Risk-bearing constructions in Istanbul to be tackled
Gülistan Alagöz - ISTANBUL
The ministry’s move came after a four-story building tumbled down on April 22 in Istanbul’s Kağıthane district following the collapse of a retaining wall at an adjacent construction wall. No one was injured during the incident as authorities had previously ordered the evacuation of the nearby buildings adjacent to the construction area.
The ministry will thereby, with the help of the district municipalities, examine ongoing constructions throughout the city and see if any of the retaining walls at the construction sites constitute “a risk.”
Kağıthane is the first municipality that has taken action regarding the issue. The municipality has started to check all construction sites in the district and determine the “risky” ones. Following the relevant analysis, the retaining walls on these sites will be strengthened if necessary.
Construction sites also are being inspected in the Fikirtepe neighborhood in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, where one of the largest urban transformation projects in the city is ongoing. Officials have prepared reports that there were certain problems in the area as some of the construction projects were left half finished, leading to the risk of collapse of certain structures.
Authorities will ask contractors to pay any expenses due to interventions in their projects.
Also, the agreements of firms that leave construction projects unfinished will be cancelled unilaterally.
The president of the Chamber of Civil Engineers, Cemal Gökçe, said the collapse of any retaining wall stems from “neglect” of maintenance, emphasizing that more inspection by the public authorities is needed.
“An important issue here is their [retaining walls’] maintenance. A system should be established that will drain away the water behind the retaining wall and take it out. A retaining wall that is well designed would not collapse. The reason of the incidents we hear of is negligence, carelessness and lack of inspection,” Gökçe said.
“The land beneath retaining walls should not be drained away. Such as we cannot fly on our feet, retaining walls whose ground have been emptied cannot endure it and collapse,” he said.
In 2019 alone, more than 20 retaining walls on construction sites across Turkey have collapsed, including 10 in Istanbul.