Bahrain developers warned over liability for stalled projects

Companies reportedly responsible for gas and water maintenance even if schemes are inactive

Developers in Bahrain could be forced to rebuild stalled real estate schemes if the gas and water pipes beneath them are found to be damaged due to neglect, an official has warned.

Several planned developments in Bahrain have been stalled for more than five years as economic uncertainty and the low oil price takes its toll. Among them are the Marina West, Amwaj Gateway, Sunset Hills and Juffair Views residential schemes.

These projects have been on hold for some time with little or no construction activity taking place. However, Saba Al Asfoor, technical services director of Bahrain’s Northern Municipality, warned last week that developers remain responsible for maintaining the gas and water infrastructure beneath the sites even while the project is otherwise inactive.

Should the pipes sustain damage due to negligence, the developer will be liable to fix the infrastructure and rebuild the project at higher expense, she told Gulf Daily News on the sidelines of the Middle East Corrosion Conference last week.

“Developers work with engineering firms that are registered with Bahrain’s Committee for Organising Engineering Professional Practice, and are obliged to sign an undertaking that they are responsible for the projects. If any damage happens, developers will have to fix it or rebuild the project.”

Al Asfoor pointed to the $750 million Marina West scheme, which has been stalled for almost six years but never completed. “Millions of dinars have been invested in that project, which was once a project that everyone was looking forward to witnessing completion,” she said.

“The project has been stalled for years now but the municipality has no responsibility over any negligence in terms of keeping up with maintenance work.”

Abdulmajeed Al Qassab, chairman of the engineering professional practice, urged developers to undertake regular maintenance work to prevent possible corrosion damage, the newspaper added.

“Pipes need to be maintained regularly until work on the projects resume,” he was quoted as saying.

“Real estate companies and development owners are compelled to do anything [they can] to avert any damage.”

Bahrain last year introduced a new real estate development law and committee for stalled projects, intended to help work resume on shelved schemes across the kingdom.

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