Fate of Oriental II, Park View apts to be decided by mid-MarchThe fate of two high-rise apartment buildings that were declared unsafe for use due to damage suffered during the 2015 earthquake will likely be decided by mid-March.
The fate of two high-rise apar-tment buildings that were declared unsafe for use due to damage suffered during the 2015 earthquake will likely be decided by mid-March.
The government had given red stickers to the Park View Horizon at Dhapasi and the Oriental Apartment Phase II at Kuleshwor for being unsafe for habitation, and it will issue a final decision after studying reports of a Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA).
According to the Depart-ment of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) Division Office Kathmandu, they have prepared a DDA report and hired a consultant to study it. The builders of the two properties have also submitted DDA reports prepared by a third party. “The consultant will study the DDA report prepared by the government team and crosscheck it with the DDA reports submitted by the builders,” said Basanta Kumar Rai, division chief of the Division Office Kathmandu.
According to Rai, the consultant will submit a report to the government by February 11. The DUDBC will then hold a meeting with stakeholders before giving a final verdict on the two buildings.
Due to dillydallying by government authorities and the builders, the quake-damaged buildings have been left as they are without any protection work to keep them stable, posing a serious threat to the people residing nearby. The 165 households located around the Park View Horizon have been living with constant fear of the building possibly collapsing on them in case of a tremor. The DUDBC has just four engineers among its staff, two of whom are structural engineers. Lack of adequate manpower is among the major reasons for the delay in assessing the status of the earthquake impacted buildings.
The Oriental Apartment and the Park View Horizon had submitted their DDA reports in August 2015. However, the government did not accept them citing lack of proper details and clarity.
The Oriental succeeded in submitting the DDA report by the second deadline of mid-June. The other property builder took some time to submit its DDA report. After receiving the reports, the government had asked both of them to conduct a Seismic Vulnerability Assessment.
The government had declared two out of the 40 apartment buildings in Kathmandu untenantable after completing a Rapid Post-Disaster Damage Assessment of all the inhabited high-rises in the valley. The Park View Horizon and the Oriental Apartment Phase II were declared unsafe for immediate use and given red stickers by the DUDBC. Likewise, 31 apartment buildings had got yellow stickers which means they can be used after appropriate repairs. Seven high-rises were awarded green stickers which means they are safe to live in.
According to a DUDBC source, both the apartments are likely to receive a clearance certificate soon. “As per our study, most of the apartments including the Park View and Oriental suffered damage to the wall and ornamental parts. There are rare cases of damage to the pillars and beams,” the source said.
According to Rai, if the consultant concludes that the building can be inhabited, they will then seek a plan from the developer. “Both developers have also given us a treatment plan along with the DDA report. We will review them and then direct them to take appropriate measures,” Rai said, adding that going by the DDA of the DUDBC, the developers will have to retrofit the properties.
As per DUDBC records, it has given permission for the construction of 70 high-rise buildings in Kathmandu. Of them, the construction work of 56 has been completed, 31 apartments have settlements, 14 are being used for different purposes, and 11 are under construction.
According to the Nepal Land and Housing Developers’ Association, an organisation of real estate companies, more than 4,000 families live in apartment buildings in the Kathmandu Valley.