Follow rules to ensure safety of building

The Muscat Municipality warned contractors and owners strictly to comply with regulations to ensure safety of buildings in the city “A specialised team of experts including engineers is visiting construction sites to confirm that municipality laws are adhered to and the building are safe to live in,” said a senior official at the municipality. Regarding old buildings, the official said that the municipality has served notices to several buildings which were found to have developed cracks and unsafe to live in.

According to Article 131 of the Municipality Buildings Act, structures totally or partially dilapidated imposing danger on residents, neighbours and passers-by should be removed by the owner or his agent. “Should they fail to respond to the notice issued in this regard, the Municipality shall have the right to evacuate and demolish the building as per administrative procedures, claim the cost from the owner or his agent and impose any other legal penalties,” the article points out.

According to Salim Mohammed al Ghamary, a Muscat Municipality Council member, buildings which are old and unsafe for living should be demolished. “Many old buildings including those belonged to different government departments have already been pulled down in some parts of the capital, especially in Ruwi,” he said. The councillor said that if any owner is found to be renting out buildings which have developed cracks and not usable should be booked. To a question, the official told the Observer that so far there has not been any case of building collapse. But the municipality will not tolerate any kind of lapse as far as the safety of the residents is concerned, he said.

“The municipality officials, as part of routine inspections, visit old residential areas to ascertain that buildings which pose threats to people do not continue to exist. They are ordered to be demolished,” the official at the buildings permit department of the municipality said. In some cases, building owners are served with advice notes to renovate them to ensure that they comply with safety regulations, he said. He said that residents can approach the municipality with complaints if any building is found to be facing safety violations. According to the Municipal Act, the civic authorities have the right to force upon the owner or his agent to repair and maintain his building whenever necessary according to the specifications considered appropriate by the civic body.