Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A chance for builders to employ best practices




A chance for builders to employ best practices

A chance for builders to employ best practices


Phnom Penh’s skyline continues to be transformed by new office towers, dual-use developments and apartment blocks. There is no doubt the construction sector is on the way up but, as the industry is in its infancy, it is interesting to note what standards exist to regulate development, and how do they compare with practices in the developed world.

There is a distinct lack of building regulations in Cambodia, where laws and regulations are young and emerging. There is an adopted set of standards which currently follow American and other leading standards from around the world, but I have found them difficult to locate with low levels of enforcement by building inspectors.

While this might seem to leave too much room for developers to take dangerous shortcuts, the reverse is often true. Developers are choosing to institute their own regulatory structure based on standards in use elsewhere and which surpass those available locally.

Tom Sterling of Sterling Project Management is a leading figure in the construction sector and a member of the Cambodian Board of Engineers, a body established two years ago to champion the development of building codes in the Kingdom.

Sterling said engineers, architects and property professionals have begun “striving to unify a set of international standards” to ensure best practices across the sector.

For now the emphasis remains on self-regulation by developers. Vattanac Tower, for example, was designed by TFP Farrells Ltd, internationally renowned architects with offices in London and Hong Kong. The tower’s Hong Kong-based mechanical and engineering contractor, J Roger Preston Ltd, oversees everything from air-conditioning and lift service to lighting and plumbing.

Ove Arup and Partners, also based in Hong Kong, cover construction management, structural design, fire safety, security and IT issues.

Sam Ang Vattanac of Vattanac Capital said construction of the tower will follow international building codes established by professional consultants and that Vattanac Tower will be built according to Hong Kong building codes, supplemented in some instances by standards in use in the United Kingdom.

A list of codes governing development in Hong Kong can be found on this website: www.bd.gov.hk/english/documents/index_crlist.html
Why bother to self regulate? The motivation is borne out of competition. Developers are driven by returns on investment, which means they are driven to meet the demands of consumers. Given the choice, consumers will opt to rent or buy space in buildings that meet the highest international standards – the better the building, the higher the rent or sale price.

Following Building Codes at the outset of design as opposed to retrofitting is far more cost-effective, saving money in maintenance costs and lower insurance premiums – plain common sense.

In other words, those who take short cuts will pay for it in the long term. Those who build to the best international standards will benefit from better values, better occupancy and that all too important but intangible credential, which is credibility.
____________________
Daniel Parkes is the Cambodia Country Manager for CB Richard Ellis

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,