Third of 20 mln homes risk to be demolished

Third of 20 mln homes risk to be demolished

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Third of 20 mln homes risk to be demolished

The ministry says 6.5 million risky houses out of 20 million residential dwellings around Turkey need to be examined. Dangerous buildings that are 15 stories and higher will be demolished using dynamite. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Up to 6.5 million dwellings across Turkey could be demolished if they are deemed to be dangerous following an examination by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry. A new regulation will call for the demolition of dangerous buildings; buildings 15 stories and above will be demolished by dynamite, while those below this figure will be destroyed using other methods.

Seventy Turkish firms have already applied for the demolition tender, the ministry said, adding that foreign companies will be allowed to bid as joint ventures with Turkish firms because domestic companies do not posses the expertise needed to complete demolitions using explosives.

“Dynamite demolition is one of the six techniques that can be used in Turkey for building demolitions. From our observation it is understood that there is not enough practical experience [with this kind of demolition] in Turkey. The use of explosives for excavation, mining, and tunnel construction is common, but there is hardly any experience with building demolitions,” a ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Turkey has little experience with explosive demolition, which can be dangerous if miscalculations occur.”

The ministry will open the tender to foreign companies after about 70 Turkish companies applied for the job failed to have a suitable amount of experience.

“We are researching how the demolition system is being conducted with modern, technological machines. This system will improve itself in time,” Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar was quoted as saying in the statement yesterday.

Methods used

Some have questioned the ministry’s decision to use dynamite for demolition purposes, claiming the risks outweigh the benefits and that Turkey does not have sufficient knowledge or practical skill in the area.

Head of the Chamber of Civil Engineers’ Istanbul branch Cemal Gökçe has said Turkey was not ready to use dynamite demolition due to a lack of know-how and trained engineers specialized in the practice.
“Demolition operations need good calculations. The potential damage to the environment and aftershocks could be very dangerous if the necessary measures are not taken because the urban transformation areas are not outside of [heavily populated] cities,” Gökçe told the Daily News in a telephone interview.

The scientific study of demolition is not very advanced in Turkey, Gökçe said. While the ministry is trying to accelerate its urban transformation efforts using dynamite demolition could turn out to be a dangerous mistake, he said, adding that Turkey’s urban transformation plans were based on altering old sections of cities, such as the historic Fatih district in Istanbul.

“They cannot use explosives in central Istanbul. That would be extremely dangerous,” Gökçe said, adding that the demolition of 6.5 million houses was unrealistic.

Appropriate training

The ministry has agreed with critics concerns and admitted that although many firms applied for the demolition tender their experience has been deemed insufficient. However, the ministry has claimed demolition by explosive is a safe option if carried out by companies with the appropriate training.
“As experience and knowledge on the matter increase, explosive demolition could be used in inner cities,” the ministry said. 

The demolition works are slated to last for 20 years, the ministry said.

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