Poor workmanship blamed for demolition of new library

The partially built Brakpan Library has been levelled. Contractors arrived on site about two weeks ago, to level the structure, which is situated at the Customer Care Centre, along Escombe Avenue.

It seems local bookworms will have to wait even longer before enjoying the facilities of a new library in Brakpan.

A year after construction was halted, the partially constructed building, at the Customer Care Centre along Escombe Avenue, has been demolished.

Contractors arrived on site about two weeks ago, to level the structure.

“Following structural assessments that were conducted last year November, the structural engineer recommended that the building be demolished,” said Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe.

“The health and safety of the public was a primary consideration in conducting the assessment since this is a public library.

“The structural assessment report found that the structure was not complying with National Building Regulations due to poor quality workmanship and material used.

“To safeguard the users of the facility, the structure was demolished in order to ascertain that the users would be safe during the service life of the structure once it is completed and operational.”

The action has infuriated residents, many of whom described it as a waste of money.

“Why were the metro’s building inspectors not involved?” asked one resident, who requested to remain anonymous.

“Surely that would have been the way to go, as, amongst them, there is considerable experience.

“But, the way I understand it, the work was carried out under the supervision of the clerk of works.

“Had he contacted the building inspectors to assist him, surely the outcome would have been totally different?

“What a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Read: Library’s demolition raises questions

Heather Watridge, who lives along Escombe Avenue, took to the Herald’s Facebook page to share her disgust at the situation.

“To our horror, on April 20, we saw that a bulldozer was breaking down the whole construction, which consisted of the total lower floor of the proposed building,” she wrote.

“The work done must have cost billions of Rand of our taxpayers’ money.

“Who is going to be held responsible for this total mismanagement of the project?

“Where were the building inspectors and others who oversaw the proceedings?

“I sincerely hope some heads are going to roll and that those involved will be prosecuted.

“Maybe the public protector/Hawks should investigate this terrible travesty of justice.

“What an absolute waste of money.”

Read: Library building has been destroyed

Construction of the library was halted in April last year due to non-performance of the contractors.

The new contractors were appointed on March 30 and Gadebe added that the new library is expected to be completed and handed over for public use by December.

Brakpan residents have been waiting several years for a new library.

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality made money available for a new library in Brakpan during the 2007/2008 budget.

The budget amounted to R4-million and residents were supposed to have been able to enjoy their new facility by 2010.

The money was intended to purchase new premises or to build a new one.

Also read: New library will go ahead

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