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Cyprus

New law to regulate dangerous buildings

File Photo: A run-down building in Old Nicosia

Revisions to a law on buildings and road maintenance are being drawn up as a number of deteriorating structures pose a danger to the public, permanent secretary of the ministry Costas Constantinou said on Wednesday.

“The source of the problem of dangerous buildings is the ageing of a large part of the country’s structures, combined with the non-existent or low-standard anti-seismic planning provisions, which were applied during the previous decades, but mainly from the absence of any maintenance culture,” Constantinou said.

He added that Cyprus is in a seismically active area of the world and it is of vital importance to increase the durability of buildings.

“Especially, the buildings that house significant services and have a large visitation,” he said.

Constantinou said this is an important issue, because it is a serious and chronic problem in Cyprus.

The Turkish invasion and the immediate need for buildings to house refugees, he continued, caused the problem of the construction of dangerous buildings. In addition, he added, the absence of legislative regulation requiring the supervision of buildings by an approved architect, as well as the absence of the Cyprus Anti-Seismic Code gradually led to the current picture.

Constantinou also raised the issue of the well-established perception that the cost of a building includes only its construction cost, and not the cost of maintenance.

“For this reason, it is particularly important to emphasise the importance of adopting a maintenance culture, as it is one of the most effective preventive measures against the creation of dangerous buildings. Buildings need systematic repair and for this reason it is necessary for owners to invest in carrying out maintenance work on a regular basis,” he said.

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