10.9 C
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

There is an urgent need to take measures to protect the building stock of our country

Must read

Επ&iota ;τακτικor η αναγκη λorψης μετρων για τη θωρακιση του κτηριακοψ αποθΕ&mu ;ατος της χoρας μας

The recent strong earthquake and the intense post-earthquake sequence in Turkey and Syria, which resulted in the death of thousands of our fellow citizens, demonstrate once again the need for immediate preventive measures that will contribute to the protection of our country's building stock against such phenomena.

Cyprus is also located in a seismic area and therefore the risk of loss of human life in the event of a strong seismic action is real.

The problems of our country's existing, aging and largely unmaintained building stock make this need even more urgent. The concern is mainly focused on old buildings, and especially those designed with no or less demanding anti-seismic provisions. It is worth noting that the first anti-seismic code in Cyprus was only adopted in 1994. At the same time, a large part of our building stock has been erected during periods of time when unsuitable building materials (e.g. unsuitable aggregates) were used or even before the institutionalization the mandatory supervision of construction works by a Responsible Engineer. In addition, the absence of systematic or regular maintenance of buildings, in fact, increases their structural vulnerability, while it is also the main component of the existence of a large number of dangerous and collapsing buildings in our country. This is also demonstrated by the increasing incidents of the collapse of parts of buildings, with a recent example of the collapse of balconies and cantilever in apartment buildings in Limassol.

It is a fact that the existing legislative tools are more fire-fighting than preventive and have been proven not to be effective to the extent they should be to solve the problem. It's also becoming clear that if we don't take immediate action to target the root of the problem, it will only get bigger.

There is, of course, a series of measures and regulations that can be implemented to protect the building stock of our country, which the ETEK has put in place for the state. Primarily, an effective legislative framework should be established to carry out regular inspections of buildings, which would require the issuance of a relevant certificate as a result of the primary visual or follow-up inspection. The implementation of such a regulation will ensure that the necessary measures are taken to repair any damage or damage to the buildings, in a timely manner, i.e. in a time when they have not made the building or part of it dangerous for tenants and passers-by. Additionally, it will contribute to reducing the structural vulnerability of buildings. ETEK has submitted a proposal to the state on the matter, and is making efforts for its immediate promotion and implementation.

Beyond the primary goal of the proposed regulation, that of protecting human life, its implementation will undoubtedly have other multiplier benefits for the citizen and society at large. Among other things, the establishment of procedures for carrying out regular inspections and pre-earthquake checks on buildings, will essentially contribute to the protection of our listed and historic buildings, protecting our cultural heritage from deterioration and destruction. At the same time, it will increase the lifespan of the buildings, creating the appropriate conditions for their energy upgrade.

ETEK, with a view to encouraging regular inspections of buildings, has prepared methodology and technical manuals for carrying out primary of visual inspections in buildings, which are posted on the website for free use, by the local Engineers.

In addition, the state has an obligation to immediately promote a set of measures and incentives that will encourage the structural upgrading of old buildings that have been designed without the application of an earthquake code, with a view to shielding our building stock in the event of a strong earthquake, with priority for public buildings of use. In the same context, incentives should be given to citizens to proceed with the simultaneous structural and energy upgrading of their buildings.

Particularly important for the protection of buildings is the proposal submitted by the Chamber to the state for the creation of an Electronic Building Identity Register. It is an extremely important tool, as its creation will enable the immediate and centralized identification of useful information for all the country's buildings. The creation of an Electronic Building Identity Register will bring significant benefits to both citizens and the state, since it will be possible to draw conclusions for the formulation of a national strategy for a number of key issues such as, for example, the drawing up of Subsidy Plans for building construction and energy upgrade of buildings based on existing needs. It is worth noting the example of Greece, where the registration of an Electronic Building Identity is now required, among other things, for all new buildings and when buying and selling real estate.

Lydia Minas

Civil Engineer,

Scientific Officer ETEK

Source: eurokerdos.cyprustimes.com

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

More articles

- Advertisement -AliExpress WW

Latest article