DAMAC flooding fiasco provokes tenants’ fury

Developer appoints consultant to probe pipe burst on the 21st floor of Marina Terrace

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By  Sean Cronin Published  May 20, 2006

DAMAC’s Marina Terrace tower has been hit by a second major pipe burst, which caused panic among residents as fire alarms were triggered and water cascaded down the building’s stairwell. It comes less than three weeks after Construction Week revealed a catalogue of construction problems on the developer’s first tower in Dubai — still in ‘snagging’ 14 months after it was due to be completed. And it is less than four weeks after another pipe burst set off fire alarms in the middle of the night. Several apartments received water damage between the ground floor and the 21st floor — where the pressurised mains pipe that supplies the building’s fire sprinkler system, ruptured. Furious residents are demanding that DAMAC compensate them for water damage caused to their apartments. One said: “I was unaffected by last night’s catastrophe, but I am extremely sorry for all residents below the 21st floor who I understand have substantial damage from the major water leak last night. “This is totally unacceptable in a new building.” Another resident said: “It is unacceptable and disgraceful the way things are being handled around here. “Our other unit was severely damaged along with the others; the preliminary estimate is in the thousands, and this is not what we signed up for. “Coincidently, our unit had a pipe burst in February and was completely flooded.” Now DAMAC has commissioned a consultant to investigate why two mains pipes have burst in the building within the space of weeks. Alan Gammon, vice president of customer care and facilities management at DAMAC, said in a memo to residents: “Please be assured that this matter is being thoroughly investigated by both the on-site team and independent consultants. We will of course be advising our residents of the outcome of the report and any remedial action that may be required.” Marina Terrace contractor Al Habtoor Engineering declined to comment on the incident, but an insider blamed the burst on a gasket failure. He said: “The problem was that it took them one and a half hours to shut the water off.” DAMAC chief executive, Peter Riddoch, said in a statement: “This was an isolated matter and an independent report will be made after investigating the cause. All residents will have to take up damage claims (if any) with their individual insurance firms.”

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