|National Assembly deputies discuss the amended Law on Construction in Hà Nội on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
HÀ NỘI — National Assembly (NA) deputies called for more stringent measures against the developers of projects and buildings which had violated regulations during discussions on the draft amended construction law on Saturday as part of their ongoing ninth sitting.
NA Deputy Đặng Hoàng Tuấn from the southern province of Long An pointed out that many problems were only discovered after projects were near completion or had changed hands multiple times, complicating the way authorities should deal with the violations.
He cited the example of the building at 8B Lê Trực in the centre of Hà Nội whose investor built an additional floor on top of the approved 18-storey blueprint. It took authorities many years despite repeated orders from the central Government to finally find a way earlier this month to remove the offending structure without harming the safety and integrity of the whole building.
“I request inclusion of sanctions such as refusal to grant water and electricity access to buildings found to have violated construction regulations [in the bill],” Tuấn said, appealing for a more hardline approach to enforce the construction law.
Cao Đình Thưởng, a legislator from the northern province of Phú Thọ, also asked for heavier fines rather than “a slap on the wrist” that does little to deter violations.
For example, the highest penalty for construction violations is about VNĐ1 billion (approx. US$43,000), but the investor could just take the fine while continuing to build more floors than originally approved and sell the additional apartments to unsuspecting customers, Thưởng continued.
He also said that financial penalties aside, the accountability of local governments and permit-issuing bodies also needed to be heightened.
Another violation NA deputies took issue with during the discussions was rampant failure to comply with fire codes, calling for additional stipulations regarding fire safety and prevention.
NA legislators expressed concerns over a new stipulation in the draft amended construction law, in which construction buildings in rural areas or individual residential house project in an area not planned for urban development or other functional purposes would not need to apply for construction permits, except those in conservation sites, cultural zones or historical sites.
They said that a blank page like this was ripe for abuse and ask the authors of the draft bill to limit the scale of constructions that were eligible for permit waivers, or make sure that the constructions were properly distanced from protected zones.
Many deputies expressed their support for the new stipulation in the draft bill which would hold agencies reviewing feasibility reports legally responsible for their assessment results in a bid to encourage more responsibility and consideration on the part of the assessors to prevent ineffective projects from commencing. — VNS