Old flats in danger of collapse

Published: 21/04/2011 05:00



The lives of many residents in some older Ha Noi apartments are
at risk because the buildings are leaning and show signs of collapse,
construction experts have said.

A degraded apartment
building in Ha Noi’s Hoang Mai District is one of many such dilapidated
buildings to have been reported recently, raising concerns for residents’
(Photo: VNS)

They were commenting
after the recent collapse of a five-storey building in Dong Da District.
Afterwards, many other buildings were also found to be tilting.

Nguyen Dinh Chau, a
resident in the Ministry of Justice’s living quarters in Kim Ma Thuong Street,
said his family and more than 60 other families in the building were terrified
because the building had tilted 30cm.

However, Chau said,
it was hard to find another house as living costs were high in Ha Noi.

Tran Cong Thanh from
the Viet Nam Architecture Association said as many as 23 apartment blocks built
between the 60s and 80s had been downgraded because big cracks had developed.

For example, blocks
A1, A2, A3 and C7 block in Ba Dinh District, a five-storied building in Kim Lien
in Dong Da District, some others in Nghia Tan in Cau Giay District, Thanh Xuan
and Thuong Dinh in Thanh Xuan District and Thanh Cong blocks in Ba Dinh District
had all developed cracks.

Blocks at I2 Nam
Thanh Cong in Dong Da District and C1 Thanh Cong in Ba Dinh District had also
subsided by up to two metres.

All apartments were
reported to have serious cracks and the staircases had separated from the rest
of the building.

“These buildings were
set up to provide shelter for retired people. However, design and construction
criteria remained substandard compared to the current regulations,” Thanh said.

He added that
sub-standard techniques were also used to create the foundations and prevent any
impacts from surrounding construction works.

“Multi-storied houses
built on weak foundations can easily cause subsidence. When the load capacity of
the buildings moves too far from the centre, they collapse,” Thanh said.

Deputy director of Ha
Noi Institute for Construction Science, Technology and Economics, Nguyen Huu
Binh, said the problem was caused by loose management by local authorities.

Many people illegally
built extensions without geological studies, he said, adding that low-quality
construction made matters worse.

To deal with the
issue, in mid 2007, the Government launched Resolution 34 stipulating that all
downgraded apartment buildings nationwide were to be upgraded or rebuilt by
2015. Those living in the buildings were to be relocated.

Many projects were
started in 2009, but few are reported to have been completed.

According to Thanh,
the main reasons for the delay were improper compensation and unreliable
planning schemes. These led to disagreements with residents.

Deputy director of
the municipal Department of Construction Nguyen Quoc Tuan said the department
would re-examine the blocks and ask the city to consolidate the most down-graded

Nam News

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