Ageing buildings need urgent inspection

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Cyprus’ older buildings must undergo immediate inspection, while authorities should introduce mechanisms to prevent incidents like the collapse of two balconies in Paphos from happening again.

The Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) said it again urges authorities to assess ageing buildings, many of which pose a hazard as they require maintenance.

ETEK, the statutory technical adviser of the state, said in a statement that large swathes of the island’s property list are older buildings not built to modern standards.
It said many were erected before anti-seismic building methods were introduced, with materials deemed inappropriate today.

ETEK argues that problems have been made worse due to the lack of routine maintenance of buildings which is often the main factor for their partial or even total collapse.

“Taking into account these facts and that the protection of human life must be the highest priority, ETEK’s position is that preventive measures should be taken to shield buildings against damage from the passage of time, earthquakes or other disasters.”

The Chamber has submitted a specific proposal to the Ministry of the Interior for the institutionalisation of periodic inspection of buildings.

ETEK said that following the latest incidents, it would be relaunching a set of educational seminars on inspecting older buildings for its members.

It calls on the state to immediately carry out information and public awareness campaigns regarding the risks posed by the lack of maintenance of buildings, especially older ones, and the need to take measures to ensure the safety of tenants, which is the responsibility of every owner.

Cyprus’ property stock has come under the spotlight after two incidents of collapsing balconies in Paphos left seven people injured, four of them seriously.

The incidents occurred 24 hours apart last week in the town.