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Land Ministry toughens measures to guarantee safety at building sites

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Cambodian labourers work on a high-rise building construction site in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Land Ministry toughens measures to guarantee safety at building sites

A day after officials were instructed to check construction projects nationwide, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction on Friday issued another directive to the relevant authorities and construction companies in the Kingdom to enforce the Law on Construction.

The directive was issued together with some standard legal letters.

Projects without a valid permit to build, repair structures, or open construction sites are to be banned, said the ministry.

Builders that do not hold ministry-issued licences or certification letters to conduct business are also barred from building or demolishing structures.

The construction and demolition of buildings without the onsite supervision of engineers are also prohibited.

“Those without formal reason or duty to be in construction sites will not be allowed to enter. The use of all sorts of materials that do not bear certifications or legal standard letters provided by competent authorities are also banned,” the ministry said.

If violated, a letter for the immediate suspension of construction will be issued, after which the authorities will build a case to be sent to court, the ministry warned.

To guarantee the security and safety of construction sites, the ministry has authorised the police to conduct onsite inspections to ensure that safety and legal precautions are observed.

The police were also tasked to verify permits of construction companies, which are issued by the ministry.

Concerning the onslaught of issues facing the construction sector following a series of structural failures and collapses which took many lives, the ministry ordered officials on Thursday to check construction sites across the country.

Ministry secretary of state Tep Thon was assigned as the task force’s president. Lao Tip Seiha and Leang Monyrith were appointed vice-presidents.

Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC) president Sok Kin supported the government’s initiative and requested that the notice be followed strictly.

“The police have started suspending some substandard buildings in provinces, including a factory in Kampong Speu province and an11-storey building in Banteay Meanchey.

“These suspensions are proof that the authorities are now making changes and rectifying the loopholes in the country’s construction sector,” he said.

However, Kin expressed doubts that the measures will be implemented effectively. He said similar notices had been issued before but to no avail.

Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment by press time.

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