The Cyprus Housing Association have had a reportedly increasing amount of appointments to carry out structural surveys of buildings under/recent construction mainly houses and this is the result of shoddy work in a number of projects/buildings. Defects to the structure refer to the assembly of the building, that if left to deteriorate will cause long-term structural damage, leaving serious safety problems for future owners.
The building boom in Cyprus left demand exceeding supply and unskilled labour forces were enlisted to cover the demand. This has created a state of affairs whereby the building quality leaving some areas with much to be desired, especially in the Paphos region where quick construction was particularly rampant. The structural stability is specifically susceptible on buildings which are constructed on slopes, on land which has improper earth fill which can lead to extensive damp in the property.
The majority of buildings in Cyprus are built on a reinforced concrete structure, which permits the structure to act as one unit, therefore accommodating minor settlements and weakness in some parts of the building. Structural stability is of special importance in Cyprus, as the island is prone to having minor earthquakes. Therefore, all Cyprus buildings are built according to strict regulations designed to alleviate tremor damage.
As long as basic care is taken, the condition of a newly erected houses and buildings should be Ok as all buildings are finalised as per EU legislation. If for any reason you suspect that something is wrong, get in touch with an independent civil engineer to carry out initially an eye inspection-structural survey. Under Cyprus law, the developer might be liable for the structural condition of a building for a long time but repairs and maintenance are usually covered for a period of up to 12 months after the building’s completion.
A minor inspection/structural survey costs about €750 per house anywhere you suspect a problem and could ask the developer to extend the guarantee for a 2 year period after any damage has been repaired with the execution of the remedial work in order to verify that the measures undertaken are effective.
Normally, requests are requested for minor problems with:
- The movement of swimming pools.
- Staircase erection.
- Broken external tiles.
- Tilting of the entire building.
- Damp as a result of burst pipes which crack as a result of floor movement etc.
For properties with more serious problems, we would recommend making a more detailed investigation which could involve the examination of strength of the concrete, examination of the structural drawings and even an x-ray of structural members to determine whether effective reinforcement has been achieved.
Most of the structural problems faced by Cyprus residents with are minor and can easily be corrected however some serious cases are also found. For this reason and considering the total cost of purchasing a property, it is a good idea for the buyer to carry out the appropriate due diligence checks regarding the proof of the building being structurally sound.