A flawed new building in Sihanoukville soon to be razed

Photo from Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration Facebook

The Chinese-owned building has been found sinking and cracking.  


PHNOM PENH--A construction company has agreed to demolish one of its new buildings following a government inspection, which revealed that the building is sinking and its walls cracking.  


Governor Kuoch Chamroeun of Preah Sihanouk Province Monday met with representatives of the Chinese-owned company Chhoun Rin Construction Engineering (Cambodia) following a report on the numerous irregularities found at that construction site. 


“Governor Kuoch Chamroeun demanded the immediate demolition of the building to prevent any repeat of the tragic accident we saw happen,” Preah Sihanouk Province’s spokesman Kheang Phearum told Thmey Thmey Tuesday, referring to the collapse of a building that claimed the life of 28 construction workers last June in Sihanoukville.  


“The owner has already agreed…to demolish the building very soon,” he said. Phearum could not say how much was spent on its construction. “But the building was finished, and some parts…have been rented by some business owners,” he added. 


The Provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction last week issued a statement to the effect that the building had been built without a construction permit and without complying with technical standards.


“The building was found to have sunk 40 to 80 millimeters and it continues to sink,” the report said. “The walls on the ground floor have many cracks and they continue to crack in other parts [of the building].”


The authorities have requested that people who reside and run businesses in the building leave as soon as possible. They also instructed people living around the building to be vigilant or move to safer places. 


When asked whether legal action may be taken against the owner, Phearum said he could not comment at this point. “We only instructed the owner to demolish [the building], and whether further action will be taken or not depends entirely on the relevant authorities,” he said.    


Around 100 buildings found to have construction defects in and around Sihanoukville

The beach city has seen its landscape dramatically change during the past few years. Chinese investment, as part of the so-called ‘Belt and Road Initiative,’ has transformed it into a hub of multi-million dollars condominiums, hotels, and casinos catering to Chinese nationals.


Construction projects have grown so fast that developers have often started construction before securing proper permits from government authorities. 


A  month-long preliminary study by a group of experts, which was launched following the tragic accident in June, has identified as many as 100 buildings—completed or under construction and of more than five stories—that fail to meet building standards, Or Saroeun, head of the Provincial Department of Information, told Thmey Thmey Tuesday. “Most of the owners are Chinese,” he said. 


Saroeun stressed that the report remains unofficial as the study still is ongoing.  He could not provide details as to the technical standards contravened or other issues identified, but said that a report will be issued once the study has been completed. 


*This article was modified to correct the date of the meeting between the company's representative and the governor. It was held on Monday not Tuesday.


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