Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MOVE TO MINIMISE RISK: Engineering solution now required for developments on Class 3 slopes

ALOR STAR: THE Housing and Local Government Ministry will impose stricter rules for hillside development projects to prevent landslides like the ones which occurred in Puncak Setiawangsa and Putra Heights in Selangor.

Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung said housing developers would be required to prepare a complete engineering solution for development projects on slopes with a gradient of 25 degrees to 35 degrees, also known as Class 3 slopes, with immediate effect.

"In some circumstances, we can only plan but cannot avoid incidents such as landslides from occurring as they are controlled by God," he said here yesterday.

"However a comprehensive engineering solution will help reduce the risk and minimise damage in the event of soil erosion at the site.

"Although it would be costly for housing developers to come out with an engineering solution, the government is left with no choice as the safety of the people is our priority."

Chor, who is also Alor Star member of parliament, was asked if the government had plans to bar developments projects on hillslopes.

He urged developers to replicate the engineering solution adopted by housing development firms in Hong Kong.

He said most properties in Hong Kong were built on hillslopes due to the territory's geography. Developers in Hong Kong had come out with a commendable engineering solution, such as land reclamation and building retaining walls.

"There were a few landslides in the northern region of Hong Kong but the damage was not critical."

Chor said at the moment, a ban on hillside housing projects only applied to slopes with a gradient of more than 35 degrees, or Class 4 slopes.

As for Class 3 slopes, only developers with an engineering solution would be allowed to carry out the projects.

Chor said local authorities had been instructed to carry out annual audits on houses on hillslopes to help check soil erosion.

On Dec 28, a landslide occurred at Puncak Setiawangsa, causing a 50m concrete embankment to partially collapse. The incident forced families and shop operators at the bottom of the slope to evacuate the premises. The following week, a landslide occurred at Bukit Cermin in Persiaran Putra Bahagia, Putra Heights, Subang Jaya.

Workers shoring up an area hit by landslide in Persiaran Putra Bahagia, Putra Heights, Subang Jaya, yesterday. 

 Pic by Syarafiq Abd Samad

Read more: New rules for hillside projects - General - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/new-rules-for-hillside-projects-1.196759?localLinksEnabled=false=03%2F%24m.local.facebook_userinfo.pic_square%3Fpage%3D0#ixzz2HSVSLDwB

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