Builder Next Door Gets Blame for Institute Collapse

Unsafe construction practices under the building next door are at the root of last night’s collapse of the  Institute of Social Sciences for Southern Viet Nam in Ho Chi Minh City, the investigators say in a preliminary report.

The collapse of the institute's annex

During excavation of the basement for the Pacific high-rise building, a gaping fissure suddenly appeared in the common wall 19 meters below the surface, causing the ground beneath the institute’s three-storey annex to sag.

Despite frantic efforts to plug the gap, it kept growing and spewing out more mud and water, threatening the lives of dozens of workers in the basement. They were quickly evacuated.

No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred around 7:30 p.m. However, Dr. Vo Cong Nguyen, one of the three people working in the institute when the annex came crashing down, said that five research centers, three offices and many invaluable archives and equipment had been badly damaged by the water.

The investigators note that the collapse was predictable as cracks had appeared in the institute’s annex soon after the Pacific’s construction began last year.

After hearing the institute’s complaint about the builders, the HCMC Department of Construction ordered a halt to construction and handed a VND29 million fine to the Pacific Beer Company, the project’s owner.

In July this year, the District 1 People’s Committee imposed its own fine on the company for the same reason. Construction continued anyway.

Even after the accident, Pacific Beer director Mr. Ngo Duy Tan is claiming that everything was done by the book and that the construction was carried out in accordance with the design of the Department of Construction’s consultants.

Mr. Tan has promised to compensate the institute and help it recover the documents and equipment.

The two buildings have been closed since yesterday while the police investigate the incident and estimate the damages.

Construction of the Pacific, which was licensed in 2005, began more than a year ago. 

Related article:
Midtown Building Collapses in Ho Chi Minh City

Source SGGP, Saigon Times – Translated by Khanh Hong

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