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HCM City scrutinises construction projects

Update: November, 02/2007 - 00:00

HCM City scrutinises construction projects

(03-11-2007)

Nearly 150 households living in the Cosaco Building were urgently evacuated after the building began to tilt due to construction of the nearby Sai Gon Residences. — VNA/VNS Photo Trang Duong

HCM CITY — Construction projects in HCM City will be more closely supervised, say city authorities following this week’s damage to a residential building from a nearby construction project.

During a press meeting on Thursday, the deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Tai, said stricter supervision must continue during the entire construction process.

Tai said a second construction inspection would be conducted at the 12-story Sai Gon Residences project at 11 Thi Sach Street in District 1, which is adjacent to the Cosaco Building at 5 Nguyen Sieu Street.

All of the more than 100 residents of Cosaco Building were evacuated to safety on Wednesday after the building began to tilt.

"Post-licensing construction of high-rise buildings, especially those with basements, must be better managed," said Tai.

The Sai Gon Construction Quality Control Co., an arm of the HCM City Construction Department, will conduct an investigation on the cause of the incident before a decision from the city authority on whether the Cosaco Building should be demolished or restored.

Tai said the investors of the project did not send any representative to the construction site during the past several days, even when the adjacent Cosaco Building began to lean.

He said the city authority had appointed the Construction Department to draft regulations on construction management, to be completed by November 15.

Hoa Binh Construction Corp., the contractor of the project, attributed the incident to underground water.

In another press meeting earlier on Thursday, Hoa Binh explained that while their workers were building the basement of the project at a depth of eight metres on Wednesday, underground water seeped out and flooded the construction site.

CEO of Hoa Binh Corp, Le Viet Hai, said he took responsibility for the incident and proposed compensation for the damages caused to the Cosaco Building.

The 12-story Sai Gon Residences Building is a joint venture between the Tran Phu Printing Co. and Singapore-based Frasers CentrePoint Ltd.

Construction of the building started in April and is scheduled to be completed in early 2009.

Nguyen Van Hiep, deputy director of HCM City Construction Department, said the contractor of the Sai Gon Residences Building project had "skipped certain safety steps" while building the basement of the project.

Hiep said the contractor only consolidated one side of the project site near the Cosaco Building and did not place steel columns on all sides.

In June, the Construction Department issued a decision to suspend construction of Sai Gon Residences due to its dangerous impact on the Cosaco Building.

On October 18, the department allowed construction of the building to resume.

The leaning of Cosaco Building is the second serious construction incident in the city this month.

On October 9, the illegal building of basements at the Pacific Building project led to the collapse of the 3-story Institute of Social Sciences for Southern Viet Nam, located at 49 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1.

In the most recent incident, a floor of the newly-built Luong Dinh Cua Junior High School in District 2’s An Phu Ward suddenly sank on Thursday morning, injuring a student.

To ensure safety for children, school management on Thursday suspended classes while awaiting repair.

The head of District 2’s Education Bureau said 800 students at Luong Dinh Cua High School would resume class on Monday. — VNS

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