Collapsing buildings and demolition warrants are registering alarming rate increases recently throughout Cairo.
The head of Giza Governorate’s demolitions department, Abdel Halim Abdel Khaleq, said between early June 2008 and October 2010, Giza Governorate executed 3855 demolition orders. An estimated 2800 other properties await removal, Abel Khaleq said.
A property owner is given 15 days to rectify construction violations before the demolition process begins, Abel Khaleq added. He said, in the event the owner does not make the necessary adjustments, authorities execute the removal at his expense.
Abdel Khaliq said most of the violations are based on illegal construction locations, such as farmland, or the installation of additional floors without prior consent. No demolition action is approved without consulting with an architectural committee, the official added.
”There are two methods of construction: concrete skeletons, and load-bearing walls," said Mustafa Kamel Metwalli, professor of constructions at the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University. "Both should be established according to standards and specific building codes, so as for the property to be resistant to earthquakes and endure different factors of destruction.
Metwalli added that an aging building can naturally fall. But if a newly-constructed building collapses or is ordered for demolition, the reason, according to Metwalli, may be a failure to test the soil at the building’s site prior to construction.
The professor said each sort of soil accepts a different kind of concrete. “Citizens, unfortunately, commit blatant violations, especially at shanty residences," Metwalli explained, adding that people build more stories than their housing structure can withstand, inaccurately thinking adjacent houses will reinforce the structure's integrity.
Metwalli added that demolition and rebuilding can be less expensive, in many cases, than wholesale renovation.
Citizens are responsible for the rise in housing collapses, Metwalli continued. He said no one is supposed to begin housing construction before submitting design schematics to an insurance consultation body.
Metwalli said construction should be executed in accordance with the Egyptian building code.
Khaled Hamdy, professor of civil law, Ain Shams University, noted Egypt sets specific criteria for building heights and spacing before launching an urbanization plan. But people too often violate a certain criterion unknowingly leading to collapse or demolition directive.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.