Centaurus Mall violated building design, says CDA report

Internal audit recommends inquiry against civic agency for allowing construction firm to violate building codes


Shahzad Anwar August 22, 2016
In March 2014, an audit team had also pointed out the irregularity but the CDA swept the audit recommendation under the carpet and no action was taken against the officials responsible. PHOTO: THECENTAURUS.COM

ISLAMABAD: After a gross violation was found in the approved design of the Centaurus Mall, an internal audit of the civic agency has recommended an inquiry against the officials for their oversight and negligence.

The audit report points out several violations by the architect and the construction firm of the Centaurus Mall.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the Centaurus Shopping Mall in Sector F-8 — one of Islamabad’s top attractions — not only violated the approved building plan but also occupied the building without getting formal approval from the CDA.

According to the internal audit, the CDA’s Building Control Directorate had approved 748 feet height for the mall without getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

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Later, when the CAA objected to the height and issued the NOC for 500 feet for the hotel tower, and 417 feet for other blocks/apartments of the mall, and the CDA furnished the approved plan to the Pak Gulf Pvt (Ltd) — the architect and the construction firm — which by then had started construction on the building, it stopped payment of Rs2.115 billion to the civic agency for the height restriction.

Interestingly, according to the documents, the architectural plan submitted by the designer was approved by the CDA Building Control Directorate in June 2006 even before the formulation of by-laws and zoning regulations for such special projects or high-rise buildings by the civic agency’s planning wing.

The documents say that the construction firm carried out unauthorised construction on the mall in violation of the approved design, while the CDA’s monitoring team failed to notice the violations.

A building inspector is responsible for checking and monitoring building activities in his respective area through regular patrolling, carrying out an initial survey of the building plans submitted for approval to the CDA by checking sites and preparing an initial report related to approval of the building plan and issuance of a completion certificate.

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He is fully responsible for identifying violations in his designated area and reporting to an assistant director regarding nature and the extent of violation with recommendations for issuance of notices and fines.

The documents noted that Centaurus Mall’s management failed to follow the building plan approved in January 2008 by the CDA Building Control Department.

The documents highlight that 32 storeys were constructed in respect of Block A and B against the approved 30 storeys, while in Block-C, 30 storeys were constructed against the approved 29 storeys.

In March 2014, an audit team had also pointed out the irregularity but the CDA swept the audit recommendation under the carpet and no action was taken against the officials responsible.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd,  2016.

COMMENTS (9)

numbersnumbers | 5 years ago | Reply @Hamza Ahmed: Wow, "hundred thousands of buildings which are 20-30x taller than this" in Newyork!!! NOT!
Qasim Khan | 5 years ago | Reply Pindi boys will have the last laugh it appears.
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