x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Negligence caused car-park collapse

The collapse of a multi-storey car park, which injured six workers, was the result of faulty design, the head of the Sharjah municipality has said.

The scene after the collapse of the construction last October. It happened minutes after 100 workers went for lunch.
The scene after the collapse of the construction last October. It happened minutes after 100 workers went for lunch.

SHARJAH // The collapse of a multi-storey car park, which injured six workers, was the result of faulty design, the head of the municipality said yesterday. The investigation into the collapse of the Abu Shagara building last October traced the problem to an architectural error, said Sultan al Mualla, its director general.

Mr al Mualla declined to specify the error. No criminal charges had been laid, he said. Six workers were hurt by the collapse of the building, which was under construction. Four suffered severe injuries. The casualty toll could have been much worse since the building fell just minutes after 100 men who had been working on it had gone for their lunchbreak. The last of the injured men was discharged from Kuwait Hospital several months ago.

The car park, which was four months into construction, was designed to be nine storeys. It would have covered about 5,300 square metres and provided 1,681 parking spaces. The car park would have served one of Sharjah's most congested residential areas, and one sorely lacking in parking, a situation made worse by an increase in used-car dealerships. Since the collapse, the area remained fenced off and there were no plans to start building again, said Mr al Mualla.

"At present, the Abu Shagara project is frozen," he said. "We don't know when we shall resume working on it." However, other new car parks launched at the same time were moving ahead, he said. A multi-storey car park in al Majaz 2, with a capacity for 880 vehicles, was 85 per cent complete and another in al Majaz B, which will hold 1,011 vehicles, was 70 per cent finished, said Mr al Mualla. A car park at al Qassimia, which will accommodate 1,653 vehicles, was 87 per cent complete.

The car parks were included in building projects costing about Dh1 billion (US$272 million), said Mr al Mualla. They include the Dh100m new municipality headquarters, a Dh4m public health clinic in Hamriya, a Dh100m building waste recycling plant in Sajja, a Dh30m food market in Jubail and a Dh5m project to build accommodation for municipality workers in Industrial Area 3. On other matters, Mr al Mualla said that, as summer approached, the municipality was making regular inspections of food markets and restaurants, and would not hesitate to close any outlet that served unsafe items.

"Besides this, we have a strict financial fines that could go up to Dh1 million for violators and a final closure of the food outlet," he said. @Email:ykakande@thenational.ae