Engineers clear structural concerns of public housing construction

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Issue 482, Page 2
Word count: 508
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Structural problems of the public housing construction in Rua da Tranquilidade were again cleared by the government and engineers yesterday who confirmed that the sight of inclination was only caused by the damaged scaffolding after the typhoon hit Macau last week.

The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) was reported the day after Typhoon Hagupit swept Macau that the four structures of the public housing which were under construction near Iao Hon area were sighted of being inclined.

Although the DSSOPT explained that it was the scaffoldings that were inclined and caused the “illusion”, the public were still very much concerned about the possible risk and thus engineers and the contractor company again gave supporting statements yesterday to assure the structures were able to stand the impact of a typhoon.

Council member of the Macau Institute of Engineers, Thomas Lok Man Hoi, said the result of a civil survey showed that the structures had no “evident problems”.

Mr Lok also said that the public should have confidence in Macau’s professionals who had the ability to judge whether a construction had structural problems.

“Sometimes what you see in the eyes is not true, even photos can capture illusion. Thus I think it’s more appropriate to handle the matter by leaving experts to do the judgement,” he said.

“If a building is really sinking, it will take a few months to a year for maintenance. At this stage there is no such technique of straightening an inclined structure in just half a day,” the engineer added.

When asked whether the typhoon season would pose a risk to other buildings’ construction, Mr Lok told the Macau Daily Times it depended on “how strong the typhoon is and integrity of the scaffolding”, adding that there was a general guideline for contractors to reinforce scaffolding in case of a “very fierce typhoon”.

On the other hand, Chan Weng Hei, the acting chief of the urban infrastructure department at the DSSOPT, said quality issues of construction projects, especially for public housing, were guaranteed.

In general, Mr Chan said each public construction project would be sent an instructing engineer to be responsible for supervising the quality and safety of works as well as providing technical support to contractors.

As well the DSSOPT engineers would “irregularly inspect construction sites to ensure quality of the projects,” he added.

At the same time, as the project in Rua da Tranquilidade was for public housing, the acting chief said Housing Bureau engineers were regularly stationed at the site and regular inspections would be conducted in conjunction with the Labour Affairs Bureau to check whether construction works were accredited.

Cheong Chak Ian, the owner of New Mei King Construction Company which is the contractor of the project, said they would suffer from a loss as the inclined scaffoldings had to be removed, but added that it would not prolong the duration of the construction.

“The four buildings have already been topped-up and we still estimate that construction can be completed in the second half of 2009,” Mr Cheong said.

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