Reference is made to the recent incident where a wall collapsed in a hotel in Bukit Tinggi, Bentong. As a result, an elderly man and a child were injured, and 90 hotel guests evacuated as a precaution until the authorities finish carrying out investigations. It is fortunate that no lives were lost in this particular incident.
The Malaysian Institute of Architects or Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) would like to reiterate that all new and existing building structures must be strictly regulated in Malaysia. It is important to note that the Uniform Building By-Laws (UBBL) 1984 enacted under the Street Drainage and Building Act 1974 stipulate:
a) All new buildings require submission of plans for approvals prior to construction by a Principal Submitting Person (PSP), i.e. Professional Architect and Engineer;
b) All existing buildings that undergo alteration and/or addition must also prepare plans for approvals prior to construction by a PSP;
c) Part V of the UBBL stipulate the building's STRUCTURAL requirements related to the design and specifications of materials, loadings, foundation and superstructure; in the case of Hotels, these provisions strictly govern the design, specifications and construction of walls, floor and building structure.
Ar. Ezumi Harzani, Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia President, would like to highlight the following:
a) Other than the requisite operating business licenses, hotels must possess a Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) or Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC),
b) Section 85A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1994 require buildings which are 5 storeys and above, exceeding 10 years old, to be inspected by a Structural Engineer;
c) Hotels that have undergone renovation and additions are subjected to CFO / CCC in accordance to changes and/or additions carried out to the structure, walls, doors, facades, mechanical and electrical installations;
d) As hotels are public commercial buildings, they fall into the high fire risk category known as â€˜designated building' under the Fire Services Act (FSA). Designated buildings are required to undergo an annual fire audit before they are issued with a Fire Certificate "FCâ€ by Fire and Rescue Department.
Note: In March 2017, the KL Fire and Rescue Department reported in a local daily only 739 "Designated Premisesâ€ have been issued with FC while 321 applications were still pending. The Department stated that 18,000 buildings have been identified as potentially requiring the FC.
Ar. Anthony Lee from Architect Centre Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of PAM providing Building Safety
Inspection Service) would like to highlight the following:
a) Building owners must be wary of unauthorised renovations or alterations carried out in their properties that may result in structural deficiencies, obstruction to fire escapes,
concealed fire alarms and detectors;
b) We have to stress however, the onus is on building owners to:
I. Avoid carrying out any structural changes without first obtaining building approvals;
II. Fulfil the requirements stipulated in the UBBL and FSA;
III. Maintain and operate hotels safely and within the intended approved design, specification and construction;
IV. Maintain in good working order ALL mechanical and electrical installations in the property;
V. If in doubt of any safety issues, contact PAM or Architect Centre Sdn Bhd Building Inspectors to carry out safety compliance inspections and reports.
Note: Older buildings will usually require more attention as firefighting and electrical equipment become dilapidated and inoperable over time.
On this note, PAM hopes the relevant stakeholders will take this matter into consideration. With the public's understanding and support, PAM hopes to continue to promote the advancement of architecture and the architectural profession for the betterment of society.