A tall order to keep skyscrapers in tip top condition


Towering tasks: About RM200,000 a month is spent on maintenance to keep skyscrapers such as Komtar in George Town shining in all their urban glory.

GEORGE TOWN: Shiny skyscrapers, with glass windows that glisten in the sun are a sight to behold. But a lot of work goes into keeping them in all their urban glory.

Take Komtar in Penang, for example.

On average, about RM200,000 a month was spent on maintenance alone, said a spokesman from PDC Setia Urus, the state’s management company in charge of the building.

He said the tower’s windows and exterior wall would get a wash every few years and this was done by specialist contractors.

“The maintenance work is conducted by our own maintenance team as well as contract service providers,” said the spokesman.

Other maintenance work includes soft services such as cleaning and pest control, mechanical and engineering systems maintenance while exterior maintenance involves civil works.

Cleaners  at work on Komtar’s  4th floor. — CHAN BOON KAI and ZHAFARAN NASIB/The StarCleaners at work on Komtar’s 4th floor. — CHAN BOON KAI and ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Completed in 1985, Komtar is the first skyscraper in Malaysia and was 65 storeys high before it was topped up with an extra three floors during refurbishment in 2015. The renovation was simply called The Top.

The Penang landmark also held the distinction of being Asia’s second tallest tower then, second only to Sunshine 60 in Tokyo.

It stands at 232m-tall and held the title of Malaysia’s tallest tower for three years. It remains Penang’s tallest building.

Komtar, or Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, was named after Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who launched the piling works in 1974.

The mega project was conceptualised as a city within a city. It was a vision of then Penang chief minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu to revitalise the urban centre of George Town.

The present rejuvenation plan, launched in 2012, is to bring back the golden days of the iconic landmark as a leading public and business centre. It began with the setting up of Penang’s first Urban Transformation Centre, housing various government agencies, in August 2020.

Meanwhile, one of the tallest apartments in George Town, The Rise Collection 2, has its own routine check-ups, too.

Boasting 47 floors and 1,048 units, the building is now about 70% occupied, said building manager John Neoh.

“We conduct daily routine checks of all mechanical and electrical systems. We do a thorough interior cleaning every year-end,” he said.

Neoh said the general maintenance and cleaning were conducted by service providers and cost about RM100,000 monthly.

Completed in 2016, The Rise Collection 2 at Chelliah Park City is a leasehold apartment block in the heart of George Town near Jalan Datuk Keramat, with units ranging between 700sq ft and 1,000sq ft.

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