Friday, 4 November 2016

Building Structure Failures in Malaysia 2015 to 2016

A lot of structures failure in Malaysia either the building still under construction or have been completed and it was occupied. It might be the interest of public to understand why such things can be happened even thought a lot of precautions at site construction based on IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct have been taken into consideration.

In this topic, a few of construction projects that facing structure failure have been highlighted as contemporary issues in order to support the statement of professionalism of an engineer that cannot be taught by regurgitating IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct nor by memorising a set of rules.

1. A Concrete Water Storage Tank Under-Construction Collapsed at University Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) 

A construction worker is reported by New Straits Times online portal was died when the concrete water storage tank under-construction collapsed on him while he is mixing cement and the other two workers were injured in an incident at University Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) on 20th October 2016 around 3pm.

The possible cause of this failure might be due to the structure of the concrete water storage tank could not withstand its self weight.

2. Two Workers Buried in 6m Mud of Construction Site at Jalan Segambut Dalam 

A Bangladeshi construction worker died after buried in 6m mudslide under PLUS Highway bridge when the structure that they working on for a building construction of a condominium project collapsed at Jalan Segambut Dalam, Kuala Lumpur on 30th August 2016 that reported by Astro Awani online portal.

Samsol Maarif Saibani who is a Fire and Rescue Department Kuala Lumpur (FRDKL) Operations Division officer said that there is another local worker also trapped in the mud together with the Bangladeshi corpse at the initial investigation. However, a 28 years old local man worker was rescued and sent to Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment.

The cause of this structure failure might be due to the strength of the foundations were weaken by the water from rainfall trapped in the soil layer beneath the structure that need self-awareness and agreement of a professional engineer on the importance of rules and regulations in order to carry out any works at site construction.

3. Indonesian Worker Dies after a Building Under-Construction Collapsed at Jalan New Ferry, Penang

On 9th August 2016, part of a building under-construction collapsed on an Indonesian worker at Jalan New Ferry food court Penang that reported by New Straits Times Online portal. The spokesman of Fire and Rescue Department said that the corpse was trapped in between the debris.

The possible cause of this structure failure might be due to the negligence of standard operating procedure (SOPs) which is the important elements in this SOP including experience, knowledge, and commitment in order to deliver the best method of building construction to the industry.

4. A Floor of a Building Under-Construction Collapse in Petaling Jaya

Six Bangladeshi injured when the temporary works used for slab installation were collapsed on them at the fourth floor of a building under construction. The incident happened around 9.00 am on 15th May 2016 at Persiaran Barat, Petaling Jaya. The building is constructed for office suites and two-multi level parking blocks and then temporarily stopped after the incident happened.

According to Ir. Tan Yean Chin who is the President of Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), the main causes of temporary structures’ collapse are lack of safety consideration at the design stage, improper or bad construction practice, using of inferior materials, lack of enforcement, and lack of maintenance.

5. Three Foreign Workers Injured after the Floor of a Factory Building Under-Construction Collapsed at Bayan Lepas

400-tonnes of concrete floor of a six-floor factory building under-construction fallen under the Bangladeshi workers were working on the first floor at Bayan Lepan, George Town on 17th March 2016.

The incident cause of these workers experienced a serious head and back injuries with broken hands and legs.

The investigation carried out by the State Fire and Rescue Department at the site construction found that the failure was caused by the floor structure itself could not sustained the load of concrete frame, said the department’s deputy director Mohamad Shoki Hamzah and this statement was reported by Astro Awani online portal.

6. Four Foreign Workers Escape Death after Structure of a Shop House Under-Construction Collapses at Telok Gong, Port Klang

The structure of second floor collapsed when the workers were carrying out the concrete works on the first floor of a double-storey shop lot at Telok Gong, Port Klang on 23rd January 2016 around 3pm.

Building Structure Failures in Malaysia 2015 to 2016

One out of four workers rushed to the Tunku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang for treatment due to broken arm and another three workers experienced light injuries said Mohd Sani Harul who is the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations.

The structures are not strong enough that caused collapsed might be the possible reason why the second floor collapsed while the first floor did not affected by the loading of rubble fell on it. It shows that the structure of the first floor at the part of building under-construction is stronger than the structure of second floor.

7. Two Foreign Construction Workers Escape Death after a Scaffoldig Crash near Abdullah Hukum LRT Station

Two foreign construction workers escape death when the scaffolding suddenly fell from the structure of first floor while they were levelling cement on the ground floor of a building under-construction near Abdullah Hukum LRT Station on 27th June 2016 around 11.21pm.

The Bangladesh worker suffered broken waist while the Myanmar national sustained minor hand injuries said Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Operations assistant director Azizan Ismail to Bernama.

The major contribution to this incident might be due to the structure of scaffolding is not connected properly and causing it could not withstand the heavy and continuous loading during construction process. The engineer should check the safety of scaffolding structure regularly.

8. Three Killed, Six Injured When a Parking Lot Under-Construction Collapsed at Pulau Sebang, Alor Gajah

There are three Myanmar construction workers died and six other workers were injured when the structure of parking of a shopping mall under construction collapsed after the removal of the staging from the hardened concrete floor in Pulau Sebang, Alor Gajah.

The incident happened on 22nd June 2015 around 2.15 pm which cause those three men died on the spot according to the State Police Chief, Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye that reported by New Straits Times Online portal.

In a building construction, curing of concrete is the important process because the duration of curing determined the strength of a concrete structure. If this process was neglected then it might be the possible cause of this parking lot under-construction collapsed because this structure could not withstand its loading when the stagings were removed.


Based on the examples of building structures failure in previous issues, it can be understood that the best way to enhance the professionalism of an engineer is by involvement in a lot of projects with the right of code of ethic practices.

For example, in the case of floor collapse in PJ building on 15th May 2016 temporary structure such as temporary supporting system or formwork is a critical element for safety construction plan that need a professional engineer to perform the proper structural design and service in order to comply with in accordance with Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) guidelines.

Meanwhile in the case of two workers buried in 6m mud of construction site at Jalan Segambut Dalam, a Professional Engineer has the responsibility to consider the safety of site condition such as soil and structure condition as well.

The construction works should not in progress after heavy rain occurs at the location because the foundation structure might be fail due to the strength of soil was decreased by continuous water infiltrated beneath the soil. Besides that, the safety of workers needs to be considered as a first priority because it involved human lives.  


In conclusion, professionalism of an engineer cannot be taught by regurgitating IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct nor by memorising a set of rules.

It means that, the set of rules and IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct are introduction and basic qualifying requirement and essential guidelines that all members must remember.

Hence, self-awareness, self-discipline, continuous professional development, mentor system and agreement on the importance of rules and regulations are the way to develop professionalism of an engineer.


Dermawan, A. (2016). Indonesian worker dies after under-construction building in Penang collapses. Retrieved Oct 25, 2016, from New Straits Times Online:

Achariam, T. (2016). Two buried in 6m mud in freak accident (Updated). Retrieved Oct 25, 2016, from The Sun Daily:

Mohd, H. (2016). Construction worker buried alive in Taman Segambut landslip tragedy. Retrieved Oct 25, 2016, from New Straits Times Online:

Awani, A. (2016). Structure collapse in Segambut, two construction workers buried. Retrieved Oct 2016, from Astro Awani:

Koh, K. (2015). Three killed, six injured when building floor collapsed. Retrieved Oct 26, 2016, from New Straits Times Online:

Awani, A. (2016). Two workers seriously injured by collapsing floor in Bayan Lepas. Retrieved Oct 26, 2016, from Astro Awani:

Lim, J., Priya, S. S., & Menon, P. (2016). DBKL and councils have a system in place to monitor construction sites but all safety aspects come under DOSH. Retrieved Oct 26, 2016, from The Star Online:

1 comment: