[WATCH] A disaster foretold: Architect had warned contractor of concerns

The Guardamangia families that sustained serious damage to their property today had been complaining with the contractor after cracks appeared in their flats

Lucky escape: The wall started falling 'just like in a film'
Lucky escape: The wall started falling 'just like in a film'
Guardamangia house's wall torn out in construction fracas

Tiles had been cracking in the neighbouring properties long before today’s partial collapse of a party wall in Guardamangia occurred, a distraught resident said.

Visibly shocked by the incident that has left three families in anguish, the man told MaltaToday that he had been fearing the situation since demolition and excavation works started.

“I have been fearing this situation since they started. The house shook every time they started to dig,” he said, adding that cracks in the tiles had long been appearing.

The wall collapsed when the man was in his kitchen.

“The stones just started falling down, like in a film and then I could see outside,” he said.

“I had warned the contractor that there were pockets of soil close to the building's foundations but he always played down the danger, making it seem easy that the problem could be solved,” the man said.

Earlier last month, shortly after the first such incident occurred in Guardamangia when a whole block collapsed a short distance away, the family had taken its plight to TVM.

In a news report, the family was quoted as saying that it feared the same fate, indicating gaps in the stones and cracks in the wall.

An architect commissioned by the families to assess the damage to their property had warned the construction site owner that there were concerns over the excavation works. He had also indicated that excavation work should be carried out two feet away from the party wall.

Speaking to MaltaToday, the architect said there are emails showing there were concerns. “The owner was warned but he wouldn't listen. The resident had complained plenty of times before,” he said.