Prime Minister Hun Sen has commented on the challenges facing the construction sector in Cambodia, saying “The challenges to be addressed are quality of buildings and the strengthening of human resources working on the construction sites: there must be a balance between quality and quantity.”
Since early 2011 until now, the real estate and construction sector in Cambodia, which had collapsed for almost three years, has begun emerging gradually amid a better global economy, as well as benefitting from the strong attention paid by the Royal Government through tax reductions on the import of machinery from overseas and the introduction of a legislation allowing foreigners the right to privately own co-ownership buildings.
The policy of improving real estate and construction has seen construction investment projects moving forward remarkably quickly; within the first two months of 2012, construction projects nationwide have increased 43 per cent, compared to the same period in 2011.
Although the construction sector in Cambodia is on an upward path, the sector still has some worrying issues, such as construction quality, a shortage of skilled workers, rising price of houses, and supplies of requirement-based houses.
Mr. Tous Saphoeun, Dean of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Pannasastra University, expressed his deep concern over the quality of some buildings currently being constructed. He is appealing to the Royal Government as well as the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction to increase inspections on the legal compliance with regard to construction quality rather than quantity.
He said “the laws on Cambodian construction quality are still lax if compared with other countries in the region. The lack of construction quality in Cambodia results from the low enforcement of construction quality inspection”. He mentioned that some construction developers embezzle construction budgets through the use of construction materials not in compliance with the legal standards, such as steel, rock and cement.
Mr. Chrek Soknim, Vice Director of Vtrust Real Estate Company, mentioned that the narrow market in Cambodia is an issue, but the issue of construction quality for investors is also an issue. The strength of some buildings have not become clear yet, while the quality of some buildings is unacceptable.
To restore construction quality, some necessary measures must be implemented, while permits for construction must be restricted, together with inspections on construction quality, he said.
Construction investors in some areas said strengthening construction quality is the most necessary thing for investors, in order to attract customers. If a house has a good design as a standard, they will easily be able to sell those houses, as customers believe in the qualities of the building work.