PHNOM PENH, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — Cambodia issued a directive on Friday to enforce its construction law after a six-story building collapsed last week, leaving 36 people dead and 23 others injured.
In the directive to the construction authorities, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara said all unlicensed construction projects must be banned, and unlicensed contractors must not be permitted to undertake construction work.
He said all construction projects must have opening and closing building permits.
At construction sites, there must be architect(s) regularly overseeing the construction work, he said, adding that people are not allowed to live in the buildings that are under construction.
“If any sites violate the above-mentioned prohibitions, the competent authorities must issue a letter to suspend their construction work immediately,” said Sophara, who is also a deputy prime minister.
“In case that the construction is still going on (after the suspension letter was issued), the competent authorities must file the case to the court for next legal action,” he said.
In another directive, Sophara assigned a group of the ministry’s senior officials to routinely inspect construction sites across the kingdom to ensure that the sites are properly complied with the construction law.
The tough measures came after a six-story guesthouse building, which was under construction, collapsed last Friday in Kep city in southwestern Kep province, leaving 36 people dead and 23 others wounded.
All victims were Cambodians, and among them were a male-contractor, construction workers and their family members, including children.
As a probe has been conducted, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen blamed the contractor, who was also killed in the rubble, for the collapse of the building.
“The contractor’s mistake resulted in this tragedy,” he said in a press conference on Sunday at the end of the 43-hour search and rescue operation.
The contractor used smaller steel bars than the steel bars required in the building’s masterplan and he also removed the wooden scaffolding supporting each concrete floor in 10 days, as the safe period for the removal was 28 days, the prime minister said.
The building’s owners — a local man and his wife — were charged with unintentional homicide and causing involuntary bodily harm, but they were released on bail on Monday after depositing 354 million riels (about 87,000 U.S. dollars) to the court and agreeing not to leave Cambodia. XINHUA
*In Banteay Meanchey province alone, almost 200 buildings and construction sites were found to be illegal, according to a report from KAMPUCHEA THMEY