented," said Amer Al Hammadi, director of planning and infrastructure at the UPC.

"The standards and consistency of all permanent commercial signs in the emirate will also be improved," he added.

The sign regulations are part of the UPC's Urban Street Design Manual. They will be implemented in the emirate by the DED and the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, although officials have not yet revealed the time frame for their implementation.


Explaining some of the elements of the directive, Al Hammadi said store owners would be prevented from covering up shopfront windows with any kind of signs or advertisements.

"This will not only help improve the appearance of buildings and the public spaces in front of them, but also enhance store security by allowing for easier surveillance from inside the shop," he said.

In addition, restaurants will be required to store equipment like gas cylinders inside their premises. "This will ‘declutter' public spaces, making them more pleasing to the eye," said Doug Giles, senior associate planner at the UPC.

A manual detailing these guidelines will soon be made available, he added.

Other actions prohibited in the regulations include displaying signs above mezzanine floor level.

In addition, commercial establishments will also be prevented from advertising third-party brands or products.

"This means that a grocery store, for instance, cannot advertise a soft drink on its store sign," Giles said.

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