DUBAI // The architect and contractors for the development will be legally responsible for the collapse if the investigation finds them to have been negligent.
The project's developer, Sorouh, would also be jointly liable for any damage to residents' property, according to the UAE Civil code.
"Any damages or loss, whether partial or total, to a building within 10 years of its construction falls under the liability of the contractor, if that was from his negligence, according to Article 878 of the UAE civil code," said Omar Al Shaikh, a partner at the Dubai law firm Hadef and Partners.
"Article 878 states that if the architect of the building overlooked the construction, he stands liable, as well as the contractor, for any damages, unless it was proven that the damage was a result of an unavoidable occurrence.
"Compensation for the car owners who lost their vehicles are to be claimed from the developer and contractor jointly."
Mr Al Shaikh said the contractor would be liable to Sorouh and would have to compensate the developer financially.
At least five principal inspections must be carried before any residential development is deemed habitable.
The inspections are handled by the Civil Defence section of the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, the Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Etisalat.
After inspections are completed and reviewed, the municipality's Building Permits Administration issues a Building Completion Certificate, effectively saying the building is safe and resident may move in.
Structures such as the landscaped courtyard that collapsed at Al Rayyana are reviewed and approved by the municipality themselves, one expert said.
Despite this, the municipality is not held responsible. "The responsibility falls on to the architect and contractor," he said.