Collapsed Karachi building was illegal, only first floor approved in 1987 plan

Suleman Saadat
Zeeshan Shah

KARACHI: A six-storey building in the metropolis' Ranchore Lane area that collapsed suddenly on Monday was reportedly illegal as only its first floor had been approved in the original 1987 architectural plan.

The building, which was constructed 12 years ago and housed 25 flats as well as a couple of warehouses, was evacuated by the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) in the wee hours of the morning, so no loss of life was reported. It had started to lean sideways before crumbling to dust.

The utility connections to it had already been disconnected by the authorities.

According to the building's residents, cracks in its pillars and foundation had appeared earlier and there were creaks and noises around the time of Fajr prayers. They were aware of risk, they said.

Back in 1987, the original plan of a ground-plus-one floor structure near Timber Market in Ranchore Lane's Soomra Gali had been passed but the top five storeys, as well as the penthouse were illegal. The substandard construction and chasing higher profits left more than 24 families homeless, with residents managing to save only a small number of household items.

Officials present at the site opined that substandard material was used in the construction, which led to the building's decrepit state and eventual collapse. The building, which was constructed 12 years ago, had also experienced a fire in the past, as per its residents, and repair work had been done prior to that.

Sources informed Geo News that a completion plan and no-objection certificate (NOC) is usually provided after the building is constructed legally.

Sindh CM takes notice

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and summoned a report from relevant officials, including Commissioner Karachi and the SBCA.

The director-general of the SBCA, Zafar Ahsan, confirmed that a three-member investigative committee had been set up to probe the matter. The team would also conduct a survey of the downed building as well as those in its surroundings.