PHUKET TOWN: A Public Works officer has warned would-be buyers of townhouses that they must be sure the structure of the building is safe before they buy. Khun Nakonthon Kittisittho, chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Works Office, issued the warning following the collapse of a row of townhouses in Bangkok earlier this month. “My advice to would-be home buyers is that, first, they should find out how strong the foundations of the house are. If the main structure of the house is strong enough, it won’t collapse.” Second, he said, buyers should understand that they may not build extra floors onto a house without proper plans drawn up by an engineer and permission from a local government office. “Before you buy a house or townhouse, you should ask the owner for the plans. Then seek advice from an engineer, or someone you know who really knows about construction. If in the future you want to expand the structure, you can show the plans to an engineer who will tell you whether it is possible or not. “Expanding one townhouse may make neighbouring townhouses collapse. Anyone who lives in a townhouse of more than two floors may complain to any local government officer if another townhouse in the row is expanded without permission.” He also gave advice on the warning signs of a poor structure. “If there are cracks in your house, you can tell whether they are dangerous or not. Generally, there is no danger if the cracks run vertically or horizontally. But if the crack is diagonal, it can be dangerous. It may mean that your townhouse is about to collapse. You should call an engineer immediately.”
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