Bahrain high-rises face windows clamp
Manama, April 5, 2008
Landlords of high-rise buildings in the Central Governorate in Bahrain will be forced to install opaque windows, following complaints by residents that their privacy is being invaded.
The Central Municipal Council is the first in the country to insist that high-rise buildings have windows which allow in sunlight, but stop people seeing out.
It was proposed earlier by the Muharraq Municipal Council, but has never been approved or implemented.
Central councillors took the decision after complaints from upset residents, who say that their daughters and wives were being exposed to people living in high buildings.
Council chairman Abdulrahman Al Hassan said that the problem was not only in old neighbourhoods, where new buildings have been built.
'The problem is bigger than that and areas, which have new luxurious villas and high apartment buildings, are in the same situation,' he said.
'Opaque windows are the only solution to ensure that the invasion of privacy ends and at the same time removes any suspicion from husbands' or fathers' minds that their wives and daughters are being watched.
'People at the moment can't feel free within their own homes, which has forced many to force their wives and daughters to cover up.
'If people can't feel free within their homes, where can they?
'We are now preparing to inspect all buildings in areas where complaints have been filed and see if they need opaque windows.
'Those wishing to build new apartment buildings will also have to do so, as we try to make our neighbourhoods a better place to live in, without any tension between those living there.
'People are complaining that their neighbours don't respect them and a number have already had tense arguments following accusations that someone was deliberately watching his daughter or wife. This will hopefully stop.'
Central Municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam said that the current building law doesn't force landlords to have such windows in their building.
'We have been trying for a very long time to get this building criteria and now with the council's decision, we will certainly feel relieved, as people's complaints will end,' he said.
Municipalities and Agriculture Minister Mansoor bin Rajab will ratify the new criteria, before it gets published in the Official Gazette and formally implemented.-TradeArabia News Service