Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul expressed disappointment over repairs to Saranrom Palace, which used to house the Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul points at flaws on a wall inside Saranrom Palace. The old palace, which used to house the Foreign Ministry, has been renovated to serve as the ministry’s museum and reception facility.
The minister on Wednesday led a team of ministry officials and members of the press to inspect the work inside Saranrom Palace built during the reign of King Rama IV.
He found many spots where the renovation work was substandard _ with mouldy walls, leaking roofs and damaged paintwork.
The 480-million-baht renovation was carried out by Christiani & Nielsen with StoneHenge serving as a consultant.
The companies started the work in 2008 and finished it in February last year.
The Foreign Ministry's inspection committee, which comprises officials from the Department of Public Works and Department of Fine Arts, visited the renovated palace in July and found the repair work was not up to scratch.
The committee called the companies in to tell them about the problems. According to the committee, the companies attributed the shortcomings to bad design and low-quality labourers.
The companies also said they had fully complied with the blueprint and scope of work given to them. However, they could not do anything about the bad design, according to the committee.
The Department of Fine Arts was responsible for the design.
Christiani & Nielsen states on its website that the project was commenced in August 2008.
The aim of work was to construct a new three-storey building and renovate the external parts of the buildings. Interior work was excluded, according to the company's website.
Mr Surapong demanded the contractor make repairs.
"The contractor can't deny responsibility for the poor quality of work here. It must redo it," said Mr Surapong.
Christiani & Nielsen was not available for comment. A source said the project needed another 74 million baht for work on the interior of the building.
The request was recently tabled for cabinet approval but put on hold after the substandard work at the old palace was discovered.
The foreign minister said he wanted to see the grand old palace return to its former glory since it had been used as the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry for decades.
The palace will be used as the ministry's museum and reception facility once the renovation work is completed.
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- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol