Soil settlement solution in sight

William showing the gap between the ground and bottom of Taman Teluk Gedung Indah low-cost flats. — SS KANESAN /The Star

AFTER more than a decade of living in fear that their building would collapse, residents of Taman Teluk Gedung Indah (TTGI) low-cost flats in Port Klang, are hopeful that a solution can be found to the soil settlement issue.

Over the years, a huge gap began to form between the ground and bottom of the flats.

Resident William Selvernathan, 32, who had moved out from Taman Kem Rumah Panjang into the low-cost flats in August 2006 with his parents, said he had noticed hairline cracks and gradual soil settlement as far back as March 2008 in many units.

“As the months passed, the gap between the two blocks and the ground widened to about 45cm and this caused panic among those living here.”

TTGI flats are sandwiched between Lorong Sama Gagah 18D and Sungai Klang. They were built to relocate some 150 families from Taman Kem Rumah Panjang where each unit was sold at RM42,000.

Unit owners had moved into TTGI in batches between 2004 and 2006.

MPK president Dr Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin told StarMetro that the Public Works Department’s (JKR) Geotechnical Forensic Division had done a thorough evaluation in March this year.

They had determined that the building was safe to live in.

“JKR engineers are in the midst of drafting up different strategies to stabilise soil settlement in the area,” said Fadzli.

“Several suggestions are being discussed and a proposal on the solution will be forwarded to MPK.”

MPK COB director Hani Suryati Abd Rahman clarified that the municipality only oversaw strata management but was now acting as facilitator to help owners resolve the soil settlement issue.

“Other than COB, the council’s Engineering and Building departments are facilitators,” she said.

“MPK has stepped in because the company that built TTGI flats cannot be traced and this situation involves people’s lives,” she said.

Fadzli, who had visited TTGI flats, said the JKR division had finalised soil investigations on the two blocks of five-storey walk-up flats.

“Based on the findings, a proposal on remedial measures will be firmed up but it will take some weeks.

“Once MPK receives Klang JKR’s proposal, we will have to source for funds from the state to enable work to begin,” he explained.

Hani said MPK had no allocation for rectification works for a private development, but the municipality would table Klang JKR’s detailed proposal on costs and works needed to the Selangor State Economic Planning Unit (Upen), to obtain an allocation.

She confirmed that MPK COB had received more than 10 written complaints on the issue.

William said politicians, non-governmental organisations and MPK officers had been visiting residents since 2008, had taken note of the problem and made promises but nothing had happened so far.

He said there were a total of 200 units in the two blocks but only an estimated 70 units are occupied.

“More people had moved out over the years as they feared the building would collapse.

“But there are still many who stayed back and are forced to live under such circumstances because we are too poor and unable to get alternative housing,” he said.

He complained that there was wastewater pouring out on the grounds and suspected that the sewage pipes and tanks had sunk.

He added that at times, an overpowering stench permeated the area.

William hoped this time, something would be done to fix the soil sinking problem once and for all.

Housewife Normala Mohamad, 40, said other than the soil settlement issue, there were several abandoned units on the top floor as a storm had blown off the roof above these units.

“Those units are in a dilapidated condition and filled with rubbish.

“There have been a number of dengue cases.

“We hope the Selangor government will approve the allocation to remedy the soil settlement, repair the roof and electrical wiring as well as give both blocks a fresh coat of paint,” she said.

Another resident, Ahmad Arif, 32, said soil settlement had left the building sitting on concrete slabs.

“We believe the slabs are now holding up the buildings,” he said.

Klang JKR district engineer Syaharidanisman Mohd Johanis said many buildings along Selangor’s coast suffered similar issues as they were built on marine soil like the TTGI flats.

“If the foundation is not stabilised, eventually the structural integrity of the building will be compromised.

“I believe a possible method to address the problem is to inject cementitious grout into the weak marine clay beneath the foundation,” he said.

Syaharidanisman said Klang JKR should be able to submit the bill of quantities to MPK next month, including specific remedial work methods together with technical drawings as well as the tender documentation that would specify the cost of the project, so that MPK would be able to source for sufficient allocation.

He added that tender documentation would include the total rectification works for both blocks including new roofing, ceiling, electrical wiring, scupper drains, wider drainage, paintwork and repairs to broken sewage tanks and pipes.

Sumber: The Star

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