Structural engineers have decided to attempt the repair of a colonial-era building on Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay that has been severely damaged by an adjacent building project, according to the owner of one of the damaged properties.
Olivier de Bernon, director of studies at Ecole Francaise de l’Extreme-Orient and the owner of a second-floor apartment in the damaged 1920s-era building, said yesterday that three engineers representing the property owners, district authorities and the Vattanac firm had met on Saturday. All agreed that building new, interior support pillars could save the building.
“Our worry now is that once the plan has been approved, we execute the plan. Once again, I am very vigilant,” Mr de Bernon said.
“The building is going to be reinforced by fleshing out the walls with reinforced concrete, and the number of pillars will be doubled,” he said.
“What is a bit strange in this affair is the total absence of communication and good faith on the part of the people who hold the [site] next door,” he added.
Damage to the building became visible in early July after the firm—which, according to architectural plans, is called Sam Ang Vattanac Company—began digging the foundations for an underground parking garage. Since then, two businesses have shut down, and residents have moved out for fear of the building collapsing.
Mr de Bernon also said that the repair work would only be done to the first two shop fronts next to the buildings site and the properties above. It is still unclear if damaged properties further away will also undergo repair work.
Although architectural plans show that Sam Ang Vattanac Company is behind the building site, a representative for Vattanac Properties, Prak Sideth, who had acted on behalf of the Sisowath Quay site, has denied that the Vattanac firm has any link with the project.
Mr Sideth could not be reached for comment yesterday.
(Additional reporting by Phann Ana)
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