AMMAN — Authorities demolished 12 abandoned buildings in the capital this year because they were public safety hazards, an official said on Thursday.

The houses were crumbling and uninhabited for a long time, thus posing threats to people and adjacent buildings, Mutaz Zaghlawan, head of the technical control office at the Greater Amman Municipality’s (GAM) construction monitoring department, told The Jordan Times.

“The abandoned houses, some of which GAM appropriated, were demolished because they could have collapsed at anytime. They were also becoming health and environment hotspots,” Zaghlawan explained.

“We are currently demolishing the 13th abandoned building,” he noted, adding that GAM carries out regular inspection tours to identify derelict houses.

“Not every abandoned house is demolished. The condition of each building is studied thoroughly before any decision is taken,” the GAM official underscored.

A technical committee headed by the district governor and comprising members from GAM’s construction monitoring department, the Jordan Engineers Association, the Jordan Contractors Association and the Royal Scientific Society evaluates each structure and decides whether it poses a public safety threat and should be razed.

Some unoccupied houses are structurally sound but cause concerns for neighbours because they become locations for troublemakers, Zaghlawan said.

“Such buildings are cleaned up, and their entrances and exits are sealed to prevent people from getting inside,” he noted.

Meanwhile, some houses that are very old and constitute part of the capital’s heritage are conserved, but if they are on the verge of collapse they are torn down to avoid accidents.

Zaghlawan urged the public to visit GAM offices to report any abandoned buildings.