An apartment building under construction behind Zeer Rangsit Mall in Lam Luk Ka, Pathum Thani, subsided on Sunday night and tilted at a perilous angle, sparking an emergency evacuation of panicked workers and residents around the site.
Ku Kot Police Station was alerted on Sunday night that one of two seven-storey buildings under construction had sunk into the ground and had an alarming 10 degrees tilt.
A site inspection indicated that the first floor of the building had subsided and was totally destroyed, and cracks were visible on other floors. The building was leaning over towards another building.
When police arrived, there were no workers around. The entire workforce of around 200 had already fled the site in fear of their safety.
The construction site backs on to a housing estate and fronts the parking lots of Zeer Rangsit mall. One side is on the bank of a canal - Klong 1 of Lam Luk Ka district. It was reported that the construction site used to be a pond and that may be the reason for the subsidence.
Police closed off the site and are monitoring the situation constantly. All construction work has been halted.
Nares Srimuang, director of the civil division of Ku Kot municipality, said the two buildings received construction permission from the previous administration of the municipality. The project had already received one extension of time for completion of the work.
An investigation would determine whether the building had received all proper approvals. The project owner and contractors would be questioned on Monday.
Sopon Pornchokchai, president of real estate consulting firm Agency for Real Estate Affairs, said the building had subsided 10 degrees to the north and five degrees to the east. It is located 800 metres from Phahon Yothin Road and has seven storeys plus the deck, he said.
He said the building would have around 10,000 square metres of usable area, with the construction cost estimated at 100 million baht. About 70% of the construction had been completed.
The building must be demolished, he said, so the damage would be around 70 million baht.
The cause for the building's subsidence could go back to the design stage, or it could be caused by the construction. The land was earlier a pond and it was in an area submerged by stagnant floodwater during the great flood in late 2011.
Pathum Thani governor Siripong Hantrakul said an inspection showed that the building had subsided even further.
Mr Siripong said the inspection at noon showed that the first floor had subsided to about 1.5 metres from the ground. The latest inspection late in the afternoon indicated that the subsidence was three to four metres below ground level in some areas.
He said relevant agencies will look into ways to deal with the building to protect people's lives and assets.
Don Muang Grand Plaza is the owner of both buildings. The company leased the land from Zeer Rangsit and it received permission on Dec 24, 2009 to build two seven-storey buildings.
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