PROPERTY / BUILDING SAFETY REGULATIONS
High-rise building owners need to speed up the building inspection as the December deadline for complying with new inspection rules has already passed.
The law, enacted by the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, required nine types of buildings to be inspected by Dec 31. They include high-rises of more than 23 metres, large buildings with an area of more than 10,000 sq m, and community buildings with an area of more than 1,000 sq m or a capacity of more than 500 people.
Building owners who fail to comply may face maximum penalties of three months imprisonment and/or a 60,000- baht fine, and daily fines of 10,000 baht.
Surapol Pongthaipat, a senior department official, said that about 75% of buildings required to have inspections nationwide had met the deadline. However, many building owners were still worried about the fees and some were afraid that the uses of buildings were different from what had been stated in the original construction permits.
However, he said, the department treated both issues separately as inspections focused on the safety of building users, covering emergency systems and equipment.
In fact, the majority of buildings in Thailand are not used exactly as originally stated but the inspection process had nothing to do with that issue, he said.
Many building owners have complained that they cannot supply blueprints, but Mr Surapol said the authorities wanted only simple floor plans in order to determine which areas were used for which purpose. This will help them check to see whether there are any changes in usage in subsequent inspections.
Vithaya Kiatthakol from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said that about 3,400 buildings, out of 5,380 required to comply with the regulation, had already submitted inspection reports. Of total inspected buildings, 2,985 met the deadline.
He said local authorities had some problems as it was the first time and the guidelines were very specific. Officials need documents to develop a database, such as building blueprints for safety systems, construction permits, and building ownership details.
Samphan Panphat of the Thai Hotels Association said hoteliers were fed up with the inspection requirements of different government agencies, saying the government should find a way to integrate all requirements into one inspection to reduce headaches for building owners.
He said many hoteliers had not yet finished inspections as there were only 12 accredited inspectors available, who would charge only one baht per square metre. Inspections are required for all hotels with more than 80 rooms.
Mr Samphan said that authorities only started accrediting inspectors in March last year, so businesses should be given two years after that time to comply with the regulations. Currently, there are about 140 registered inspection companies and 1,300 registered individual inspectors.
Asavin Pitchayayothin, an expert on the Building Control Act, said some inspectors would charge one baht per sq m but would reduce the rate to 0.75-0.85 baht per sq m for buildings with more than 100,000 sq m of usable area.
He said that in addition to high-rises, about 5,800 industrial buildings of more than two storeys with over 5,000 sq m had to be inspected, a fact many owners did not realise.
ที่มา : Bangkok Post
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