Old Jeddah buildings await bulldozers in smart city drive

Old Jeddah buildings await 
bulldozers in smart city drive
Updated 21 October 2016

Old Jeddah buildings await bulldozers in smart city drive

Old Jeddah buildings await 
bulldozers in smart city drive

JEDDAH: There are thousands of ramshackle buildings across Jeddah, most of them concentrated in old and popular neighborhoods, and the Jeddah Municipality is working on and adopting a development plan to demolish these old buildings to turn Jeddah into a smart city.
Sami bin Saleh Nawar, head of the historical Jeddah Municipality, told Arab News that the municipality adopted development plans for the district in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, to include Kingdom on the list of international developed countries on the world map.
According to the municipality’s media center, the municipality deals with ramshackle buildings in accordance with a set mechanism, which involves previewing buildings with signs of damage by a consultant at the municipality. Often the initial recommendation calls for evacuating the building and cutting off electricity, if needed, based on the threat perception.
The municipality has worked on protecting buildings on the verge of collapse by putting in place concrete slabs to prevent people entering the buildings and removing tenants. If it sees further violations, the municipality levies heavy fines on the owner. The municipality has also worked on halting further deterioration of buildings by engaging in partial restoration.
The necessary engineering reports are finalized and the results forwarded to specialized committees, including the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, to adopt the recommendations. Accordingly, the owner of the building is then required to put the recommendations of the committee into effect.
Committee officials take tours of the districts to keep an eye on such buildings as the municipality is keen to develop the districts of Jeddah according to international standards.
Nawar said that in the district of Balad, there are almost 1,886 old buildings. Fourteen of the buildings have been propped up out of a total of 30 of the most dangerously poised buildings. A work plan is ongoing to do the same for other buildings, and that 700 buildings are protected. He said 616 buildings are historical, including 52 which are on the verge of collapse, and 38 have been partially deconstructed.
Nawar also said that the municipality, according to Jeddah's development plans, is buying such old buildings and demolishing them, creating new blocks aligned with roads in Jeddah’s old districts according to international standards.
The municipality adopted development plans for Ruwais and Nuzha districts to develop these old areas with wide lanes and new buildings after removing old ones.
The Kingdom has been working over the past 20 years on the development of Saudi cities, in addition to the development of management and planning mechanisms to give a greater role to cities in the decision-making process in successive five-year plans.
Consultants at the municipality are carrying out necessary tests to determine the safety level of buildings and necessary measures will be taken in light of the findings.