Most of the high-rise buildings in Barisal city were constructed without any fire safety management in violation of building construction and civil defence codes, and they night turn into death traps like Rana Plaza, according to Barisal City Corporation (BCC) officials.
“Thirty percent of the high-rises are under severe threat of accident as they were not constructed following building construction codes,” executive engineer of BCC Motaleb Hossain claimed.
Following the Rana Plaza collapse, BCC formed a five-member team, which has already started drives to detect vulnerable buildings in the city.
The team was formed on April 29 and its latest findings are not reassuring.
To date, 37 buildings that are considered vulnerable have already been identified and concerned departments have been ordered to issue final notice in this regard.
The team has found at least four buildings on Alekanda road, Forester road, Dinobondhu Sen road and N Hosen Road of the city tilted towards another one.
Fatima Khanam of Alekanda Road and Md Selim of Forester Bari area made the same point, that despite several complaints, adjacent buildings have tilted towards their buildings the BCC authorities have not taken any action until now.
BCC officials claimed that they have issued notices to the owners of the vulnerable buildings, but the owners challenged the notices in courts.
Meanwhile, Abual Masud Mamun, Chief Assessor of Barisal City Corporation, said: “Slack enforcement of existing laws and lack of public awareness make a huge number of multi-storied buildings in the city vulnerable.”
Executive engineer Motaleb Hossainstated that the soil strength of the city was not suitable to construct buildings over six-stories with deep pilings. About 92% of soil test reports said the hard layer of the soil was less than what would be required for taller buildings, and suitable only for the construction of three storied buildings, he added.
Although most building owners have taken BCC approval for their designs and construction plans since 2000, they did not properly follow that the approved plans at the time of construction, Motaleb Hossain alleged.
“The BCC was not even informed about the buildings which were constructed before 2000,” he added.
Among the vulnerable buildings of Barisal city, those of Rabindra Nath Sen at East Bagura road, Monu Mia at Mainul Hasan road, Mannan Mridha at Hospital Road, Jalal Mansion at Kalu Shah Road, Hotel Bahadur at Fazlul Haque Avenue, Mansur Bhaban at Circular road, Siraz Mahal at Kawnia Road, Syed Manjil at Ishwar Boshu Road, Shaheed Alamgir hostel of Govt. Hatem Ali College, Khanika Bhaban of Medical Collage Lane and Surendra Bhaban hostel of Govt. BM College at Hospital Road are on the BCC list.