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Follow the law, minister tells construction sector

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A six-storey building in Kep province collapsed on January 3, killing 36 and injuring 23. Heng Chivoan

Follow the law, minister tells construction sector

Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara on Tuesday called on construction contractors and operators to implement the Law on Construction and adhere to the technical standards and regulations set forth by it.

He said this at the opening ceremony of a seminar that aims to educate and train professionals in the construction sector concerning the new law.

The training was meant to inform construction companies to obtain the necessary certificates to conduct business.

Operators without a certificate issued by the ministry will face an inquiry. If any irregularity is found, those involved will be held accountable before the law, said Sophara.

The event was attended by around 4,000 engineers, architects, construction operators and contractors at a hotel in the capital on Tuesday.

“We did not have the law before, but now we do. So believe me, I will implement it without fail. If this law did not exist, I wouldn’t know what to do.

“In the past, we had to beg them to construct buildings according to quality and safety standards but they did not listen to us. Now, I won’t have to beg those operators anymore. We will enforce the law.

“We will conduct an inspection and prepare the documents before sending them to court so the prosecutor can summon those who violate the law,” Sophara stressed.

The Law on Construction, he said, must ensure safety and security for construction workers and the public. The law was also put into place to promote the Kingdom’s real estate sector which, in turn, will boost economic growth.

Chrek Soknim, the president of Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said following the past two incidents of building collapses, the ministry had been pushing for better quality and standards of construction work in the Kingdom.

He expressed support for the implementation of the law and the increasing regard for occupational safety at construction sites.

“The new law will add to the duties of operators and contractors who will now carry the task of having to deal with their workers’ accommodation. The law no longer allows workers to reside in construction sites.

“This law affects operators but we are working on resolving the details together,” said Soknim.

Ty Bunny, a member of the Asean Engineering Register, said although the new construction law significantly contributes to the sector, it still needs some revisions and amendments.

“We looked at the articles under this law and found that the provisions still lack some points. Why did they create this law? This law provides a lot of benefits but I don’t know how they would go about implementing it. We’ll have to wait and see,” said Bunny.

Suo Chhlonh, a relations officer at the Cambodian Construction and Forest Worker Union Federation, applauded Sophara’s commitment to implementing the law.

He also urged for its transparent and fair enforcement, regardless of whoever was involved.

Chhlonh noted that construction companies must direct due attention to its workers as they are the ones who would first sustain injuries should an accident happen.

So, construction companies must prepare proper accommodations for their workers. They must be provided with proper safety equipment and food too, he said.

“I believe we should reinforce the work of inspection officials because some of them ignore their duties and don’t pay much attention to their work.

“Besides, if any irregularity is found at any construction site, action must be taken immediately,” he stressed.

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