Czech police have launched a criminal investigation into the worst building collapse in the country’s capital for 40 years.
The bodies of four workers have been recovered from the ruins of the three-storey building in Prague’s New Town. The building was under construction on Soukenická, in an area of the city which has seen rapid redevelopment in recent years, when the top floor gave way and smashed through the building below just before 1pm on October 2.
If negligence in construction oversight is proved, the maximum sentence available to the court is 10 years imprisonment. The firm responsible for the redevelopment is Sting Construction.
There have been concerns raised that some construction companies allow buildings to deteriorate as reconstruction rather than restoration is often easier and more cost-effective, especially in Prague’s historic centre.
“It is a common policy of developers to opt for reconstruction, deliberately leaving the building to deteriorate so they can totally reconstruct it without keeping the original historic parts of the building,” which are more costly to restore, Josef Štulc, head of restoration on architecture at the National Institute for Historical Monuments told The Prague Post.
Prague last saw a deadly collapse on this scale in 1965 when four people died and another five were injured in Prague 4-Pankrác in December 1965.