Dubai: Poor construction in some residential buildings located in the Green Community has led to ceilings collapsing in several apartments over the last three years, with the most recent incident taking place on August 16.
Residents discussing the ongoing issue on social media pointed out the ceiling’s poor installation of heavy tiles on thin metal strips, and weak supporting panels. Similar incidents have been experienced by at least five different residents living in the community over the last few years.
Gulf News talked to O.K, resident at the Southwest apartments in the Green Community whose kitchen ceiling collapsed just a few minutes after her two-year-old daughter and nanny left with plates of snacks.
“At around 3pm on August 16, with no warning signs, there was a big bang and almost three rows of tiles collapsed on to the kitchen counter, damaging the oven, juicer, and coffee maker,” said O.K., who has lived in the apartment for three years.
Inspecting the damage with the landlord, O.K. said the cause of the collapse was the weight of the plaster tiles, which were being supported on the ceiling by thin metal strips and small screws. “The metal strips and support panels were made for cardboard ceilings and not heavy tiles. There was definitely a misjudgement at the time of construction,” said O.K.
The resident said the landlord confirmed that the apartment was “inhabitable” after inspecting the damage, adding that it needs to be renovated as soon as possible.
While nobody was hurt in the incident, the expat family faced extensive damages in their kitchen that they will not be compensated for.
Gulf News talked to the Green Community management, who said they were unaware of the incident and have not been approached by any residents about cases involving a collapsing ceiling since 2013.
“According to the Green Community Management records, this complaint refers to the collapse of a ‘false ceiling’ in an apartment that was sold in 2013. In this regard, we have not received any previous complaint and this is the first incident that comes to the knowledge of the Green Community Management,” said a spokesperson.
The management also highlighted that they are only responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the common areas within the community. They confirmed that in such a case, the responsibility falls on the property owner.
“Before handing over, all the units are inspected and commissioned and they have a one-year defect liability towards the contractor, where the contractor is responsible for any maintenance or defect issues that might arise,” said the spokesperson.
He added: “Upon the completion of one year, another inspection is held to ensure that the entire unit is in good working condition and then the responsibility is transferred to the lessee [owner]. So, any work executed inside the unit, including maintenance, is the responsibility of the lessee [owner], and it’s their duty to ensure that the unit is safe and in a workable condition.”
Twice in two years
A similar case was also reported to the community’s facilities management ‘ServeU’ in July 2016.
A British resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said she has seen her kitchen ceiling collapse twice in two years.
The first incident took place in 2014, a year after she moved into the Southwest apartments.
“Around 30 seconds after I left the kitchen, I heard a massive crash just over the cooker where I was standing,” she said.
She explained that the tiles, which she described as “heavy, plaster board material”, fell off the supporting boards and crashed on to the cooker and kitchen floor.
“The supporting beams are not strong enough to support the ceiling tiles, which is why the same thing happened two years later in the same spot,” she said.
After noticing that the kitchen ceiling was staring to bow, the resident reached out to ServeU for assistance. “Once the engineer touched the ceiling tiles, they all collapsed,” she said.
Gulf News talked to the facilities manager at ServeU who said they have received complaints about collapsing ceiling tiles, and have fixed the problem in several apartments at an extra charge. “We fixed the ceiling tiles by adding support and replacing the tiles with new ones. The cause could be that initially the tiles weren’t placed correctly,” he said.