Penalties Proposed for Unfinished Buildings

Penalties Proposed for Unfinished BuildingsPenalties Proposed for Unfinished Buildings

Unfinished and abandoned buildings can create safety hazards for pedestrians as well as adjacent structures, says Mohammad Salari, head of the Architecture and Urban Planning Commission of the Tehran City Council (TCC).

“Abandoned and half-finished buildings are problematic in several ways. They indicate neighborhood blight and can increase crime in the area. Further, uncovered excavations and abandoned pits can increase the risk of pedestrian and vehicular accidents,” the Persian- language newspaper ‘Donya-e-Eqtesad’ quoted him as saying.

He pointed to building regulations that fail to estimate the actual losses due to the suspension of construction activity “as they have not considered the risk posed by unfinished constructions to people and property.”

New legislation has been approved recently by the TCC to supplement Article 50 of the value added tax (VAT) law, and Article 55 of the municipal law, in order to reduce the loss and damage caused by construction activity on the environment, and to improve urban landscapes, pedestrian safety and prevention of hazards.

Accordingly, from October builders whose construction permits have expired and their buildings are incomplete must pay an amount equivalent to 2% of the property value, to the Tehran Municipality (TM) every month, in accordance with the formula devised by the TCC.

The amount will increase by 10% after the initial two years.  He also said that the TM should warn all building contractors whose construction permits were issued before the year 2000 that they have a one-year deadline for completion of the constructions.

Masoumeh Abad, spokesperson of the TCC Health and Environment Commission said, “At present, 1,023 buildings in the capital are left unfinished and many of them are decrepit.”

If contractors had completed the projects on time, by now the buildings would have reached their shelf life and been demolished.

 Social Crimes

According to her, 30% of all social crimes occur in unfinished buildings. “Construction of most of these buildings has been suspended due to fines and financial problems.”

However, there are critics who argue that the two-year deadline for completion of high-rise buildings is not proper. Ahmad Donyamali, head of TCC’s civil and transport commission says that huge amounts of money are required for completion of big construction projects and the two-year deadline is inadequate.”

The validity of the construction permits should be increased from the current two years to three years. After three years, cash penalties on violators can be imposed, he says.

Most of the unfinished structures are in central and northern parts of the capital.Councilors’ also decided to give a list of abandoned structures to the Judiciary so that courts could decide what measures should be taken to address the problem.