Houses at high risk of collapsing in HCMC

Many houses in Ho Chi Minh City are sinking and at a high risk of collapsing due to mistakes in design and construction which were caused by the absence of proper initial surveys.

Houses show signs of leaning over on Dinh Tien Hoang Street in Binh Thanh District (Photo:Minh Tri)

The four-storey house at No. 157-159 on 26 Street in District 6 is leaning dangerously over into the street, with its foundation sinking around 30 centimeters.

The leaning house made the front door and windows get stuck, while the cracked walls show electricity cables and water pipelines inside.

The house, which is estimated to be worth around VND5 billion (US$250,000), has been abandoned for 10 years.

Pham Minh Phuong, who has been hired to look after the house, recalled “in 2001, the sinking problem has been occurred for a few months after the owners moved in.”

“He asked the builders to fix it, but they have not replied. The owner eventually had to spend VND85 million hiring the National Survey JSC to examine the construction’s quality as he wanted to sue the builder.”

Tens of houses around Binh Phu retail market in District 6 also showed signs of falling down. As the repairing cost is too high, owners of some houses had to abandon their living accommodation, while others took the risk to stay.

The houses at 1N and the one next door at 1P on Song Hanh Street in the district have leaned on each other for three years due to sinking foundation problem.

A man identified only as T, who is living next to one of the house, said “the whole houses shook strongly, with wall tiles and pieces of the roof falling down the ceiling when trucks ran by.”

The foundation is sinking as it was built on weak soil, T noticed, adding that District 6 used to be a farming land.

The house at No. 92 on 2nd Street in Binh Chanh District sank 30 centimeters lower. “I built it in 2004. Knowing that my house would be built on weak soil, I asked the builder to strengthen the foundation by pushing 24 steel stakes 40 meters into the ground,” said Ngo Van Dung, owner of the house.

“But the foundation started to sink after one year only. And it has been much worsen since 2009,” Dung said.

Construction expert Le Quang Dung said just a few of people made a proper initial surveys, including geological studies before building a house. Dung noticed that the sinking problem was widespread in many areas in town, including District 2, 6, 7, 11, 12, Binh Thanh, Can Gio, Nha Be, Binh Chanh and Hoc Mon Districts.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Construction has ordered authorities in 24 districts to urgently inspect constructions of residential works over concerns about their construction quality, according to ThanhNiewNews.
The concerns came to the fore after a five-storied house in the center of Hanoi collapsed completely on March 30, and another house, also five-storied and in the capital, was found sinking and at a high risk of collapsing just a couple of days later.

By Minh Tuan and Thanh Vy – Translated by Vu Minh

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