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Hà Nội headache: steel house frames

Update: November, 28/2016 - 09:00
Old buildings on Ha Noi’s Kim Liên Street with illegal steel frame extensions that put them at high risk of fire and make it difficult for firefighters to access. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Dilapidated houses and new buildings with illegal extensions of steel frames have become a headache for local authorities in Ha Noi, with the buildings at high risk of fire and difficult for firefighters to access.

A recent survey conducted by the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, found dilapidated houses with illegal extensions on streets in Hoàn Kiếm District’s Old Quarter, including Hàng Buồm, Đào Duy Từ, Hàng Bạc, Hàng Ngang and Hàng Đào streets.

The same problem is found in old residential buildings around the city, such as in Bách Khoa Ward of Hai Bà Trưng District.

Even in new buildings in Trung Hòa–Nhân Chính and Nam Trung Yên in Thanh Xuân and Cầu Giấy districts, apartment owners illegally extended living areas with steel frames.

A construction inspector of Hoàn Kiếm District said dilapidated houses with illegal extensions were a perennial problem and hard to deal with.

Trần Tiến Dũng, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Bách Khoa Ward, said some buildings in the ward had been built decades ago. Due to the need for additional accommodation, many apartment owners illegally extended their living areas with steel frames, he said.

Dũng also admitted that the committee had failed to deal with the problem so far.

Dũng said the Housing Renovation and Development Joint stock company would take responsibility for monitoring new residential buildings.

A representative of the company told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that apartment owners had not been forced to remove the steel frames because the owners said they installed them to prevent theft and to prevent children from falling from balconies.

Short-term solutions

Phạm Tấn Long, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Hoàn Kiếm District said the committee had ordered 18 wards in the district to inspect all houses, karaoke shops, pubs and restaurants to ensure they met fire safety requirements.

Any violations would be strictly punished, he said.

The district’s construction inspector said in the short term, some wards had set up task forces to respond in case a fire occurred in small and narrow alleys.

Lieutenant Colonel Phạm Trung Hiếu, head of fire-fighting Instruction and Direction Office under the Hà Nội’s fire-fighting Prevention and Control Department said houses located in narrow alleys in the Old Quarter were hard to reach for firefighters.

Thus, they asked local authorities in the Old Quarter documents to instruct people to exit for emergencies, he said.

Statistics from the office said there were 30 small streets in the Old Quarter that firefighter teams could not reach.  The office also said houses in the small street were illegally extended with steel frames, causing more difficulties for firefighters.

Phạm Sỹ Liêm, former Deputy Minister of Construction blamed the problem on the poor management of authorised agencies over the past time.

He added that there was a need for tightened supervision from authorised agencies to stop other people illegally extending their living areas with steel frames. — VNS


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