Fayez calls for holding those responsible for Luweibdeh tragedy accountable

Experts warn of breaches in construction and supervision regulations

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Senate President Faisal Al-Fayez on Sunday asked that the reasons for the collapse of the Jabal Luweibdeh residential building be found and that parties responsible for it be held accountable, local media outlets reported.اضافة اعلان

Fayez also stressed the need for the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and the concerned authorities in all governorates to form specialized committees of public and private sectors representatives to determine the level of safety of old buildings and to address any issues that may exist.

Fayez called for scrupulous observance of the requirements needed to grant building licenses and for stopping the abuses that occur. He stressed that building licenses should not be granted without the approval of the supervising engineering office that is responsible for the construction, in accordance with the specifications and conditions required to guarantee a safe implementation.

Fayez, who made these statements during his visit to the Public Security Directorate, expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the Civil Defense, Public Security, and the Gendarmerie cadres over several days, following the collapse of the Luweibdeh building, which left 14 dead and 10 injured.

Also on Sunday, Amman Public Prosecutor Thaer Nassar started listening to testimonies of survivors of the collapsed Luweibdeh building, according to a local media outlet, while GAM’s Higher Construction Committee began collecting samples from the site of the collapsed building and those surrounding it, to assess whether they are ready for the return of their residents, GAM spokesperson Nasser Al-Rahamneh was reported by Al-Mamlaka TV as saying.

Rahamneh said that GAM has taken all precautions so that the evacuated residents living close to the collapsed building face no problem upon return, adding that a decision will be taken on the basis of the reports of the relevant committees.

Clearing the site of the collapsed four-story building remains challenging; GAM workers opened a road by the building overlooking the street to introduce medium and heavy machinery in order to complete the removal of debris, said Rahamneh.

Meanwhile, a member of the Engineering Offices Council from the Engineering Association, Ahmed Ghannam, said that maintenance work in apartments and old buildings should be carried out under the supervision of a specialized engineering office, to prevent a recurrence of the Luweibdeh incident.

Ghannam told a local TV outlet on Saturday that in 2018, the association warned about the possibility of such accidents occurring in old buildings, and that it issued instructions regulating the restoration and maintenance of buildings in general, and of old buildings in particular.

He said that what happened in Luweibdeh may happen in other areas due to GAM’s failure to monitor buildings.

Architect Fares Baqain told the same TV outlet that what happened in Luweibdeh should ring the “alarm bell”, stressing, however, that not all old buildings have weak structures, and that the foundations of some are even better than those of modern buildings.

He said that a large percentage of construction works in the capital does not follow the needed engineering regulations, and that laws are breached when qualified contractors who sign a contract to build leave the construction to subcontractors who may not be qualified to do so.

He also said that some engineering offices sell fictitious supervision contracts at the lowest prices, and that some projects that require the presence of a resident engineer do not comply and use fictitious appointees, a practice that is still going on.

The head of the Housing Investors Association Kamal Al-Awamleh corroborated the claim, saying that there is corruption in the fake purchase of engineers’ services.

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