The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has further improved the knowledge of its officials – to improve their important work of construction evaluation and ensure they have an in-depth understanding of the legal standards of construction management in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The officials have also been taught procedures that will help them coordinate their work more effectively, with the aim of improving the cultural value of the Angkor area via the preservation of traditional Khmer architectural forms.

On March 2, ANA held a training course on “Standards in Land and Construction Management in Angkor site” for 100 participants. Attendees included officials from the ANA’s departments of Public Order and Land and Habitat Management in Angkor Park, and students from the Royal University of Fine Arts’s Faculty of Architecture.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal said this training aimed to provide valuable knowledge to field staff as they are the ones who communicate directly with the people living at the site. Their duties include overseeing new construction and preventing illegal structure.

The training also included lessons on the legal standards of construction management and evaluation and sought to disseminate an understanding of the work carried out by the ANA as part of its management of the Angkor World Heritage Site.

“The main purpose was to improve the skill sets of our officials. A secondary goal was to reach out to the public – especially architecture students – and make them more aware of the standards related to uniquely Khmer architecture,” he said.

He said the ANA encourages people to maintain traditional Khmer architecture-style homes in the Angkor site. It also prepared guidelines for traditional village layouts which would further preserve the cultural value of the area.

“When we first took management of the Angkor park, we took note of the living conditions of our villagers. They have their own unique features and it is important that we preserve them. These features are no longer visible in major town and districts,” he added.

The keynote speaker, Sim Bunthoeun – deputy director of the land and habitat management department – presented four main points to the participants.

He discussed legal matters, including land management and use, denial of construction and construction permits.

Attendees learned about Khmer housing construction – general characteristics and the different types of traditional Khmer house, along with their technical characteristics and decoration.

Changes in Khmer housing construction were the third item on his agenda.

Finally, he ensured that participants left the course with a clear understanding of the ANA’s guiding principles of managing traditional houses in the Angkor Park.