Saturday, September 6, 2014

Colombia: Attorney General's Office Charges Medellín High-Rise Guilty of Negligence

According to The Latin American Tribune, Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office said the builder of the Space residential high-rise complex, one of whose towers collapsed in the city of Medellín in October 2013, leaving twelve occupants dead, was guilty of negligence.

The AG’s office detailed the accusations in a report released Friday (September 5), saying the construction company, Lerida CDO, used “low-resistance” concrete, that calculation logs and structural plans were not reviewed and requisite technical supervision for the project was lacking.

Next week, the AG’s office will file manslaughter charges against the builder’s legal representative, Pablo Villegas Mesa; the project director, María Cecilia Posada Grisales; and structural engineer Jorge de Jesús Aristizabal Ochoa.

It also will file charges of willful misconduct against Carlos Alberto Ruíz, head of the Medellín office responsible for granting building construction or remodeling licenses.

COMMENT: For foreign companies renting commercial space in Colombia, I suggest that  they determine in advance as to the construction specifications used in all commercial and residential throughout the Amerícas as well as in South Florida.

The Space residential complex’s tower No. 6, a 26-story high-rise, collapsed on the night of October 12, 2013, hours after residents had been ordered to evacuate the building due to large cracks in the structure.

Most of those killed were construction workers trying to stabilize the building, although a security guard and a resident who had returned to the parking lot that night also were among the victims.

The collapse of tower No. 6 also caused structural damage to tower No. 5, which was demolished in February 2014.

Earlier this week, the Medellín mayor’s office said the other four towers of the residential complex, located in an upscale area of Colombia’s second city, will be demolished on September 23, due to structural damage.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.