Licensing process should tighten

As the investigation into the Jordan Gate building collapse continues, it has emerged that the development had not been licensed by municipal authorities. Four workers were killed and 15 others injured, when a balcony that was under construction gave way earlier this month

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 30, 2006

|~||~||~|As the investigation into the Jordan Gate building collapse continues, it has emerged that the development had not been licensed by municipal authorities.

Four workers were killed and 15 others injured, when a balcony that was under construction gave way earlier this month.

The practice of starting construction ahead of the necessary consents and permits being issued, is not something that just happens in Jordan.

Neither is it unusual for people to move into newly built apartments, without knowing that the building they are living in may not have been given a final occupation certificate.

This is commonplace, and the only reason it has been flagged up on this particular occasion is that four workers have lost their lives.

The reason contractors and developers get themselves into situations like this one, comes back to the unrealistic timetables within which projects are being procured across the Gulf – and this is particularly true of the residential tower market where investors have paid deposits and expect to move into their properties on a specific date.

There are obvious insurance and legal implications for the Jordan Gate project arising from this tragedy, and it should serve as a warning to the promoters of other projects in the region that may already be under construction without the necessary consents in place.

Municipal authorities also have a responsibility to ensure that the application process is efficient and does not become so much of a rigmarole that developers feel the need to start on site ahead of a license being issued.

And the system also needs to be properly policed – otherwise the impression created is that developers across the region can get away with ignoring the rules.

The sheer volume of construction underway around the Middle East makes it difficult for any local authority to keep tabs on every new project that breaks ground, but clearly the licensing of large-scale construction projects is a process that needs to be taken more seriously than it is at present.||**||

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