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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



House collapses in central Belgrade: Is building business corruption paradise?

July 20, 2021

The collapse of a building in the Belgrade central Vracar district last week, fortunately, claimed no casualty but raised many questions about constructing new residential objects in Serbia's capital.

On Tuesday, the collapse continued, just as one of the famous architects Dragoljub Bakic told N1 over the weekend: „A house that has eroded like that will collapse. There is no life there anymore. We can talk about how to help the tenants, but the environment in this City is endangered.“

The first apartment on the ground floor collapsed just as a tenant left it. The City Construction Inspection said that „most likely“, the house’s stability was endangered by the construction of the building next to it.

The City Authorities said that all those responsible for the collapse of the building in Vracar would be held criminally responsible and that the City would request an urgent amendment to the Law on Planning and Construction.

Late on Tuesday, a construction inspector said he filed criminal charges against those responsible for the collapse of the building.

Belgrade, and particularly the Vracar district, has been for years a golden goose for investors who are by default said to have direct or indirect links to someone close to whoever rules the City and the country.

Many see a „hysterical building“ in the smallest city district already overcrowded as the best way for money laundering and a corruption paradise. The question is who, and how, gets all necessary permits; who and how controls the works, and who is responsible for damages caused by an irresponsible quest for increasingly expensive square meters?

The truth is that almost every new apartment is sold even before the building is finished, and that undoubtedly motivates the investors.

But the mystery is how is it possible in the country with an average monthly wage of just above 500 euros, there are so many people who can afford apartments in new buildings at good addresses whose prices go from 3-10,000 euros per square meter?

And the real estate agencies say that the majority are paid for in cash.

Bakic said that „there is no more obvious corruption than between the local authorities and investors. Everything is for sale, and everything can be bought. The only thing that can stand in the way is the profession, which is indecently, inadmissibly silent.“

He added that „it is not the first time old buildings are demolished in Vracar, and ten-storey buildings built instead. Today, our construction business has become the most profitable, Bakic told N1.

He said that „every control is lost. After this, every construction site overseen by that inspection should be combed. Who are the investors, who are building, who are bricklayers, who are the heads of the construction site, who are the supervised engineers,“ he asked, adding, „it’s a professional prostitution at work“.

He believes the house in Vracar „probably collapsed because of the garages“.

„So many unsecured holes, in my opinion, mean the new building should have fewer floors. But more were added, and since the investors must build garages to provide a parking space for every apartment, they had to dig deeper, and the question is whether there was a project to secure the foundation pit,“ Bakic said.

„It’s the wild west here. After this accident, one should look at all construction sites, in every street where the cranes are seen.“

„They (the authorities) brag about issuing permits for two million square meters a year, instead of being ashamed of it,“ he said, adding that „it is not experts and the professionals who decide, but politicians.“

„We have no state,“ Bakic said.

The tenants from the collapsed building, who were temporarily moved to a hotel, told the nova.rs website they had warned the investor about the danger for their building foundation, but he ignored that.

After the first apartment collapsed, a tenant said, the works continued for some time

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/house-collapse-in-central-belgrade-is-building-business-corruption-paradise/

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