Remains of a building whose contractor faces a criminal complaint. Remains of a building whose contractor faces legal action.

Two builders face criminal complaints

Poor construction claimed in collapse of apartment buildings in Mexico City

Last week’s earthquake in central Mexico has raised questions over the quality of construction materials used in some new buildings and the enforcement of Mexico City’s building code.

It has also produced criminal complaints for homicide, property damage and personal injury against two firms whose buildings were among at least 38 that collapsed during the September 7 earthquake.

Authorities in the borough of Benito Juárez claim that Canada Building Systems de México and Dijon SAPI de CV used construction materials of poor quality in the two buildings that fell, in which three people died.

“We are not going to let this go unpunished,” said borough chief Christian von Roehrich, adding that support will be provided to the victims to ensure those responsible provide compensation.

One of the buildings that fell, located in the Portales neighborhood, was built by Mexico-based Canada Building Systems de México, one of whose selling points on its website is erecting earthquake-resistant housing.

The firm uses Canadian construction technologies and products, such as wood-frame construction.

Displaced residents of the apartment building now say they are unable to make contact with the company, which hired a lawyer to provide liaison with apartment owners. But they say attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.

Borough officials have conducted a technical assessment of the collapsed building, which found that the materials used were low quality and did not comply with quality control regulations.

Officials say that a more thorough structural analysis is to be carried out, and its results are to be available in a month’s time.

It has also been revealed that Canada Building Systems modified the project without adhering to conditions that had been established for its construction.

The borough has asked the city’s Urban Development Secretariat to investigate the persons responsible for monitoring both construction projects.

Source: El Universal (sp), Frontera (sp)

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