Abide by earthquake-resistant standards, local authorities told (21.7.15)

Only the federal government and Kuala Lumpur City Hall are adhering to the standards for earthquake resistance for buildings. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 21, 2015. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/citynews/greater-kl/article/abide-by-earthquake-resistant-standards-local-authorities-told#sthash.KeYX8ayi.dpuf

Only the federal government and Kuala Lumpur City Hall are adhering to the standards for earthquake resistance for buildings. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 21, 2015. – See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/citynews/greater-kl/article/abide-by-earthquake-resistant-standards-local-authorities-told#sthash.KeYX8ayi.dpuf

Local authorities (LAs) in the states have been urged to adhere to the Department of Standards Malaysia’s guidelines on earthquake-resistant structures in their future buildings besides inspecting their existing buildings to ensure they meet the criteria.

“They (LAs) have to make sure that every owner of the building follows the standards for earthquake resistance for every building they have completed,” the department’s director-general Datuk Fadilah Baharin told Bernama.

At the moment, only the federal government and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) are adhering to the standards, she said.

“They (those not following the standards) do not see the consequences, they think earthquakes won’t happen in Malaysia, but then it happened (in Ranau, Sabah).

“So now after that, we have to improve (in our adherence to standards),” she said.

It would cost about RM55 million to repair and rebuild structures damaged by the recent earthquake in Ranau, including several schools, she said, adding LAs should include adherence to the standards as a condition when issuing certificates of fitness for buildings.

“The existing standards are adequate, but no one is using them. There is no point in coming up with the standards if nobody uses them,” Fadilah said, pointing out that the standards have not been followed due to lack of enforcement and the additional cost they entail.

“It’s a mentality problem. It’s time for change, especially for our LAs and also developers, they need to become less stingy in spending their money on their projects, in order to ensure safety.

“The buildings in Ranau are old, and for maintenance purposes, the LA there should impose the Malaysia standards for buildings,” said Fadilah, who expressed hope the LAs would come and see her to identify which standards should be applied for their particular conditions.

“For the public, I hope they demand for their safety, if not from their LA then from me directly, on which standards their present building should adhere to.

“If they demand, if we create the pressure, by default the LA has no choice but to impose the relevant standards,” she said. – July 21, 2015.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/citynews/greater-kl/article/abide-by-earthquake-resistant-standards-local-authorities-told#sthash.KeYX8ayi.dpuf

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