Building inspections should be properly conducted

A Cambodian rescue team searches for missing workers at the site of a collapsed building on a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, 23 June 2019.
A Cambodian rescue team searches for missing workers at the site of a collapsed building on a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, 23 June 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The building collapse in Cambodia and other such mishaps in other countries over the years show the need to be vigilant about building standards and checks.

While there are strong regulatory frameworks in place to prevent building collapses here, things cannot be taken for granted.

One of these is the area of having inspections carried out every 10 years for residential buildings.

I had a first-hand experience last year when the building I live in underwent inspections.

The owners were not informed about it. I was asked whether my flat could be inspected only as I was leaving the building. I agreed to it and returned home early and waited, but no one came by.

I called the condominium manager later but was told the professional engineer (PE) had already left.

I was told that 40 per cent of the units, both renovated and non-renovated flats, had been inspected. I felt that this was unlikely, partly because no one had been informed.

I was told later that the inspection report had been submitted to the authorities and that it had been accepted. I am curious as to whether the authorities go through these reports with the PEs who submitted them.

Inspections should be carried out properly. Residents should be informed beforehand. The PE should inspect a certain number of units and a mix of renovated and non-renovated units. He should also get owners or anyone at home to sign off on the inspection.

Bachan Singh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2019, with the headline 'Building inspections should be properly conducted'. Print Edition | Subscribe