|The Nguyen Cong Tru apartment building in Ha Noi's Hai Ba Trung District is one of more than 1,500 old apartment buildings in the country that are at risk of collapse. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
HA NOI (VNS) — There are more than 1,500 old apartment buildings at risk of collapse across Viet Nam, but in the last decade, only five per cent were rebuilt.
"Enterprises are not interested in rebuilding apartment buildings, which is low-benefit and high-risk," said Pham Sy Liem, vice president of the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Association.
In Ha Noi, only 14 of the 1,155 buildings in need of renovation attracted investment from enterprises.
Restrictions on height and occupancy in Ha Noi's central districts, where most of the old apartments are located, and difficulties in land clearance present obstacles for would-be investors.
"The first company to take my apartment building's project had to spend two years convincing residents to sign compensation contracts. However, it was for nothing. Some residents still refused the offers and then that company was replaced by another," said Nguyen To Loan, who lives in the Giang Vo area of Ba Dinh District.
Disagreements between apartment residents and investors over compensation amounts were the main reason that land clearance took so long, said Le Thi Hoai An from the University of Construction.
People were losing faith in the Government's capability to provide them with better houses, she said. Moreover, some were "not fully aware of the dangers" of living in buildings that "could collapse anytime."
The old apartment buildings were dangerous not only because they were constructed decades ago, but also due to illegal expansions. About half of the apartment area in Giang Vo was built illegally and illegal expansions accounted for 61.7 per cent of the Nam Dong area in Dong Da District, according to the Institute of Construction and Urban Economics.
Tran Thi Minh Tam, who lives in Giang Vo's C8 apartment building, built a 10sq.m room at the back of the 40sq.m apartment that housed her family of ten.
"That was still not enough space for beds. The whole family had to sleep on the floor," she said. — VNS