Monday, December 5 2016

VietNamNews

Dilapidated apartment upgrades stonewalled

Update: March, 22/2016 - 09:00
Old apartment buildings in Hà Nội that are in danger of collapsing have remained in their current condition for years because residents, authorities and investors have failed to agree on a plan to upgrade the structures. — Photo vanhien.vn

HÀ NỘI — Old apartment buildings in Hà Nội that are in danger of collapsing have remained in their current condition for years because residents, authorities and investors have failed to agree on a plan to upgrade the structures.

Of the 42 old apartment buildings that were classified as dangerous by the Department of Construction, two were ranked as “D” structures – the most dangerous categorisation, which suggests immediate evacuation. They are the G6A Thành Công and the A Ngọc Khánh apartment buildings.

Although residents in the two apartment buildings should move out as soon as possible, they have continued living there, despite fears that the buildings could collapse.

The Department of Construction does not have any plan to upgrade the remaining 40 old apartment buildings, which were categorised as “B” and “C” buildings on the danger scale.

A spokesperson from the department said the city would budget for an upgrade plan for the whole area, not individual apartment buildings.

For the two D-level apartment buildings, local authorities would enact a plan to inform residents about the dangers, the spokesperson said.

A representative of the two D-level apartment buildings said local residents hoped that authorities and investors would make a pledge regarding the rate of the project’s progress and the structural quality of upgrades.

Residents must have rights to supervise the upgrade project, the representative said.

Nghiêm Xuân Tuy, who lives in the G6A Thành Công apartment building, said residents in the building were worried because they were previously moved from the C1 Thành Công apartment building in 2008, but the upgrades still have not been finished.

“We want the city to have clear regulations about the upgrading period to avoid the problem that we must live in a temporary place for dozens of years,” he said. 

Architect Nguyễn Chiến Thắng from the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture said that rebuilding old apartments, such as Giảng Võ, Thành Công and Ngọc Khánh, was an urgent task needed to urbanise and improve residents’ living conditions.

But the upgrade project stayed the same due to disagreement over the number of allowable storeys of buildings in the inner city. The number was limited, and investors wanted to raise the number of storeys.

Statistics from the Hà Nội Department of Construction showed that the city had more than 1,500 old apartment buildings.

Nguyễn Chí Dũng, deputy director of the department, said the department founded an inspection team in 2014 to check 940 buildings, and decided that 42 of the oldest and most dilapidated buildings would be checked the following year. After that, the department planned to produce a detailed plan to upgrade them.

The upgrades would be more favourable when the Law on Housing was put into effect in July last year, Dũng said. Under the law, local residents and investors would discuss an upgrade plan within three months.

After the deadline, if they did not reach an agreement, local authorities would find measures to resolve it, including coercion if the building faced a high risk of collapse, said Dũng. — VNS

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