THE Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) said a detailed engineering forensic investigation must be carried out to determine what caused the sinkholes to appear in the Bukit Bintang area.
“Until a detailed investigation is carried out, it is not possible to confirm whether the burst pipeline caused the collapse, or the movement of soil because of excavation, caused the pipeline to be stressed and burst,’’ said IEM deputy president Tan Yean Chin.
Tan said investigators must determine if there was a proper plan for the temporary work and methodology of construction at the site and if so, was it carried out by a professional engineer with relevant experiences in geotechnical work.
They also need to ascertain if the collapse was caused by temporary work (such as the support system for the excavation and tunnelling), that caused the soil to move, and induced stress to the water pipeline and caused it to burst.
Or was the soil movement caused by a burst pipe, as contended by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
Tan also questioned if the movement of soil and burst pipe had been observed some time ago, and what precautionary measures were carried out by the contractor, if any.
“What did the consultant advise? Usually in the construction industry, for any excavation or tunnelling work, a good practice is to carry out remedial and precautionary measures if movement occurred or other distress signals are observed to prevent aggravating the situation further,’’ said Tan, who is also a geotechnical engineer.
He said all temporary work such as shoring, excavation and support systems to facilitate the construction of the permanent structure should be properly designed, endorsed and supervised by professional engineers.
“Currently there are no clear guidelines or rules requiring that the design and construction methodology of temporary work carried out by the contractor should be supervised by professional engineers,” he added.