Developers leaning towards demolition of apartments
A return to the drawing board appears to be the most likely course of action for the ill-fated Pathum Thani residential project as investigations continue into what caused the buildings to begin tilting. Construction work has already been halted and the labourers have gone home
The developers of the "Leaning Towers of Pathum Thani" are today due to announce whether or not they will demolish the 100 million baht project and rebuild.
UNUSUAL SUSPECTS: An expert said the listing may be due to the condition of the soil or a problem with the foundation piles.
Don Muang Grand Plaza Co Ltd has so far invested 70 million baht to build two apartment blocks with 132 rooms in each, located behind Zeer Rangsit Mall in Lam Luk Ka. Zeer Rangsit Mall owns the property.
"There is an 80% chance that we will destroy the building and rebuild again," the company said in a statement after a meeting with residents from the nearby Pummarin housing estate on Thursday.
"But we can't confirm what we are going to do with the building at the moment. We are still looking into the problem and considering the best solution," the statement said, adding they would announce their decision today.
Ku Kot municipality issued an evacuation order for the area on Monday, after police started receiving reports from local residents on Sunday that one of the towers was collapsing. Work was immediately suspended and labourers evacuated from the construction site.
One of the workers, Rin, said construction work on the exterior was 100% complete and the work on the interior was due to be completed by June in time to accept residents.
The Bangkok Post Sunday was the first media outlet allowed onto the site and toured it with Thanes Weerasiri, secretary-general of the Engineering Institute of Thailand and a lecturer at Thammasat University, who is considered the country's leading expert on building collapses.
Mr Thanes dismissed reports that the building had collapsed due to ground instability caused by the 2011 floods or it being built on a drained pond. The building has a six degree lean on the northern side.
"No one can really tell what caused the building to tilt because no one can go into the area to conduct a detailed examination to determine the reason for collapse," Mr Thanes said. "The whole area is too sensitive and we don't want to do anything to make it worse."
After an initial inspections on Monday, Mr Thanes said he had three theories on what caused the collapse: the condition of the soil, the position of the foundation piles and the size of the foundation piles and their placement.
"Both buildings have the foundation piles 21m underground as required by law," he said. "Therefore, the buildings should be able to stay up without collapsing."
Mr Thanes said one positive was that the building was leaning north, and if it collapsed it would fall away from established residences. He added he did not believe there was much to worry about but he had asked Ku Kot municipality to monitor the building every hour.
Residents from the Pummarin housing estate said they were not worried about the building collapsing.
Maew, 43, who lives opposite the leaning building said her brother was home alone on Sunday when he heard a "sonic boom" about 10pm.
He ran outside, saw other neighbours alerted by the sound, and drove to a relative's house.
"My brother called me and we decided not to come home until the following morning," she said. "It was quite a shocking image when I saw the building lean that much to its side. I couldn't sleep for the first few days, but now the municipality confirmed that it won't fall. Even if it falls, it will be in the opposite direction from our housing estate."
Sin, 52, who has a business near the towers, says he won't be moving.
"I don't see any point of closing my business and moving out from the area since it doesn't look that dangerous. If the situation gets worse or there is a chance that the building might fall down, I will be happy to evacuate," he said.
About the author
- Writer: Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai