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Purchasing Land for Building

Sir, I am prompted to write after reading Mr Loizou’s recent article about purchasing in Cyprus. Whilst it is always recommended that prior to the purchase of a house, the building should have a full structural survey done to ensure there are no defects; the same advice never seems to be given when the purchase […]

Sir,

I am prompted to write after reading Mr Loizou’s recent article about purchasing in Cyprus.

Whilst it is always recommended that prior to the purchase of a house, the building should have a full structural survey done to ensure there are no defects; the same advice never seems to be given when the purchase of land is for building purposes.

Given that several areas in the Paphos district have been identified and mapped as bentonite and mamonia landslides, unsuitable for building, it is obviously just as essential to have an engineering geological survey of the building plot done prior to payment of any money to the owner or developer. This is particularly important in Cyprus, as there appears to be no legal obligation on the seller/builder/ developer to check on the suitability of land for building, and building permits are obviously granted without consideration of the suitability of the subsoil. For example, houses were built at Pissouri on a known geological fault and they had to be abandoned very shortly after occupancy. In Polis and Paphos there are examples of houses where the external walls are parting caused by the movement of the subsoil. There are problems with drainage and sewage, caused by building on non-permeable soil, and on land where the water table is too high. Construction on landfill sites and in river gullies which flood, are other examples.

Detailed geological survey maps written in English can be bought for a very small change from the Cyprus Geological Department in Nicosia. The maps show the soil composition, fault lines, landslides, springs/wells, rivers and roads.

Taking the precaution of checking the map will show if your intended purchase is in an area of risk. An independent land survey can then be completed and a report produced giving an opinion on the suitability of the plot for building. This could save buyers a lot of money and heartache in the future.

Allan Delaney,
Paphos

Copyright © Cyprus Weekly 2006

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