The Bar Association has voiced safety concerns over the premises of Nicosia’s former Filoxenia hotel and conference centre, which are to be converted into courts.
Head of the Bar Association Doros Ioannides told daily Phileleftheros that lawyers will refuse to work there unless ironclad guarantees are given that the building is safe, after surveys found problems with its structural integrity.
Ioannides said mixed signals were coming from the government, with one minister asserting that no problem exists, while at the same time others say necessary repair works could run in the millions of euros.
The government plans to convert the premises of the Filoxenia to house the commercial and shipping courts.
It’s understood the Filoxenia was chosen by former justice minister Ionas Nicolaou, who argued that its location near the entrance to Nicosia is ideal.
But questions about the safety of the premises arose after contractors were recently commissioned by the state to carry out structural integrity surveys.
The first survey found that necessary buttressing and repair works would cost €366,000; a second survey placed the cost at €979,000.
According to Phileleftheros, the government excluded the second proposal, not only for cost considerations but also the fact the proposed repairs would take at least six months – outside the timetable for achieving the relocation of the courts by February.
These findings, the paper reported, showed that the “structure cannot bear seismic loads”.
It moreover said structural problems – including cracks in walls – were identified years ago.
The cracks were identified as far back as 2012 when a contractor was commissioned to carry out maintenance works ahead of the use of the Filoxenia for events during Cyprus’ rotating presidency of the EU.
The decision to carry out structural inspections at government-owned buildings, or buildings used by government services, dates back to July 2008.