x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai owners frozen out as repair work yet to start on fire-ravaged tower

Residents of the smoke-blackened Tamweel Tower, in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, face the prospect of another year out of their homes.

Fire devastated Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers last November, leaving hundreds homeless, but repair work has yet to begin and owners are forced to keep paying for rented homes. Satish Kumar / The National
Fire devastated Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers last November, leaving hundreds homeless, but repair work has yet to begin and owners are forced to keep paying for rented homes. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Repair work is yet to begin on an apartment building 10 months after a fire 10 months ago left hundreds of people homeless.

Residents of the smoke-blackened Tamweel Tower, in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, face the prospect of another year out of their homes.

“It’s just not going anywhere,” said one flat owner, Briton John Cox, who has been renting an apartment on Sheikh Zayed Road since December last year.

“We were all expecting to be back in by the latest at the end of this year. It’s just a complete nightmare.”

Mr Cox said owners had been told that repairs should be completed by August next year. In the meantime they have to rent.

“I’m just totally losing money, and so are other owners,” he said. “It looks like I’m going to have to renew my rent again in December.

“Nobody thought it would be close to two years.”

The project to repair the tower is being overseen by the building’s housing association, which is made up of elected owners.

Surendra Nayer, the chair of the association board and an apartment owner, said the need to conduct an in-depth damage report was part of the reason for the delay.

The report is now complete and will be submitted to both insurers and the free zone authority in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, before repair work is opened up to tender.

“We don’t envision any problems with the insurance,” he said. “We have to send it to the local authorities as well, all of these people have to be informed.

“Once that’s done, the repair work should be done quite quickly.”

Mr Nayer said he moved into new rented accommodation yesterday, but did not expect to have to stay for a full year.

He admitted repairs had taken far longer to coordinate than he initially imagined.

“Not being in the building trade myself, I didn’t expect it would be so long,” he said. “Nobody in Dubai could tell you how quickly it would all progress.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae