detached houses in Ashae Pyi Thar Yeik Mon, Dagon township,
were built in 2004 by Chan Tha Construction but it remains
unclear if they will stand the test of time.
CONSTRUCTION industry experts say many private builders may have
overlooked an important necessity – building high-quality
properties – in their bid to build accommodation for Yangon’s
U Aung Moe, a senior engineer at Ah Yone Oo Construction, says
it worries him that many new or relatively new buildings in Yangon
have deteriorated only about a decade after they were built.
“It is a safety concern for people living in those buildings,”
U Aung Moe says.
“There are many buildings in Yangon that still look solid,
even after 100 years, but we will have to wait to see how long
these newer buildings will last.”
Private builders, he says, tend to compromise on the quality
of their workmanship by using cheaper construction materials to
lower their costs. This is done, he says, to make the buildings
more commercially viable.
“However, there are a lot of other ways to make a building
commercially viable and still guarantee the safety of any occupants,”
“In my opinion you can always use lower-priced materials
for exterior and interior decoration to cut costs, but builders
should never do cut corners on the actual structure,” he
Ah Yone Oo Construction has built many new, modern buildings
in Yangon – including Sedona Hotel, Summit Park View Hotel
and the new Singapore embassy. The company has also been involved
in the construction of the new American embassy on Pyay Road,
which some sources say cost about US$60 million.
With so much building going on, by his company and others, U
Aung Moe thinks municipal authorities should set up a regulatory
body to closely monitor construction of residential buildings
to guarantee safety.
However, U Lazarus, managing director of Yadnar Shwe Htun, a
company that has built more than 40 residential apartments in
downtown Yangon over the past seven years, says residents should
bear some responsibility for the deterioration of new buildings.
“In my opinion, newer buildings in Yangon are safely constructed
and most damage is caused during renovation work that is done
improperly after the apartment is handed over to the new owners,”
He also says the quality of property development has been improving
over the past five years because municipal authorities have paid
closer attention to quality control, pointing to soil tests as
“Soil tests to determine the safety of every building’s
foundation have become compulsory for every new building in the
past three years,” U Lazarus says.
Daw Soe Soe Win, development manager at Chin Su Myanmar Company,
says the company, which is focussing on building affordable shop
houses in Hlaing Tharyar township, is not using reinforced concrete
in the construction.
She says the idea is to maintain quality but lower the price.
And it seems to be working with consumers, although time will
tell whether or not the buildings can survive the ravages of time.
“We have made strong sales of those shop houses since
we started building them last year. They are a quarter of the
price of the bungalows and shop houses we built earlier in that
area,” Daw Soe Soe Win says.
“Apart from their cheaper price they are suitable for
most consumers who want to buy a property where they can live
and do business,” Daw Soe Soe Win says.
She says the company has been developing residential zones on
more than 200 acres of land in Hlaing Tharyar, about 15 miles
west of Yangon, since 1994.
Whether builders in Yangon’s construction industry can
attain the goal of providing safe, cheap housing for the population
is something that only time will show. But safety provisions –
like compulsory soil tests – are certainly a step in the