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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Dubai community residents 'living in fear' of crumbling roofs

Residents of one of Dubai’s most popular gated communities are living in fear of using their gardens after their roofs began to crumble.

Residents of the Mira 1 community told The National they are worried about the safety of their families as the outer wall of their roofs are falling to the ground in chunks.

One worried mother said her daughter, 3, was playing in the back garden when a piece of the roof “the size of a football” hurtled to the ground.

While nobody has been injured, residents are concerned that it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt by the falling debris.

Kirsty Muirhead, 32, from Scotland, who owns the property with her husband, said she was at home looking after her eight-month-old son Jack, while her three-year-old daughter Ellie, was playing outside when the first chunk of roof fell to the ground.

“Ellie was playing in the garden at the time when I heard a big crashing sound,” she said.

“I did not know what it was and couldn’t believe it when I ran outside to see concrete smashed all over the ground.”

The part of the Muirhead's roof from where chunks of concrete have fallen to the ground.  Leslie Pableo for The National
The part of the Muirhead's roof from where chunks of concrete have fallen to the ground.  Leslie Pableo for The National

She said debris continues to fall off the roof making the garden a no-go area for her and her family.

“Bits of rubble are falling from the roof almost every day. We can’t use the garden as it is unsafe, especially for the kids.”

Ms Muirhead said she and her husband Sandy contacted property developers Emaar, who built the houses in Mira, but were told they would have to pay for renovation as the warranty on their house had expired.

“It is very frustrating because nobody seems to be able to help us or give us a straight answer about who is responsible for fixing this,” she said.

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“This a time bomb waiting to go off,” said Sandy.

“I have a three-year-old daughter who would be struggling to survive if part of the roof hit her on the head,” he said.

“My wife has been in touch with neighbours on social media groups and dozens of people have said they had similar issues with their properties.”

Jacquie Hendon, a neighbour of the Muirheads, who rents a house in the community, said she has also had pieces of her roof off.

“We had bits of the roof come off at the back of the house about two months ago,” said Ms Hendon, 37, from Swindon in the UK.

“The garden was littered with pieces of rubble about the size of A5 paper. It was coming from just under the apex of the roof.”

She said Emaar told her that the work required was not included under the terms of her warranty.

“I contacted the landlord but I have not heard back from them yet,” she said.

Ms Hendon said the recent rain in Dubai caused the same problem at the front of the house.

“There are quite a few people commenting on the Mira Facebook groups about having similar issues,” she said.

The garden at the Muirhead home in Mira 1 is now off limits to the family. Leslie Pableo for The National
The garden at the Muirhead home in Mira 1 is now off limits to the family. Leslie Pableo for The National

“When you are in the back garden, you can see parts of the roof falling down and neighbours I have spoken to here are worried about getting whacked in the head.”

A mother-of-two, who is a neighbour of the Muirheads, said she has has similar issues with her home.

“We had bits falling off the roof as well, it wasn’t heavy chunks though it was more like sand,” she said.

Though unlike the Muirheads, she was able to get her issue resolved.

“Emaar came down and put up the necessary scaffolding around the house and were able to fix it in one day,” she said.

An Emaar spokesman said: “The safety, security and well-being of our residents is paramount to us, and we take all measures to address their concerns.

“The matter was brought to our attention, and after inspection, our experts have identified that the structure is strong and built as per standards, and the chips are from an external plaster fabric.”

He said anyone affected can contact them on 800-EMAAR.

“We will provide all necessary support in referring to competent service providers to address it,” said the spokesman.