Experts looking into cause of building collapse

national January 09, 2019 01:00

By KORNKAMON AKSORNDECH
THE NATION

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EXPERTS from the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) yesterday inspected a building in Bangkok’s Soi Ramkhamhaeng 51/2 area, which had partially collapsed on Monday afternoon while being demolished, injuring two passers-by.



The engineers seek to discover the cause of the collapse, while police affirmed that no charges had yet been filed pending probe results.

The team, led by head of EIT civil engineering Asst Professor Anek Siripanichakorn and EIT adviser Siriwat Chaichana, visited the building whose demolition was now suspended indefinitely pending a safety investigation. 

Anek said the site was on the land owned by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, which was appropriated in 2017 for construction of the Orange Line’s Ramkhamhaeng 12 Station. The building demolition in that area had been carried out since December 2018 by a contractor who had obtained the required demolition licence and had an engineer overseeing the works, he added. 

Anake said the building might have some flaws that were not obviously visible, resulting in a problem during demolition.

Siriwat said that prior to the collapse, a backhoe was brought in to tear down the remaining structure, during which the second floor concrete wall shook, collapsed and crashed onto the exterior awing, sending down debris to injure the two passers-by. 

Bank building closed

Siriwat said officials would inspect the stability of a nearby bank building – which was partially damaged and was now suspended from use – to see if its structure and stability were affected by this incident.

Council of Engineers secretary-general Amorn Pimanmas, who also joined the EIT experts’ inspection, said they would check if the demolition works had been done correctly and following the appropriate steps, and whether the supervising engineer had a proper licence or had made errors. 

Meanwhile, Hua Mark superintendent Pol Colonel Saksit Meesawat said police had interviewed three to four witnesses, including those at the scene along with the building supervisor. 

No charges had yet been filed against anyone, and police are awaiting results from the city’s Department of Public Works to determine who is to be charged.

The building was torn down earlier last year but the district office suspended the activity in October over public complaints of things falling down onto the heavily used footpath, said Bangkok City’s Department of Public Work’s Building Control Division director Noppadol Chaipanya. 

Noppadol said his office would probe the cause of this partial collapse and whether it was linked to the previous incident that caused the October suspension.