Demolition of Gol building expected to take longer

Demolition of Gol (round) building is expected to take longer than expected. The nature of the work requiring workers to work cautiously in the heart of the town and the absence of laborers during the Indian elections are some of the prime reasons.

KinSam Construction had started to demolish the building more than three months ago. The six-storied building is supposed to be demolished within six months. So far, more than 50% of the work is complete. Earlier it was difficult to demolish as it involved risks of materials falling and hitting people from the top floors. “The works have to be carried cautiously as materials could hit those walking along the street,” PemaNamgyel, the contractor said.    

He added that removing the double-layered concrete slabs on the floor has delayed the work. Every floor has two slabs, Roller-compacted concrete (RCC) and Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) slab.   “Unlike other buildings today, there are two layers in every slab which is taking time,” he said.     

Now the contractor plans to use concrete breaker and excavators which are viable. It would take an extra month to do the work. The contractor said that no casualty has been reported despite works in a risk-prone zone.

The recent closure of the international border gate due to election in India has also stalled works for four days as the laborers have left for the elections. Around 60 laborers are recruited at the site. They are however working overtime to meet the deadline.       

Also, the erratic weather has disturbed the work. Frequent downpour and wind have barred the workers from working regularly. The contractor said that the erratic weather has posed difficulty to complete the works sooner.

The contractor plans to approach the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) requesting for time extension for a month.

Another challenge is lack of space to dump the concrete materials from the building. The contractor initially planned to dump waste along the Amochhu bank but was denied permission by the Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL). The contractor after approaching the PhuentsholingThromde has now been promised a site. Other materials like rods, iron windows, and sanitary materials are sold daily in Jaigaon, India to decongest the area.

As of now, the concrete materials are stacked within the building and are overflowing. NHDCL has also not designated location to dump the materials.

KinSam Construction quoted Nu 1.2mn for the work during open tender with the contractor agreeing to sell the materials. The contractor has paid Nu 0.35mn to NHDCL till now. So far, he has spent around Nu 4.8mn to carry out demolition works and sold around Nu 3.2mn worth of scrap materials till now.   

Gol building was constructed in 1968 as a three-storied building. It was vertically extended to the existing height of six stories later. It has 65 residential apartments and 20 commercial units, which are empty now. Tenants staying they were relocated in July last year.

After demolition, NHDCL would build another landmark building in the same area and the works for this new structure would begin this year.

The new building would be used as an office and for commercial purposes as per the Local Area Plan.

About Nu 140mn would be invested on the new structure.

Krishna Ghalley from Thimphu