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Tue 8 Sep 2009 07:41 AM

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Reasons for Dubai building collapse revealed

Weak structure, materials misuse and engineering faults to blame - official.

A building in Deira collapsed last month because its structure was weak and incorrect building materials had been used, Dubai Municipality has revealed.

The building, located near the Ramada Hotel across the street from the Dubai Police HQ, was in the final stages of completion when it collapsed on August 16. Eleven construction workers narrowly escaped death when the six-storey building fell to the ground.

Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said that the collapse was due to faults in the building’s structure.

"There were faults found in all three of the categories," he told UAE daily Gulf News in comments published on Monday. "There was an engineering fault, misuse of building materials, and the structure of the building was found to be weak. That is evident from the fact that the building collapsed on itself from its middle."

A committee was set up to identify the causes of the collapsed building by Dubai Municipality the day after the collapse.

The investigation report will be released to the media after it has been viewed by the Executive Council. Lootah said.

The building next to the collapsed building will be demolished because of damage to its structure, he said.

Arabian Business identified Sharjah-based Al Hazza Building Contracting Company as the contractor working on the project.

The firm has insured the building for a contract value of AED70m with National General Insurance (NGI).

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Bob Richards 11 years ago

A building falls down because of errors in engineering and the use of incorrect materials. How many other new buildings are suffering from similar problems as companies attempt to save a few bucks? And what is DM doing to reassure people that the buildings that are being made are being built with the correct materials?

paul 11 years ago

I am curious what level of inspections by authorities are made during the building process. A contractor wanting to save a few bucks can skimp on certain aspects of the building code safe in the knowledge that the violation will be hidden under concrete or plasterboard. So it should require officials to inspect and sign off and critical points, such as foundations, steelwork, etc. If the contractor is at fault, then at the very least any other buildings they worked on in the past must be carefully inspected. I would have to know I was sitting in a building that might have had the same shortcuts made during its construction.

Shyne 11 years ago

Engineering defect?..Structure weak?... All structural calculations and drawings are submitted to DM for verification and approval in the design phase for all the buildings in Dubai. How this faulty design got approved?!

Ian 11 years ago

"The structure of the building was found to be weak". But the structural design has to be submitted via a consultant and approved by DM prior to issue of the Building Permit. And in a conventional Reinforced Concrete framed building, all reinforcement is inspected by DM prior to concrete pouring to ensure it complies with the approved design. Thus both structural design and implementation are subject to strict checks. The success of this system is obvious since this collapse is the first of it's kind. But this building was not RC - it seems from the photos to have been at least partly steel-framed. A method which is not used so often in Dubai although not unusual elsewhere. Do the DM have the correct procedures in place for dealing with alternative methods of construction? (The same question may also apply to JFZA - who work in a similar manner for Free Zone construction)

Ali 11 years ago

You article says Al Hazza Building Contracting Company was working on the project. I'm pretty certain that this collapsed building was not the only one in the UAE that the company has been involved in - unless it was the one and only building they have every attempted constructing, which seems hugely unlikely. So can Arabian Business please do a little investigation and list all the buildings that Al Hazza Building Contracting Company have been responsible for? Clearly those structures need to be investigated and examined.

Fishy 11 years ago

I agree with vigilant, the design is approved by DM. If there is a fault in design, somebody in DM has to account for it. As well as inspectors who checked as the structure is being built. The article does not sound right. A building collapsing from the middle is fishy, as it is the outside corners that carry the most load. Columns in the center part shares the load with four other posts at least. That is why a stable pile of any loose substance is shaped like a pyramid- the center "can" carry the most load. If the structure is weak, it will go down by outer walls first. Perhaps it was delibirately felled to get the insurance. That building has a tolet sign for quite a while and no one is renting. Nobody getting seriously hurt is another fishy story.

Atheek Ahmed 11 years ago

As per DM regulations full time Architectural and Engineering Consultants to be available on the site.DM has given full authority to the consultants for monitoring the quality and standards.Approved drawings from DM might be not fully implemeted.Its not the fault of the company but its fault of the team depolyed on this project on behalf of the contractor and consultant. see any thing wrong in the

ARABI 11 years ago

I hope to see all those involved in the construction of the building taken to COURT.

Hal-Luke Savas 11 years ago

I am almost sure answer lies in the make up of the construction crew. Having worked in Middle East for 25 years or so, I came to notice that some crews treat construction as 'finish it at any cost'.. in short quality is not the main aim but to finish it earliest and hang tiles on it to hide whatever is behind. Does anybody know what was the top construction crew make up on this project ? Hal-Luke Savas MBA FCIM MBIFM ICIOB affCIBSE londonmanagement@aol.com

VC 11 years ago

Well the answer is GREED. Nobody had time, before the economic crisis, to validate what was going into the buildings. Everybody had their hands full with work. All statutory authorities were flooded with designs waiting to be verified, designers had their tables full and contractors had their orders books saturated with work. Everybody was running to create the biggest, the best. Well Done! Bravo! Some works are simply breathtaking and not imaginable in any other part of the world. So can we get back to basics now and get our act right from here on!