The Guyana Fire Service is recommending that the First Federation building which is located on Croal Street be immediately repaired to meet building standards or torn down all together.
The Fire Service has deemed the building a derelict one and during a recent inspection found several problems with the structure. According to a release from the fire service, the building which houses a number of offices for lawyers and other professionals was inspected in September and the inspections revealed a number of hazardous conditions.
The investigation found that the concrete and timber structure is in a state of disrepair and has deteriorated to such a state that the timber materials have rotted and the concrete materials have lost their construction integrity and can no longer carry out their engineering and fire-resisting purposes. Additionally, the investigative team revealed that persons were carrying out their trade in an unsafe environment that should be seen as a threat to their lives.
The Fire Service investigation also revealed that the electrical wiring throughout the building was found loose and hanging, along with electrical points and outlets that were not properly insulated.
“Additionally, it was observed that numerous illegal and temporary electrical wiring with unsafe connections used to provide electricity from a Portable Generator positioned near the main entrance. Further, there is no legal connection by the Service Provider (GPL)”, the report stated.
A large quantity of garbage, unwanted and un-serviceable materials were found throughout the building on the various floors, corridors, within the ceiling and the vacant offices/rooms.
The Fire Service wants all occupancy of the building to be ceased immediately. “The building must be renovated and/or reconstructed to meet the minimum building construction standards and safety requirements. The building must be dismantled immediately and its materials be disposed of in a safe manner”, the Fire Service recommended.
There have been a number of efforts to get the tenants of the building to vacate the premises. The Guyana Power and Light Company recently disconnected electricity supply to the building after it carried out its own investigation into its structure and safety.
The Government has started proceedings to retake full control of the building claiming that many of the tenants have not paid any rent for decades and the building is no longer safe for occupancy and ought to be torn down. There are reports that the administration may also be looking to place the building on the auction block.
Some lawyers who have offices in the building have moved to the courts to block their removal.