Monday, June 11, 2007

Old buildings violating safety regulations to be demolished

The civic body at Sharjah has issued demolition notices to many old buildings that are likely to be knocked down soon, according to official reports.

The Assistant Director General for Governmental Projects at the Municipality, Sultan Al Mualla, agreed that there are plenty of buildings that are past their life-span and in poor condition.

According to the Municipality regulations, any building, that is more than thirty years old, could be considered "unfit" and are due to be pulled down, though it also depends on the condition of the building and not the age alone.

Many old buildings that are already in a bad shape still continue to exist, despite the warnings issued to the owners by the municipality to either knock them down or to renovate them.

Al Mualla said "There are several buildings that have been issued notices. We will take strict measures against them, if they do not comply with the regulations that are meant for public safety."

However, as reported by Emirates Today, it is a fact that several old buildings with cracked roofs and walls, and structures close to collapse, that are in various stage of dilapidation, are still being rented out to residents, ignoring the municipality regulations of safety.

These buildings, other than being an eyesore, also cause great harm to residents with exposed electrical wirings hanging randomly around the walls. The health of the residents are also infected with rooms infested with pests and cockroaches, with foul smell emanating from the rotting wood of windows and doors, disintegrating concrete and rusting metal.

Al Mualla explained that the municipality inspectors have submitted reports to a special committee which will assess the situation before taking any action.

Al Mualla said that warnings have already been issued to a large number of buildings. A second warning will be issued to the owner and to the residents for evacuation. He added that talks are on, with the Water and Electricity department to disconnect services to buildings violating the regulations.

However, the Municipality agreed that if a building is well maintained and deemed safe after the inspection by the authorities, then it will not be demolished even if it is well beyond thirty years after construction.

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