Linundus Kinabalu Headline Animator


(Note: Protect and Preserve your 'Kadazan' and 'Dusun' identities. Read the articles published HEREand HERE and participate in the survey Poll located at the top right-hand column of this page.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buildings Unsafe for Occupancy

Kota Kinabalu: (DE) Many buildings in Sabah have been declared unsafe for occupancy because the designs were prepared by non-Sabah based consultants who may have lacked local knowledge and in supervision during the construction stage.

In a courtesy call to Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Noor, the Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) Sabah Chapter said some of the buildings had been in use for less than 10 years.

Towards this end, the PAM Sabah Chapter visiting members comprising Ho Jia Lit, Lo Su Yin, Victor Wong and chairman Sim Sie Hong emphasised the importance of engaging local architects (or in association with local architects) for projects in the State.

Source: Daily Express


Linundus disagrees with the notion that “many buildings in Sabah have been declared unsafe for occupancy just because the designs were prepared by non-Sabah consultants who may have no local knowledge.” This is a sweeping statement against non-Sabah based consultants. I believe they are equally qualified, and perhaps (with no offence to PAM Sabah Chapter members) they are even better qualified than the local-based consultants albeit no local knowledge.

Although I am neither an Architect nor an engineer by profession but from my experience as a former head of State Government Agency, I would totally disagree with the statement made by the PAM Sabah Chapter members who emphasised to the Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Noor on the importance of engaging local architects for projects in the State.

With or without local knowledge is not an excuse to derail non-Sabah based consultants, and to blame them for the many buildings (in Sabah) declared as unsafe for occupancy is a blatant deprecating remark forthcoming from the PAM Sabah Chapter.

The Petronas Twin Towers, the Taipei 101 Tower of Taiwan, the tallest building in the world, have been designed by International foreign Architects and Engineers and yet the buildings they have designed are worth international recognition.

I had the opportunity to work as a concrete mixing labourer with Yap Shui Contractor in 1964, and my experience tells me that contractors employ all their tricks of the trade to cut corners in order to save costs as well as time. To them, time is money and savings from cutting those corners are huge profit for them. By doing so, site instructions are not normally followed, let alone complying with contract specifications.

In those days sea sand was used and was specified to be washed before mixing the concrete. More often than not, this instruction was ignored in order to save cost and time.

Concrete test cubes are prepared specifically for concrete strength and in strict compliance with the contract specification. These test cubes are supposedly taken randomly from the concrete mix to be used for building construction and these cubes are sent to the concrete test lab. The concrete test cubes, if passed, are supposedly the approved concrete mixing ratio specifications that should be adhered to for the rest of the concreting works. More often than not, this procedure or

specification is not followed. This could very well be the reason for the structural failure of some unsafe buildings, in particular the QE Hospital building when sea sand was used at the time when it was constructed.

What I am trying to say here is that both consultants and contractors are to be blamed for buildings that are declared unsafe for occupancy and for sub-standard works. These are due to lack of consultants’ strict supervision on site and the contractors’ desire to make additional profit thus compromising with contract specifications.

No comments:

Post a Comment