Failures in the quality and standard of inspections carried out on Algarve buildings could put thousands of people at risk in the event of a major earthquake, according to a construction expert. The director of the Civil Engineering department of the Algarve University, Carlos Martins, says that the quality of building construction in the Algarve is more similar to that of Bam in Iran, the scene of a recent devastating quake, than it is to California, another renowned quake zone. And, according to Martins, the poor building quality is down to inadequate inspections. “At the moment, it’s sufficient for architects to declare that they are abiding by building regulations. The câmara then assigns a technician to the project. But the câmaras aren’t going to check if they are being complied with or not,” claims Martins. He added that he believed that câmaras ought to have independent supervisors.
Macário Correia, president of the Association of Algarve Câmaras, has rejected the accusations and maintains that the câmaras are best placed to evaluate the safety of building projects. “To say that the authorities approve building projects that do not comply with safety requirements is the same as calling us incompetent, corrupt and criminal,” he said. “Anyone who makes accusations of this nature must confine themselves to the facts and prove what they are saying through concrete examples, because it makes it appear as if the câmaras want buildings to fall down,” he added.