Condo scandal: Garbage stuffed in wall | Bangkok Post: learning

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Condo scandal: Garbage stuffed in wall

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After garbage stuffed in condo wall by builder revealed in Facebook, reputation of real estate developer suffers. 


Sansiri left foaming at the mouth

The developer insists 300 other condos tested at The Base Sukhumvit were fine, but online fear remains.


Kanana Katharangsiporn

Three brick-sized pieces of foam, rubbish paper and candy wrappers recently found inside the wall of a condo at The Base Sukhumvit 77 may not physically harm the unit's owner, but they have already wrecked the developer' s reputation overnight.

Kristopher George Houston, owner of the condominium unit developed by Sansiri Plc (SIRI), found his wall stuffed with foam, paper scraps and candy wrappers when he tried to fix a rainwater leak. This is definitely not the first such case for a housing development in Thailand, but it could serve as a wake-up call for consumers to pay more attention to protect their rights.

Mr Houston bought a condo unit in The Base Sukhumvit 77. But once he moved in, he described the continued water leakages during rain as a nightmare. After Sansiri's after-sales staff tried unsuccessfully to repair the leaks many times, Mr Houston decided to ask an outside technician to do it.

To his surprise, when the technician tore into the wall, Mr Houston saw three pieces of foam, some Ole candy wrappers and brown, wrinkled papers packed inside the wall instead of concrete or bricks.

Sansiri staff at the scene verified these should not be there.

Mr Houston notified the after-sales service team again, noting his dismay, but received no response.

He decided to post about the problem on Sansiri's Facebook page last week, which quickly went viral and led other unit owners to post their concerns about The Base Sukhumvit 77, while others wondered about Sansiri's construction standards.

Sansiri customers who made a down payment for future units also posted their shock, while investors voiced their concern that Sansiri units may be difficult to resell.

A potential expat buyer who asked for anonymity has been looking at The Hive Sathorn condominium developed by Sansiri but said he was seriously re-examining the unit and will recheck the unit with an engineer friend. "I am a bit worried and feel uncertain about Sansiri's project after reading the news about the poor construction quality at The Base Sukhumvit 77," said the potential buyer.

Uthai Uthaisangsuk, a senior executive vice-president of Sansiri, yesterday admitted this problem will have a negative effect on the company's sales and reputation but insisted the company has never failed to support a customer throughout its 29 years of business.

"We feel sorry about what happened and are visiting other units at this project to inspect the wall strength to reassure the unit owners," he said.

The company will use a rebound hammer to inspect each unit, which will take 15-20 minutes per unit to complete. Since last weekend, it has tested 300 of 1,200 total units and found nothing unusual. All units will be tested by Sept 20, said Mr Uthai.

He said the pieces of foam and other rubbish were the error of the subcontractor that took the job from main contractor, RTH Construction Co.

"We told RTH to exercise the most serious punitive measures against the subcontractor," said Mr Uthai.

He added that RTH is still scheduled to build another project for Sansiri.

Mr Uthai said the aluminium window frame on the wall is an architectural feature, not related to the structure or the building's strength.

This part should have been completed using conventional construction or brick and cement, as precast techniques, which Sansiri uses for all its high-rise and townhouse projects and some single-house projects, cannot be applied here.

An engineer who asked for anonymity said using construction foam for jobs is normal, but the foam found at The Base was not the foam used in construction jobs.

Kamolwat Praprutitum used to think a leaky ceiling could only happen to a house, not a condo. But he was dead wrong.

A condo unit he bought three years ago in the Sutthisan area started to leak water through the ceiling.

It took several repairs by the property developer over the course of many months to straighten out the problem.

His unit is on the seventh floor of a low-rise, eight-storey condo (not developed by Sansiri). He was baffled two years ago when he awoke one night to find lashing rain seeping through the ceiling, with water running down the wall.

"I heard the water trickling. It was really a nasty surprise," he said.

The engineer sent to repair the leak explained the rain came through a horizon crack in the condo's outer wall above the ceiling.

"The crack has been mended for now. But there's no telling if the problem will crop up again," said Mr Kamolwat.

Shares of SIRI shares closed yesterday on the SET at 2.06 baht, down eight satang, in trade worth 381 million baht.

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admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ

anonymity: when someone's name is not given or known - การไม่ระบุชื่อ

apply: to make use of something - นำมาใช้

architectural: involving styles or ways of designing buildings - ในเชิงสถาปัตยกรรม

baffled: completely confused - งง, ฉงน

brick: baked clay used for building walls, houses and other buildings - อิฐ

cast: to shape hot liquid metal, etc. by pouring it into a hollow container (called a mould) - หล่อ

ceiling: the top inside surface of a room - เพดาน

cement: a grey powder made by burning clay and lime that sets hard when it is mixed with water. Cement is used in building to stick bricks together and to make very hard surfaces - ปูนซีเมนต์

concern: a worry - ความกังวล

concrete: a hard substance used in building made by mixing cement, sand, small stones, and water - คอนกรีต

construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง

consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค

contractor: a person or company whose job is to do work for another person, organisation, company, etc. - ผู้รับเหมา

conventional: usual or normal - ธรรมดา

crack: a line on a surface where something is beginning to break apart - รอยแตก  รอยร้าว

crop up again: happen again -

dead wrong: clearly wrong - ผิดถนัด

definitely: without any doubt; for certain - อย่างแน่นอน

develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

developer: real estate developer, a person or company that builds new "real estate developments" including buildings, houses, shopping centers, etc -

development: the process of using an area of land, especially to make a profit by building on it, etc - การพัฒนา

dismay: a feeling of being very unhappy and disappointed - ท้อใจ, ผิดหวัง

down payment: a first payment that you make when you are buying something and are going to pay the rest later - เงินที่ชำระราคาครั้งแรก

effect: a change that somebody/something causes in somebody/something else; a result - ผลกระทบ

engineer: a person who arranges for something to happen, especially in a skilful way - ผู้วางแผน

examine: to look at somebody/something closely, to see if there is anything wrong or to find the cause of a problem - ตรวจ

exercise: the use of your power, rights, or skills - การใช้

expatriate (expat): a person living in a country that is not their own - คนที่อาศัยอยู่ต่างประเทศ (เป็นเวลานาน)

feature: something important, interesting or typical of a place or thing - จุดเด่น, คุณสมบัติ

fix: repair, make something broken work again - ซ่อม

foam: a soft light material, full of small holes, that is used for containers, seats, etc. - ฟอง

foam at the mouth: to be very angry (like a dog that has rabies) - โกรธ, โมโห

hammer: a tool consisting of a piece of metal with a flat end which is fixed onto the end of a long thin usually wooden handle, used for hitting things - ค้อน

harm: damage - ความเสียหาย

high-rise: a building is very tall with many floors or levels - อาคาร ซึ่งมีหลายชั้น

insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

inspect: to look at something carefully - ตรวจสอบ, ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด

investor: a person or organization that invests money, i.e., uses money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน

lash: to hit with a lot of force - กระทบอย่างแรง

leak: (of a liquid or gas) to flow out of a hole or crack - รั่ว

leakage: the flow of a liquid or gas out of a hole or crack - การรั่วไหล

measures: actions that are intended to achieve or deal with something - มาตราการ

mend: repair, fix -

nasty: bad or very unpleasant - อันตราย, น่าวิตก

negative: bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ

nightmare: an extremely unpleasant event or experience or possible event or experience; a very upsetting or frightening dream - ฝันร้าย

note: to notice or pay careful attention to something - สังเกต

notify: to tell someone officially about something - แจ้ง

over the course of the event: during the time the event is happening -

overnight: suddenly or quickly, e.g., in one night - ในเวลาอันสั้น, ข้ามคืน,อย่างรวดเร็ว

pack: to put things into a container - บรรจุ, ใส่หีบห่อ, เก็บของใส่กระเป๋า

pay attention: to watch, listen to, or consider something or someone very carefully - เอาใจใส่, สนใจ

physically: in a way that is connected with a person's body rather than their mind - ด้านร่างกาย, เกี่ยวกับร่างกาย

post: to put a notice, etc. in a public place so that people can see it - ปิดประกาศ

potential: possible in the future - ที่อาจเป็นไปได้

project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ

property: a building or buildings and the surrounding land - อสังหาริมทรัพย์

punitive: intended as a punishment - เกี่ยวกับการลงโทษ

reassure: to make someone feel less worried about something - ให้ความมั่นใน

relate to: to be connected with something/somebody; to refer to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ

remain: to still be present after the other parts have been removed, used, etc; to continue to exist - ยังเหลืออยู่

repair: to fix something that is broken or damaged - ซ่อมบำรุง

repairs: the process of fixing something that is broken or damaged - การซ่อมบำรุง

reputation: the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง

resell: to sell again, after buying it -

response: a reaction to something that has happened or been said - การตอบสนอง

right: a moral or legal claim to have or get something or to behave in a particular - สิทธิ

rubbish: waste material or things that are no longer wanted or needed - ขยะ

scene: site; a place where something happens or happened - สถานที่เกิดเหตุ

scheduled: planned to happen at a particular time or day - ตามตารางเวลา

scrap: old metal or paper that can be used again after going through a special process - เหล็กเก่า ๆ สำหรับหล่อหลอมและเปลี่ยนรูปใหม่,เศษเหล็ก, เป็นชิ้นเล็กชิ้นน้อย

seep: (of a liquid) to flow slowly and in small quantities through something - รั่วซึม

share: any of the units of equal value into which a company is divided and sold to raise money. People who own shares receive part of the company's profits - หุ้น

shock: a strong feeling of surprise as a result of something happening, especially something unpleasant; the event that causes this feeling - ช็อค, ความสะดุ้ง, อาการช็อค

staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน

standards: a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน

straighten out problem: solve problem, fix broken thing -

structure: something large such as a building or a bridge that is built from different parts - โครงสร้าง

subcontractor: a contractor that the main contractor doing a project hires to do work -

technician: a person whose job is keeping a particular type of equipment or machinery in good condition - เจ้าหน้าที่เทคนิค, ช่าง

technique: a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed - เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)

there's no telling if: we cannot know if .... -

tore: past tense of "tear", ) to pull something so that it separates into pieces or gets a hole in it, or to become damaged in this way - ฉีก

trickle into: to gradually arrive in small numbers - เคลื่อนไหวอย่างช้าๆ

verify: to prove that something is true, or to make certain that something is correct - พิสูจน์ว่าเป็นความจริง

viral: (of a video, photo, story, etc.) spread across the internet very quickly (like a virus spreading a disease) as people share it with their friends or the news media reports on it - แพร่กระจายผ่านทางอินเทอร์เน็ตอย่างรวดเร็ว

wake-up call: when something happens that shows you that you should be thinking about something or worried about some problem -

window frame: the wood around the outside of a window - กรอบหน้าต่าง

wonder: to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it - สงสัย

wreck: to destroy or badly damage something - ทำให้เสียหาย, ทำให้หายนะ

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