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Draft decree sets guidelines for housing renovation plan

Update: February, 08/2013 - 00:00

Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung spoke to Kinh te Do thi (Urban Economics) newspaper about plans to upgrade old residential buildings in Ha Noi.

Your ministry is drafting a decree on replacing old high-rises with newer, modern ones. Could you tell us more about the decree?

In May 2007, the Government issued Resolution 34/2007/NQ-CP, which covers demolishing old living quarters and building new ones in their place. More than five years have passed since then, but that resolution has still not been implemented. This requires the Ministry of Construction (MOC) to draft a decree on the topic.

The decree will divide buildings into several categories based on how much they have deteriorated. We'll also come up with a procedure to evaluate the quality of the buildings in terms of these criteria. Based on this information, local authorities can choose whether torenovate or demolish degraded buildings.

The decree will also state clearly that local administrations are fully responsible for re-settling residents of affected buildings in improved living conditions.

In the draft decree, we emphasise that the State-owned enterprises can play an active role in both renovation and construction of new buildings.

But for this to work, we need a means of funding the construction process.

The document also mandates that State construction companies must be involved in any building that takes place.

How will you balance the interests of the State - the project owner - and the people living in the buildings?

Residents of many old apartments have already paid a lump sum to own their apartments. It is very difficult to rehabilitate those buildings as the owners don't want to spend their own money on refurbishing their places. In this case, the Government should use its own budget to renovate the buildings. There are two options to raise the money for this undertaking.

First, the new buildings can be built higher than the old ones in order to make more efficient use of the land and location and generate more capital to invest in the project.

However, this will not work for all old buildings, as building heights are limited by regulations in many areas.

The second option is that the government - the project owner – can auction off the land after buildings are demolished to raise money to build new residences.

Could you give us some more specific figures about the number of old residential buildings in the country?

At present Viet Nam has more than three million square meters of residential space built before 1991, which is occupied by over 100,000 households. Ha Noi has about 982 old residential buildings of 4-5 stories, plus 173 new residential buildings. Over the last decade, 11 old residential buildings have been renovated. Meanwhile, HCM City - Viet Nam's largest city - has 1,002 residential buildings, of which 507 were built before 1975. In efforts to make the city more beautiful, 62 old residential buildings have been rehabilitated.

I hope these figures accurately illustrate both the imperative need to rehabilitate these old buildings and the difficulties facing local authorities at all levels.

For its part, the MOC is committed to ensuring old buildings are replaced by new, modern and comfortable homes. — VNS

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