Cyprus Mail

Ageing and dangerous buildings an urgent cause for concern

Λεμεσός – Υποχώρηση μπαλκονιού πολυκατοικίας
One of the buildings where a balcony fell off last year without any earthquake occurring (CNA)

The number of buildings in a dangerous state of disrepair in Cyprus has set off alarm bells for Limassol mayor Nicos Nicolaides, who on Monday called for legislation to be amended to deal with the problem.

“We are facing a state of emergency and solutions for the issue of dangerous buildings should be promoted as soon as possible,” said Nicolaides, requesting the promotion of updated legislation.

In a press conference in light of the two latest incidents at apartment buildings in Limassol, Nicolaides warned that what took place last Thursday may be repeated in the near future.

He also stated that the majority of the dangerous buildings were built after 1974, due to the great demand that existed for housing refugees and for which there was no supervision, the regulations were incomplete and the construction materials were of dubious quality.

“These buildings are almost half a century old. So we are facing a situation that we have to treat as an emergency. What we have seen in the last few days is something to be expected, because a period of time is closing and these buildings have aged in such degree, that we must expect these cases to appear in the near future,” he added.

This emergency situation, he emphasised, must be dealt with by some extraordinary and immediate measures and indicated that the revision of the Law on Roads and Buildings and the Law on Real Estate has been pending for years, so that owners are obliged to proceed with repairs and give increased powers to the local authorities to intervene.

In the last decade, he said, the municipality spent about one million euros on repairs to private buildings that had been deemed dangerous, assuming the responsibility of the owners, while in most cases the payment of the costs by the owners is pending. who are then asked to cover the costs.

“There are no margins, the matter must be treated as an immediate priority”, he underlined and added that the first thing that must be done is to judge the two bills as urgent and forward them for approval by parliament

Meanwhile, municipal engineer Antonis Charalambous said that over 500 buildings were inspected recently, with 350 warning letters sent out, while 100 buildings were deemed dangerous, “not that they are ready to collapse, but that they have dangerous points”. However, he stressed, even a piece of plaster, which will fall from a height, can cause death.

In addition, he said that only 15 per cent of owners respond immediately to repair buildings, 25 per cent respond after procedures and reminders, while a whopping 60 per cent do not respond to the calls of the municipality, however, some owners finally agree when they realise that the cost of repair may be the same as a legal proceeding against them, he added.

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