Many old buildings may face demolition

January 13, 2013 - 3:03:42 am

A dilapidated entrance of an accommodation in Doha which is occupied by low-income workers.

DOHA: The municipal ministry is to decide soon the fate of a large number of old and dilapidated buildings in some key areas of Doha and Al Rayyan, and it is likely that many of them will come under bulldozers.

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has a list of these buildings and an internal committee is studying which ones to spare for renovation and which ones are to be razed to the ground.

The Ministry says it is empowered by the law to demolish a building without seeking the consent of its owner if it is found endangering people’s lives.

What apparently worries the ministry is the fact that many of these buildings are occupied, mainly by expatriates, despite being uninhabitable due to their dilapidated condition. 

Only one of these ramshackle structures, a building located behind Bank Street, has been referred to the Museums Authority and there is a possibility it will be declared a heritage site.

If the Museums Authority decides to adopt the building as a historical site, it could carry out the necessary repairs and declare it a part of Qatari heritage.

The areas in which the old and dilapidated buildings are located include Najma, Umm Ghuwailina, Old Airport, Bin Mahmoud, Old Salata, Old Ghanem, Doha Jadeed, Al Asmakh, Freej Abdul Aziz, Bin Omran and New and Old Al Rayyan.

Interestingly, the owners of the buildings that are eventually earmarked for being razed would be required to pay a fee and share 25 percent of the cost of the demolition with the ministry.

The real estate registration of buildings whose owners refuse to pay the fee and share the cost of demolition would be scrapped. In other words, the owners would not be able to sell the property. Only one of the above-mentioned ramshackle buildings belongs to the government, it is understood.

The ministry is also mulling amending the law to make it mandatory for building owners to keep the passage between one building and another clean at all times.

The amendment would also make it illegal for building owners to use rooftops as storage areas and garbage dumps. They would be required to keep the rooftops clean and tidy at all times.

There is a likelihood that civic inspectors will be armed with judicial powers to carry out regular inspections of rooftops of buildings.