Ralph Adams, a structural and civil engineer, said that the building collapse at Arch Cot, Brittons X Road, St Michael, was bound to happen at some point.

Adams, who was on the scene offering advice from Sunday, said the neighbourhood knew about the existence of a cave and still allowed people to build on it.

An aerial shot showing the extent of Sunday's cave-in and the surrounding district including nearby construction.

"It was just a matter of time before it was a disaster," Adams told the Nation.

When asked about the actual size of the cave, he said it was quite big and had two cracks.

"There were two fault lines through the roof of the cave. One of them is exactly where you see the building split now, but it extends further under that apartment block, it extends across the road to the junction and it extends nearly to the front door of the house on the other side of the road and halfway under the house to the north," said Adams.

Mouth closed

He said the area was surveyed about a month ago and the cave let go [collapsed] on the fracture.

"The areas to the west have now fallen in, the original cave mouth is now closed, the rock is fractured and it looks as though it will fall out to the west. There is also the business below the cliff that is under threat."

Adams said he was aware of planned construction at the rear of the apartment but whether or not the work had begun, the cave would have still given out because water was also weakening the area.

"There are four storm drainage wells hooked into the corner adjacent to the building, and they are degrading the rock. The surveyors surveyed it prior to their doing work next door and it already had fractures through the roof of the cave."