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Probe begins into overloaded Abu Dhabi courtyard that collapsed

Some of the evacuated tenants could face Dh1,000 bill for damaged cars

Image Credit: Courtesy: Al Khaleej
The courtyard that collapsed into a residential car park inAbu Dhabi was overloaded, says an official.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The load of a courtyard that collapsed into a residential car park in Abu Dhabi was too heavy, Gulf News has learnt.

Hundreds of tenants were evacuated from the building after the collapse on Sunday.

The incident is now being investigated by a specialised team set up by the Abu Dhabi Attorney General, Yousuf Saeed Al Ibri.

An engineer working with the committee told Gulf News the load on the courtyard was greater than the proper levels.

“The courtyard was built to withstand only 1.5 tonnes. Yet we found that it was carrying 3.5 tonnes,” he said.

The engineer has also told Gulf News initial estimates predict vehicle damage costing about Dh200,000.

The courtyard was part of Al Rayyana residential complex in Khalifa City A, comprising of 33 medium to high-rise buildings.

After the collapse on Sunday, many residents of the buildings nearest to the damaged courtyard were moved to alternative accommodation.

Speaking to Gulf News, a tenant who is employed as a teacher by the Abu Dhabi Education Council, said there were always worries about the quality of Al Rayyana.

“I moved into a brand new building when I came to Abu Dhabi in August. Yet, the bathroom drains were clogged with concrete, getting hot water was a problem and many of us faced issues with our light fixtures and electrical connections in general. So, when we are finally provided alternative accommodation elsewhere, what guarantee do we have that something like this won’t happen again.”

Nearly 194 teachers and Adec staff members were some of the tenants who had to evacuate their homes on the night of the collapse. The Adec has currently put them up at the Yas Viceroy Hotel in the capital.

Another said: “I, like many of my colleagues, had just settled in and begun feeling at home. Now we have to move again. Since the incident damaged some plumbing lines, we know that many of the apartments have also been flooded, damaging our belongings and electrical equipment,” the teacher explained.

Another teacher said she was still frustrated that something like this could occur, especially as the courtyard had to be used to access building entrances.

“There was a lot of construction still going on in Al Rayyana. Landscaping works on the courtyard only began about two weeks ago. Small fountains had also been filled with water just a few days before the incident,” the teacher said.

Adding to their worries of temporarily living in a hotel without all their belongings, some of the tenants will also have to pay up to Dh1,000 for cars that were damaged when the courtyard caved in.

Meanwhile, Gulf News has learnt that the majority of the cars affected by the collapse had been rented from United Car Rentals by Adec staff.

“If a client rented a car with complete insurance coverage, the costs of repair will be paid by our insurance company. However, the few Adec staff who rented with only third party insurance will have to pay us a deductible of a maximum of Dh1,000,” said Hussam Abu Amer, Abu Dhabi branch manager at the rental company.

“We are still waiting for the police report required by our insurance company. In the meantime, we have provided replacement cars to the eight people who have reported that their vehicles had been affected,” Abu Amer added.