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KDN PP11720/9/2003 ISSN 0128-4347

VOL.21 MARCH-MAY 2004 RM10.00













Volume 21 March-May 2004







Presidents Message
Editors Note


Cover Feature

Concrete Durability Provisions In Design Codes:

Are They Really Adequate?

14 Failure Of Structures
21 Lessons Learned From Highland Towers

28 Route To Be An Accredited Checker


30 Asian And Pacific Decade Of Disabled Persons

Engineering & Law


31 Work Programme A Contractual Perspective

(Part 1)

39 Best Management Practices On Soil Erosion And


Sediment Control In The Construction Industry

(Part 2)
46 The WTO And The South: Implications And
Recent Developments (Part 1)


54 Detox For Health


Presidents Message

KDN PP11720/9/2003 ISSN 0128-4347 VOL. 21 MARCH-MAY 2004

Members of the Board of Engineers Malaysia

(BEM) 2003/2004
YBhg. Tan Sri Dato Ir. Hj Zaini Omar
Ir. Ashari bin Mohd Yakub
Ir. Dr. Judin bin Abdul Karim
Members of BEM
YBhg. Tan Sri Dato Ir. Md Radzi bin Mansor
YBhg. Datuk Ir. Santhakumar Sivasubramaniam
YBhg. Dato Ir. Dr. Hj. Abdul Rashid bin Maidin
YBhg. Datu Ir. Hubert Thian Chong Hui
YBhg. Dato Ir. Ashok Kumar Sharma
YBhg. Datuk Ir. Md Sidek bin Ahmad
YBhg. Datuk Ir. Hj. Keizrul Abdullah
YBhg. Dato Ir. Kok Soo Chon
Ir. Ho Jin Wah
Ir. Yim Hon Wa
Ir. Prof. Ow Chee Sheng
Ir. Mohd Aman bin Hj Idris
Ir. Hj. Abu Bakar bin Che Man
Ir. Prof. Abang Abdullah bin Abang Ali
Tuan Hj. Basar bin Juraimi
Ar. Paul Lai Chu
Editorial Board
YBhg. Tan Sri Dato Ir. Hj Zaini Omar
YBhg Datuk Ir. Shanthakumar Sivasubramaniam
Ir. Fong Tian Yong
YBhg. Dato Ir. Ashok Kumar Sharma
Ir. Prof. Madya Dr. Eric Goh Kok Hoe
Ir. Prof. Ishak bin Abdul Rahman
Ir. Prof. Dr. Ruslan Hassan
Ir. Prof. Dr. K. S. Kannan
Ir. Nitchiananthan Balasubramaniam
Ir. Mustaza bin Hj. Salim
Ir. Md Amir bin Kasim
Ir. Dr Lee Say Chong
Ir. Chan Boon Teik
Ir. Choo Kok Beng

No one would want to see a structure collapse

or fail, but the fact remains that failures do occur.
When a structure collapses, the finger is invariably
pointed at the structural engineer. But what is
needed in the first place is to determine the exact
cause of the failure through forensic engineering.
The goal of a forensic programme is to positively
identify the sequence of events leading to ultimate
Within the broad field of engineering, the practice of forensic
engineering involves the investigation of failures of buildings,
structures, pipelines, foundations, airplanes, manufacturing equipment,
vehicles, bridges, flood control facilities, and other engineered products.
Forensic engineers examine broken parts and bring together a list of
probable failure mechanisms to be investigated. The final step in
forensic engineering is to use analytical and testing tools to confirm
the findings of fact.
A number of difficulties can arise when litigation commences if
the cause of failure has not been investigated adequately. Where there
is an overriding need to consider the cause of an engineering failure,
fire or other scientific problem, there is considerable merit in engaging
a forensic engineer or scientist to consider the cause in isolation. The
forensic engineer becomes an expert witness in support of the findings.
A good forensic engineer will investigate any incident in a structured,
scientific manner. He will be skilled in collecting and recording evidence
in a manner that will withstand scrutiny.
There is a need to develop this area of forensic engineering as an
expert consultancy service.



Publication Officer
Pn. Nik Kamaliah bt. Nik Abdul Rahman
Assistant Publication Officer
Pn. Che Asiah bt. Mohamad Ali
Design and Production
Inforeach Communications Sdn Bhd
Buletin Ingenieur is published by the Board of
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and is distributed free of charge to registered
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The statements and opinions expressed in this
publication are those of the writers.
BEM invites all registered engineers to contribute
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Editors Note
The introduction of extra pages in the December
2003 issue has attracted positive comments from our
readers. The Publication Committee will continue to
focus on policy, guidelines, good practices, issues and
general information related to the engineering
In view of the new structure of contents, there was
a proposal to change the name of the publication as the name buletin
may not adequately convey the contents anymore. Readers are welcome
to forward their views and suggestions to the Publication Committee.
Ir. Fong Tian Yong


International Conference on
Planning, Design and
Construction of Hardened and
Protective Facilities
(HARDFAC 2004)



Date: April 14 16, 2004

Venue: Hyatt Saujana Hotel, Subang
Organiser: Science and Technology
Research Institute for Defence (STRIDE),
Ministry of Defence
Fee: RM1550

The following list is the

Publication Calendar for
the year 2004. While we
normally seek contributions
from experts for each
special theme, we are also
pleased to accept articles
relevant to themes listed.

ASEAN Australian Engineering

Conference 2004


June 2004: WATER

September 2004: ENVIRONMENT
December 2004: STRUCTURES



Please contact the Editor or

the Publication Officer in
advance if you would like
to make such contributions
or to discuss details and


Registration As
Accredited CPD
Course Provider

Date: May 26-28, 2004

Venue: Sutera Harbour Convention Centre,
Kota Kinabalu
Organisers: IEM & Institution of
Engineers Australia
Contact Person: Ms. Liz Khoo, Eric Pringle
Associates Public Relations Sdn Bhd
Tel: 603-2161 7144
Fax: 603-2161 8209


Event Calendar



With the implementation of a newly

approved Continuing Professional Development
(CPD) Programme, which is in line with a
provision of the amended Engineers Act (2002),
the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) invites
potential out-sourced and accredited course
providers (including those providing in-house
training courses/programmes) to register with
the BEM.
For details of registration, please refer to the
BEMs CPD Policy, Guidelines for CPD Course
Providers and Course Endorsement requirements
which can be obtained from the office of the
BEM. The Application Form is also available upon

Mechanical & Electrical
Consulting Engineers
130C, Jalan Thamby Abdullah, Brickfields,
G.P.O. Box 12538, 50782 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel : 22749900, 22749895, 22749896


By Ir. Dr. Lim Char Ching,

Senior Assistant Director, Forensic Engineering Unit,
PWD Malaysia

n the 1930s, when the boom in concrete construction

began, it was generally believed that concrete
structures typically designed for a design life of 50
years or so would actually last much longer with
little or no maintenance. However, that belief was
squashed when reports of premature deterioration of
concrete in tunnels, marine structures and bridge decks
were made known. It has become a worldwide problem
today. The widespread premature deterioration and
durability issues affecting many concrete structures have
eroded public confidence in the use of concrete as a
construction material. It is now prudent to critically reassess the provisions in design codes on concrete

potential durability of concrete, it cannot be a generally

valid criterion for several reasons. For example, the
compressive strength of a concrete cube or cylinder
constitutes the mean value of a property of an entire crosssection of the specimen, whereas concrete durability is
governed primarily by the properties of the concrete cover
(covercrete). Concretes of the same strength grade may
differ in their durability resistance against chloride
penetration, carbonation and sulphate attack. Now, it is
generally accepted that concrete durability is largely
governed by the resistance of concrete cover to the ingress
of aggressive media. So, the emphasis should be on the
means of achieving a good quality concrete cover or skin
of the structure.


Cracks versus Durability

Cracks are inherently present in concrete due to
overstress, environmental effects and chemical reactions.
These cracks may range from wide and deep cracks on
the concrete surface, down to microcracks at the
aggregate-cement paste interface in the concrete. Although
these cracks do not generally affect the structural capacity,
they are rather harmful from the viewpoint of durability.
When the cracks are limited in number and size, they
are discontinuous and do not pose any direct effect on
the durability of concrete. However, with time, they have
the potential of becoming continuous (or interconnected)
and enlarged under the influence of stress or due to
leaching. These interconnected cracks can serve as main
conduits for transport of harmful external ions and gases
into the concrete. Concrete, thus, becomes vulnerable to
the processes of deterioration, as it gradually loses its
watertightness in the course of its service life.
Shrinkage cracks are often limited through the use of
a larger quantity of steel reinforcement, as permitted in
many codes. Mehta (1997) believed that this simply
transforms the wider surface cracks into many finer cracks
and microcracks in the concrete. The microcracks and
pores can form an interconnected pathway for ingress of
aggressive substances into the concrete.

In the present design codes, durability requirements

for concrete structures are largely based on the
conventional method of specifying arbitrarily certain
limiting values e.g. concrete grade, minimum cement
content, maximum water-cement ratio, cover thickness,
and maximum structural crack width. This so-called
deemed-to-satisfy approach of specifying for concrete
durability frequently yields concrete performance that
is not always satisfactory. Chloride-induced corrosion of
reinforcement continues to represent the single largest
cause of deterioration of concrete structures worldwide.
Based on substantial data available from field performance,
exposure trials and laboratory tests on concrete, many
researchers are convinced that the current code
requirements do not provide adequate resistance to
chlorides, even when properly implemented. In the light
of current research, the deemed-to-satisfy rule for concrete
durability in the present codes can be challenged.
Strength versus Durability
In many codes and specifications, the compressive
strength of concrete is often used as a criterion for
durability. Though it may give some indication of the


cover feature

Concrete Durability
Provisions In Design Codes:
Are They Really Adequate?

cover feature

Table 1 : Interplay between Crack Width and Concrete Cover on Durability

Example 1:
Structure A
Structure B


its durability performance in a marine

environment. A value of Wcr/C not
exceeding 0.005 is recommended.

A and B having different crack width but
same concrete cover.
B is more durable than A.

Durability of concrete structures in

hostile environments have been the
concern of practising engineers
worldwide. While there has been an
Example 2:
A and B having same crack width but
Structure A
different concrete cover.
Structure B
A is more durable than B.
solutions to problems found in
concrete structures in recent years, the
Example 3:
A and B having different crack width and
subject is not well recognised.
Structure A
concrete cover.
Structure B
Which is more durable, A or B?
Concrete structures can be designed
and built to last for many generations.
This noble aspiration can be achieved
by engineers, utilising state-of-the-art knowledge in
Crack Width Limits
It has been well established that corrosion of concrete technology.
reinforcements in concrete is dependent on crack width
and cover thickness, amongst other factors. For durability, The Concept Of Service Life
The concept of service life prediction for concrete
many codes would specify 0.3 mm as limiting crack width
for reinforced concrete structures. For marine exposure, structures is now becoming an area of increasing interest
the minimum concrete cover given in the codes may range for engineers. In this respect, durability of concrete plays
from 40 mm to 60 mm. Assuming other factors being the an important role. Prediction models have been developed
same, Table 1 illustrates the interplay between crack width to predict and quantify structural service life based on
material resistance and environmental loads. The service
and cover on concrete durability.
Examples 1 and 2 illustrate a comparison of a single life of a structure is defined as the period of time after
parameter (either crack width or cover) on concrete installation until such time when costly repair becomes
durability. In both cases, the comparison is straight necessary.
For concrete structures in marine environments, the
forward. Example 3 illustrates a comparison between both
crack width and cover on concrete durability. In this resistance of concrete to chloride-induced corrosion largely
case, the assessment of concrete durability becomes controls its long-term durability performance. Concrete
deterioration due to chloride-induced corrosion can be
It should be pointed out that crack width and cover represented by a simple service life model consisting of
thickness are inter-dependent. For a given stress level in an initiation stage and a propagation stage, shown in
the steel bar and keeping other variables constant, crack Figure 1.
The initiation stage is the time from initial exposure
width increases with cover thickness. Nowadays, high
tensile bars with yield strength of 460 MPa and above are until depassivation of steel in concrete. This is largely
commonly used as reinforcements in concrete. In this dependent on the rate at which chlorides penetrate into
case, crack width larger than expected may develop when concrete. The propagation stage is the time from the onset
a large cover is adopted. Of course, 0.3 mm crack width
can still be achieved with a large cover, provided the steel
is designed with much lower stress than permitted. In
Degree of
this case, optimum use of high tensile bars as Corrosion
reinforcements in concrete is not achieved.
in Steel
Acceptable Limit
The influence of both parameters, surface crack width
(Wcr) and cover thickness (C), should be considered in
totality, i.e., one dependent on the other. This is in contrast
with the durability requirements given in many design
codes, in which surface crack width and cover provisions
are recommended to be independent of the other.
Lim et al (2000) proposed the crack width-to-cover
Initiation Period
Propagation Period
ratio (Wcr/C) as an indicator for assessing durability
Service Life
performance of a cracked reinforced concrete in a marine
environment. He concluded that it is desirable to minimise
Wcr/C of a cracked reinforced concrete in order to enhance Figure 1 : Service Life Prediction Model




Blended Cement Technology

The term blended cement is used to include both
the products of blending of one or more mineral
admixtures with an Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). The
process of blending can be achieved either by intergrinding the mineral admixture(s) with cement clinker,
or by blending the mineral admixture(s) with OPC.
The wide range of binder systems, namely, Portland
cements and blended cements available in many parts
of the world provides opportunities for the best concrete
to be chosen for a particular environment. Fly ash, slag
and silica fume are the three commonly available mineral
admixtures used in blended cements. With proper
dosage, these blends can be effective in enhancing the
performance of concrete in high chloride and sulphate
conditions. They have been found to improve the
resistance of concrete to chloride penetration and to
reduce corrosion rate of steel reinforcement.
Improvements of the order of three to five times are not
uncommon. Blended cements also showed great potential
in reducing expansion and loss of strength of concrete
exposed to sulphate condition.
The use of blended cement concrete has been
recognised by most national standards and codes of
practice on concrete structures. In general, fly ash and
slag are used in blended cements for durability and longterm engineering properties. Silica fume is used when
both early age engineering properties and durability are
needed. The common dosages of these mineral
admixtures vary between 20 and 40% for fly ash, between
35 and 80% for slag and five and 10% for silica fume.
The optimum dosages are obviously dependent upon
specific technical requirements and cost consideration
relevant to a particular application.
In the past, the lack of knowledge in blended cement
technology had resulted in structures with premature
deterioration. Today, it is possible to tailor-make
improved quality concrete using blended cement
technology for many applications. Blended cement
concrete has proven worldwide to enhance workability
of fresh concrete and durability properties of hardened
concrete. However, blended cement concretes also have
their disadvantages and limitations too. A particular

type of blended cement concrete may be suitable for

one application but not for the other. Selective usage of
these materials is recommended.
Performance-based Specification
Present specifications for concrete works are largely
method-based, in that they describe how works should be
carried out on site, e.g., placing and curing of fresh
concrete. The acceptance criteria for concrete at site are
solely based on tests carried out on specially prepared
specimens of fresh concrete. The specification assumes
that the workmanship in preparing the test specimens
would be the same as that in the works. This assumption
is seldom true. Furthermore, the test specimens are
subjected to a controlled curing regime and environmental
condition, compared with the concrete placed at site. It is
obvious that the quality of hardened concrete in the
structure is generally different from the test specimens.
The method-based specification has been proven to be
inadequate in addressing durability issues affecting
concrete structures. The specification cannot guarantee
a satisfactory performance of hardened concrete in the
A concrete structure designed for a specific service
life should be complemented with a performance-based
specification. This is to ensure that the hardened concrete
performs in an environment for which it is expected to
meet the service life requirement. The specification should
focus on tests to be carried out on in-situ hardened
concrete. The test results should become the basis for
accepting or rejecting the concrete at site. Improved
performance-based specifications are being developed in
many countries. However, suitable short-term
performance tests necessary for such specifications are
not yet available.



cover feature

of steel corrosion until a specified acceptable deterioration

limit in concrete has been reached, e.g. first visible
cracking on the concrete surface or first spalling.
Many engineers have associated service life of concrete
structures primarily with the initiation stage, to maintain
structural safety and serviceability, acceptable appearance,
and without having to incur unforeseen high costs for
repair. Currently, some concrete structures around the
world have been designed using this concept, e.g. the Great
Belt Link Bridge in Denmark with 100 years of service
life! It is foreseen that within the next few years,
reliability-based service life designs may be incorporated
in todays ordinary design procedures for concrete

cover feature
Concrete structures exposed to marine environments
have been found to suffer mainly from corrosion of the
reinforcing steel. It is necessary for engineers to
understand the importance and mechanisms of chlorideinduced corrosion of steel in concrete. The effect of the
quality of concrete on the resistance to chloride
penetration, chloride threshold and corrosion rate of the
reinforcing steel are critical in determining the service
life of structures in this environment. The concept of
service life prediction for concrete structures is becoming
an area of increasing interest for engineers. Therefore, a
good understanding of the concept and its application in
structural design is essential to ensure that optimum
concrete performance is achieved before a costly repair
to the structure becomes necessary.
When designing concrete for durability performance,
attention must be paid to both the performance standards
required as well as selecting a set of compatible compliance
criteria. This is to ensure that the hardened concrete
performs in an environment for which it is expected to
meet the service life requirement. The specifications should
focus on tests to be carried out on in-situ hardened
concrete. The test results should become the basis for
accepting or rejecting the concrete at site. Improved
performance-based specifications are being developed.
However, suitable short-term performance tests
necessary for such specifications are not yet available.
With the availability of mineral admixtures in many
parts of the world, it is now possible to tailor-make

improved quality concrete for most applications. A good

knowledge of blended cement technology is necessary to
ensure its full potential in being utilised for making durable
[1] Mehta, P.K. (1997), Durability-Critical Issues for
the Future, Concrete International, pp. 27-33.
[2] Rostam, S. (1996), High Performance Concrete
Cover - Why It is Needed and How to Achieve It
in Practice, Construction and Building Materials,
Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 407-421.
[3] Sarja, A. (1996), Towards Practical Durability
Design of Concrete Structures, Proceedings of
the 7th Int. Conference on Durability of Building
Materials and Components, Edited by C.
Sjostrom, Sweden, pp. 1237-1247.
[4] Rostam, S. and Shiessl, P. (1993),
Generation Design Concepts for Durability and
Performance of Concrete Structures, Proceedings
of the 6th International Conference on Durability
of Building Materials and Components, Japan.
[5] RILEM Technical Committee 130-CSL (1996),
Durability Design of Concrete Structures, Edited
by Sarja, A. and Vesikari, E., E & FN SPON.
[6] Lim, C.C., Gowripalan, N. and Sirivivatnanon,
V., Chloride Diffusivity of Concrete Cracked in
Flexure, Cement and Concrete Research, Vol. 30,
No. 5, pp. 725-730, May 2000. BEM

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 12

cover feature

Failure Of Structures
By Ir. Tee Horng Hean, B.Eng. (Hons), MSc (Eng.), MBA, M.I.E.M.

A structural engineers dream is to design structures which are fit for their intended uses. No engineer
would want to see a structure collapse or fail, unless that engineer is an engineer researching in
causes of failure. Some common causes of structural failure are discussed in this paper. This paper is
not intended to discredit any parties (architects, engineers, developers, advertisers, etc.) and as such,
some photographs may appear doctored to protect the anonymity of the parties involved. The intention
of writing this paper is to jog the young engineers memory on the importance of engineering
fundamentals, and failure to observe these engineering fundamentals taught in school could be disastrous.

any young engineers have never witnessed

structural failure. A structural failure may
have adverse consequences on the parties
involved in the construction of the structure.
For instance, a former school bus driver brought up a
negligence suit against a contractor who constructed a
unipole tower, which collapsed on his bus while he was
driving at the junction of Jalan Segambut and Jalan
Kuching (NSTP, March 6 2001). According to the findings,
the unipole could only withstand a wind speed of 19.2
metres per second and in Kuala Lumpur, wind speeds of
as high as 35.5 metres per second have been recorded
(NSTP, March 6 2001). The best remedy for young
engineers, if in doubt of their design criteria and to avoid
any structural failure, is to ascertain the facts from reliable
What Is A Structure?

Basically, a structure is a system for transferring loads

from one place to another and nature can show examples
of structures that support loads (Seward, 1998, p.2).
Professor Harry H. West also noted that structure describes
much of what is seen in nature such as a fern leaf, an oak
tree, shrub with ribbed branches, spider webs, etc. (West,
1993, p.4). A tall tree in a rainforest, for instance, forms
buttresses (see Photo 1). A structural engineer would
definitely know that by forming these buttresses, the huge
moments (a form of force that causes bending) induced at
the base of the tree can be resisted, and as such, this
cantilever-tree can grow to a considerable height to resist
the force imposed by winds.
Engineers do make use of this phenomenon and it is
quite common to see them adopting stiffeners to resist
certain amounts of moment at a stanchion base, for
instance (see Photo 2). If engineers adopt structural
engineering knowledge, why is it that there is still failure
of structures? Some of the causes of structural failure are
discussed in the following topics.

Photo 1: A tall tree with buttresses

Photo 2: A stanchion with a stiffener

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 14

cover feature
Photo 3: A typical continuous hoarding system
Underestimating Loads
Sometimes, designers may underestimate the load that
would be imposed upon their structure when the structure
is in operation. A good example is the unipole structure
that collapsed as described earlier. The unipole structure
could only withstand wind pressures of not exceeding q
= 0.613 x 19.22 = 226N/m2 but in the area where the
collapse of the unipole occurred, wind pressures of as
high as q = 0.613 x 35.52 = 773N/m2 have been recorded.
Various structural elements are likely to be overstressed
when designers underestimate the load that would be
imposed on their designed structure. Consequently, their
structure is susceptible to collapse.

Photo 4: A sheared off bolt with the size of ones


Surprisingly, research has shown that 30% of structural
failures are caused by defective detailed design of the
joints between structural members (Seward, 1998, p.232).
For instance, a simple system of hoarding with structural
elements being connected with undersized bolts may look
perfectly sturdy (see Photo 3). However, due to the use of Photo 5: A small bolt used to connect structural elements
undersized bolts (see Photo
4 and Photo 5), connecting
the horizontal and vertical
structural members, the bolts
were sheared off, causing the
horizontal elements to be
disconnected and resulting in
the cantilever effect (see
Figure 1). Bearing in mind
that in a cantilever system,
experienced by the structure
can be as large as four times
of that of the continuous
This is precisely what
happened to this hoarding
and since the bolts were
Figure 1: Change of structural system due to sheared bolt
sheared off, the domino



cover feature

effect of excessive
bending of the steel
hoarding sheet (see Photo
6), the structural members
being subjected to
excessive bending and the
footing being pulled off
the ground (see Photo 7)
In short, failure of
connections can lead to a
change in the structural
system, and in turn, have
adverse domino effects.
Photo 6: Failure of a
simple hoarding

Photo 7: A footing being

pulled off the ground

Inconsistent Design, Detailing And Construction

A structural engineer deals with numbers in his
structural design, which may be Greek to a layman, a
draughtsperson or even the contractor. In order to
communicate his design to the contractor, structural
drawings are produced. At times, the structural engineer
may not be the one producing the structural drawings
but his draughtsperson would be the one drafting it.
Somehow or rather, miscommunication may occur and
designs do not tally with the drawings. There may be
times when young engineers may draft the drawings but
drafted them incorrectly. It is quite common to note
that engineers analyse a reinforced concrete structure
as a pin-joint or simply supported but in his or her detail,
a fixed support is being provided. The consequence of
proceeding with construction would be similar as that
of the hoarding where a change of structural system may
A good example of a pin-joint can be seen in a seesaw (see Photo 8).

Photo 8: A pin-joint

For instance, a lamppost when properly fixed to the

ground (see Photo 9), is perfectly sturdy and most
engineers would analyse the lamp-post as a fixed



Not Considering Elements In Contact With Structure

When columns are supported by relatively small
footings and the soil surrounding the footings is of
compressible soil, a structural engineer should analyse
the columns as pin-jointed (Winter & Nilson, 1979, p.392).
Similarly, if the soil surrounding the footings is stiff and
incompressible, then the structural engineer should analyse
the columns as fixed.

Photo 9: A lamp-post
Photo 12: A collapsed signboard

Photo 10: A collapsed lamp-post

Photo 13: Close-up view of footing of Photo 12

Photo 11: Lamp-post not properly fixed to the ground

(Close-up of Photo 10)

Structural engineers would analyse a signboard,

assuming it to be fixed but sometimes, due to the soil
conditions, it is not possible to have a fixed joint. For
instance, one would analyse this signboard as fixed (see
Photo 12), but due to the fact that the soil is soft and
compressible, after a heavy shower and due to strong wind
forces the footing of this signboard can easily be pulled
out when the post is not adequately penetrated into the
ground (see Photo 13). The strong wind has imposed a
stress that is higher than that allowed by the soil, and
consequently, the footing behaved as a pin-joint.



cover feature

cantilever. But due to improper detailing or construction,

this lamp-post behaved like a pin-joint (similar to the
see-saw) and some lateral force had induced the collapse
of the lamp-post (see Photo 10 and Photo 11).

cover feature

Similarly, the following signboard was erected in soft

and compressible soil and consequently, excessive
deflection is experienced and one could easily pull down
the whole signboard without much effort (see Photo 14
and Photo 15).
Following the above argument, we can deduce that if
a structural element were to be anchored into a brickwall, it is considered fixed so long as the stresses
transferred to the brick-wall at the joint do not exceed
the stress of the brick. On the other hand, if the applied
force on the structural element is excessive, causing the
stresses transferred to the brick-wall at the joint to exceed
the allowable stress of the brick, this element now behaves
like a pin-joint (similar to the see-saw). This is one of
the aspects often overlooked and has to be taken into
consideration in structural engineering designs.

Photo 16: Collapse of a signboard

metres collapsed after a gust of strong wind (see Photo
16). A rough free body diagram of this structure is shown
in Figure 2.
After running a simple structural analysis on the above
structure by applying a wind force with a speed of 35.5
metres per second, it was noted that the structure would
not have collapsed if undersized angles were not used.
From the site condition, it was observed that the angles
gave way and experienced excessive twisting and buckling
(see Photo 17).

Photo 14: A deflected signboard

Photo 17: Twisting and buckling of undersized angles

Photo 15: Soft and compressible soil (Close-up of Photo 14)

Providing Undersized Members

Though it seldom happens, there are times when
undersized members are used. These undersized members
would most definitely experience excessive stress. When
certain structural members cannot withstand the forces
that are imposed upon them, the structure would be
imminent of collapse. For instance, the following
signboard measuring approximately 20 metres by 16.5

Figure 2: Free body diagram of signboard



Many people have the misconception that structures

do not need any maintenance. This is totally incorrect.
Whatever the structures are made of, whether steel, timber
or reinforced concrete, they need constant maintenance.
Steel structures, for instance, are susceptible to corrosion
while timber structures can be destroyed by a colony of
termites. Without maintaining a structure, slowly but
surely, defects would occur. If these defects are left
unattended, it would lead to further serious defects and
in the end, a structural collapse may be possible due to
the weakening of the structural members.
Overlooking The Third Dimension

Figure 3: Change of structural system

Due to the fact that the angles failed, the above
structural system changed from a triangular frame (see
Figure 3) to a cantilever.
The change of the structural system has caused the
cantilever to experience a high bending stress near the
footing. This high bending stress cannot be resisted by
the welding provided between the I-beam and the baseplate
(see Photo 18), and consequently, the toppling of the
signboard occurred. Besides that, this high stress has
caused the web of the I-beam to tear (see Photo 19).

Every single object, be it a ball, a car or a structure,

can move in three different directions, namely left to right,
up to down and backward to forward. All structures,
except for space frames, can be analysed and designed by
simplifying them into two-dimensional structures. There
may be the possibility that engineers can overlook one of
the three dimensions. When this occurs, the structure is
only structurally sound in two dimensions but can fail in
the third dimension.
Constructing An Unstable (Mechanism) Structure

Photo 18: The weld between the I-beam and baseplate

gave way

There are times when a structure is erected but is

unstable. This is especially frequent in roof trusses. Many
a time, the centre line of the structural members do not
meet and thus, forming a structural system which is not a
truss. For instance, the following structural framework
(see Photo 20) was constructed and it was noted that there
was no triangulation of the framework, which was of
necessity for roof trusses. The structure looked sturdy
when erected. Even when the roofing sheets were installed
(see Photo 21), the structure still looked stable.
Unfortunately, during the monsoon season, heavy rain
and strong wind were inevitable and they both imposed
additional load on the structure, which consequently
collapsed (see Photo 22). Most textbooks on structural
mechanics would note that most trusses would require a
system of triangulation in order for the structure to be
stable, and in this case (see Photo 20), the collapsed
structure did not have any form of triangulation system.
Not Consulting An Engineer

Photo 19: Tearing of I-beams web

Obviously, this point needs no explanation whatsoever.

There are times when constructors would defy the
instructions of engineers and proceed with construction,
without realising that they could be constructing a
collapse-prone structure.
Worst of all, there are owners who never even engage
a structural engineer but copy the sizes of a structure
from another construction site to erect their own. This
can be very dangerous as the site conditions vary.



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Lack Of Maintenance

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Photo 20: An unstable

timber truss structure
without proper
triangulation system

Photo 21: Roofing

sheets installed to
timber frame

Photo 22: Collapse of

timber structure

The paper discussed only some of the common factors
as to why structures fail. There can be lots of other factors
including minor mistakes such as dimensioning a
structural member longer than it is supposed to be, using
the wrong units (imperial/metric), not following the
construction drawings, mixing of high tensile and mild
steel reinforcements for reinforced concrete structures,
reducing the lever arm of a reinforced concrete structural
element when workers step on the steel reinforcements,
providing inadequate anchorage length for reinforcement
bars, etc. which can lead to structural failure. The other
cause of possible failure in the structure is misuse of the
erected structure. One of the best ways for young engineers
to avoid making the mistakes discussed in this paper is to
ascertain the facts from reliable sources.
The fundamentals of engineering should be applied in
the design of all engineering structures. Overlooking the
design of even a minute part of a structure such as
connections can be disastrous.


Harry, H. West, 1993, Fundamentals of Structural

Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
NSTP, 6 March 2001, New Straits Times Press,
March 19 Decision by Court on Negligence Suit,
[Online], Available from URL: http: // [Accessed: 18 November
Seward, D., 1998, Understanding Structures
Analysis, Materials, Design, Second Edition,
MacMillian, Hampshire.
Winter, G. & Nilson, A. H., Design of Concrete
Structures, Ninth Edition, McGraw Hill, New
York. BEM



By Murgan D. Maniam, Pengarah Undang-Undang, Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang

Architects and engineers owe a professional obligation to the public and their profession to
conduct themselves and practise their profession in accord with ethical standards. Local authorities
are also required to act reasonably and in accordance with the law.
Clients and the public place trust and confidence in the competence and skills of the professional
architects and engineers. Generally, both the professionals depend on the personal confidence of
the client in their technical competence; and the confidence of the public at large in the integrity
and ethical conduct of the professions as a whole.
It is the purpose of this paper to examine the decision of the High Court and the Court of
Appeal in respect of the roles played by the architect, engineer, developer and the local authority
in the development of the Highland Towers, and to learn the observations and rulings of the two
courts to give a greater insight and understanding of their respective roles.

ighland Towers, as is collectively known,

consisted of three blocks of apartments known
as Blocks 1, 2 and 3. It was constructed
between 1975 and 1978. Directly behind the
three blocks was a steep slope. A stream (the east stream)
originating upslope from the Metrolux land flowed across
part of the slope.
On Saturday, December 11, 1993, about 15 years later,
after 10 days of continuous rainfall, a landslide occurred
resulting in the collapse of Block 1. Forty-eight people
were recorded dead. Immediately after the collapse of
Block 1, the residents of Blocks 2 and 3 were prevented
from entering their apartments by MPAJ for fear of the
instability of these two buildings. A few days later, they
were allowed in but only to collect their personal
valuables. At that time, their apartments were looted
and subsequently vandalized.
Seventy-three owners and occupiers of the Blocks 2
and 3 apartments brought an action against 10 defendants
in negligence, nuisance, strict liability under the rule in
Rylands v. Fletcher and breach of statutory duty. The
Plaintiffs alleged inter alia that they had been unable to
re-occupy Blocks 2 and 3 emanating from the collapse of
Block 1, as the result of MPAJs pre and post-collapse
acts and omissions.

The 10 Defendants were as follows:


1st Defendant

- Developer


2nd Defendant

- Draftsman who was engaged

by the developer as the
Architect for the project

(iii) 3rd Defendant

- 2 nd Defendants brother
engaged by the 1st Defendant
as the Engineer for the project

(iv) 4th Defendant

- Majlis Perbandaran
Ampang Jaya

5th Defendant

- Arab-Malaysian Bank
owner of 50 lots of bungalow
land directly at the rear of
Highland Towers

(vi) 6th Defendant

- Tropic - company that carried

out clearing works on the 5th
Defendants land in 1992

(vii) 7th Defendant

- owner of Metrolux land (the

higher land adjacent to the 5th
Defendants land)


B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 21

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Lessons Learned From

Highland Towers

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(viii) 8th Defendant

- Project Manager for the 7th

Defendant and was in charge
of the development of the
Metrolux land.

(ix) 9th Defendant

- Selangor State Government


10th Defendant - Director of Lands and Mines,


The Plaintiffs alleged that the 2nd Defendant had held

himself out to be a suitably qualified, competent and skilled
person to design, prepare and sign architectural and other
building plans. In the performance of this task, the 2nd
Defendant has breached a common law duty of care to
the Plaintiffs to take reasonable care and diligence in
ensuring that:

the drainage required and rubble walls and the

earthworks were adequately and properly
designed, supervised during its construction and
in compliance with the requirements as set by
the authorities;


by the same acts or omissions, the 2nd Defendant

had created a nuisance on the hill slope behind
Highland Towers.


The High Court found the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th
Defendants liable and apportioned liability in the following
percentages :

1st Defendant

- 15%


2nd Defendant

- 10%



3 Defendant

- 10%


4th Defendant

- 15%


5th Defendant

- 30%


7th & 8th Defendants - 20%

After due consideration, the court ruled that the

landslide that brought down Block 1 was a rotational
retrogressive slide emanating from the high wall behind
the second tier car park. The High Court also decided
that Block 1 had collapsed due to a landslide caused
primarily by water which emanated from the damaged
pipe culvert, and the inadequate and unattended drains
on the 5th Defendants land.
The judgment of the High Court has since been reported
as Steven Phoa Cheng Loon & Ors v Highland Properties
Sdn. Bhd. & Ors (2000) 4 MLJ 200.
The 2nd Defendant was an Architectural Draftsman.
He drew and submitted the layout plans for and on behalf
of the 1st Defendant. The 2nd Defendant knew that he was
not a fully qualified and registered architect. When the
layout plan was approved subject to conditions, the 2nd
Defendant prepared and submitted the building plans.
The 2nd Defendant, whilst submitting the layout plans
and building plans, had held himself out as a registered
architect. The local authority, by some error on their part
in not checking the 2nd Defendants credentials had in
fact permitted him to submit such plans.
CF was issued for the three blocks on the following dates:

Block 1 - 29.9.1978


Block 2 - 6.11.1981


Block 3 - 24.5.1985

The 2nd Defendant argued that he did not owe such

duty of care to the Plaintiffs. Furthermore, even if such
duty of care exists, it was not breached. He explained
that he was only engaged to design the three apartment
blocks and was never involved in the design, supervision
and construction of drains, rubble walls and earthworks
within and outside of Highland Towers site; he submitted
that the 1st Defendant (Developer) carried out these works.
He played no part in them. He also submitted that the
intervening acts of the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th Defendants in
altering the condition of the area caused the collapse of
Block 1 and exempted from liability.
A building draftsman is only permitted under the
Architects Act 1967 to design buildings of no more than
two storeys in height and limited floor space. In this case,
each block of Highland Towers consisted of 12 storeys
with a built area far exceeding that allowed for a building
draftsman to undertake. The 2nd Defendant managed to
induce a relevant Government department to grant him a
specially authorised person status under a repealed
enactment (the Architect Ordinance 1951) which he
claimed entitled him to summit and oversee construction
works of three apartment blocks.
The court held that this would make no difference to
the duty of care the 2nd Defendant owed. James Foong J
When this Defendant had represented himself as a
qualified architect to all and sundry, as displayed by
his actions, then he must be judged according to the
character he had assumed.
The extent of his duty, said the judge:
Is primarily to his client because he has a contractual
relationship with him. But in law, an architect is
also liable to anyone who is sufficiently proximate
and whom the architect could foresee that his act
and/or omission would cause damage to that person.



the 2nd Defendant was engaged to build cannot be

The court held that a claim for pure economic loss can
be maintained against a Defendant, and therefore ruled
that the Plaintiffs claim for negligence and nuisance is
established against the 2nd Defendant.

By this, a duty of care existed between the 2nd

Defendant and the Plaintiffs.
The 2nd Defendant had also argued that he had no
responsibility for the drainage or earthworks or anything
else beyond the design and supervision of construction
of the apartment blocks. To this, the judge held:
I think the 2 nd Defendant is under a serious
misapprehension that an architect is engaged just
to design and supervise the construction of a building
and need not bother with the surrounding area where
the building is to be erected. Surely the primary
consideration for the construction of any building,
or structure for that matter, besides the aesthetics
aspect, is the safety of the building. To achieve this,
the condition of the land on which the building is to
be built as well as those in the vicinity must be
considered and evaluated, particularly if it has
potential adverse effects to the building planned.
He must ensure that no soil from the hill slope
would come crashing down on his designs. ..
the 2nd Defendant did foresee the danger of not
exercising his professional skill, care and diligence
in attending to the initial and basic factors regarding
drainage and the stability of the hill slope. As an
architect, or someone who represented himself as
one, he must have foreseen the dangers that if no
proper, adequate and sufficient drainage system and
retention walls were built, there would be danger to
the buildings erected below. Yet he neglected this
basic duty. The intervening acts of the third parties
may not be foreseen by him, but if a proper, adequate
and sufficient drainage system and retaining walls
were implemented and erected, then the collapse of
Block 1 may not even have occurred.
On the facts, the court found the 2nd Defendant had
breached his duty of care to the Plaintiffs. The 2nd
Defendant was held to have failed in his duty as an
architect and had also refused to comply with the
requirements imposed by the authorities on the drainage
of the area. Besides that, he had also colluded with the
1st and 3rd Defendants (Developer and Engineer) to obtain
CF for the three apartment blocks of the Highland Towers
without fulfilling the conditions as set out by the 4th
Defendant (MPAJ).
The 2nd Defendant argued that the Plaintiffs claim
for pure economic loss i.e. compensation to make good
the defective building or for a replacement thereof which

The 3rd Defendant was a qualified civil engineer. The

2 Defendant appointed the 3rd Defendant, who was his
brother, to be the consulting engineer for Highland Towers.
Initially, the 3rd Defendants scope of works was restricted
to the structural aspect of the three blocks. But
subsequently, the 3rd Defendant was engaged by the 1st
Defendant to submit proposals over the drainage of the
area. His drainage plan was approved. He was also
retained by the 1st Defendant to design and supervise the
construction of two retaining walls on the Highland Towers
The Plaintiffs claimed that the 3rd Defendant was
negligent for the following reasons:


designing unsuitable foundations;


lack of care and concern of the hill and slope;

(iii) issuing a notice to the authorities confirming the

drainage works was completed when only a
fraction of it was done.
By the above acts of preparing, designing and
supervising the construction of Highland Towers and the
drainage system of the Highland Towers site, he was
negligent and had caused nuisance to them.
The 3rd Defendant had used rail piles welded together
as foundation to support the three apartment blocks. This
type of piles, which was considered inferior to concrete
piles, was accepted in the engineering and building
industry to support high-rise buildings at the material
time. Thus, no fault can be attributed to the 3rd Defendant
in using the rail piles as he was only adhering to the
accepted professional practice at that time.
However, there was lack of consideration by the 3rd
Defendant to the hill and the slope directly behind the
three blocks. The court ruled that the 3rd Defendant should
have reasonably foreseen the danger of a landslide
producing a lateral load against the foundation of the
building. For this, he should have exercised care to either
design and construct a foundation to accommodate the
lateral load or ensure that the slope was reasonably stable.
Failure to do so is a breach of his duty of care he owes to
the Plaintiffs since his duty was to ensure the safety of
the buildings he designed and built.
The 3rd Defendants attempt to deny liability on the
ground that he relied on the 1st Defendant to ensure that
other retaining walls were constructed properly was
unsuccessful. The judge found that it was encumbent
upon the 3rd Defendant to enquire and ascertain whether



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.. At the time when this Defendant exercised his

duty as an architect for the Highland Towers project,
he must have foreseen that the apartments he built
would be sold, and purchasers, their servants and or
agents would be occupying them. .. he must have
or ought to have them in contemplation when he
was directing his mind to his acts and/or omissions.

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the work was that of a qualified professional and what its

impact might be on the safety of his own building. The
judge agreed with a passage from the judgment of Bingham
LJ in the case of Eckersley v. Binnie (1988) 18 Con LR 1
@ p.80
a professional man should command the corpus
of knowledge which forms part of the professional
equipment of the ordinary member of his profession.
He should not lag behind other ordinarily assiduous
and intelligent members of his profession in knowledge
of new advances, discoveries and developments in his
field. He should have such awareness as an ordinarily
competent practitioner would have of the deficiencies
in his knowledge and the limitations of his skill. He
should be alert to the hazards and the risk inherent
in any professional task he undertakes to the extent
that other ordinarily competent members of the
profession would be alert. He must bring to any
professional task he undertakes no less expertise, skill,
and care than other ordinarily competent members of
his profession would bring, but need bring no more.
The standard is that of the reasonable average. The
law does not require of a professional man that he be
a paragon combining the qualities of polymath and
Although the drainage plan was approved by the
authorities, it was not fully implemented by the 1st
Defendant. The reasons offered by the 3rd Defendant for
this failure were:

shortage of financial resources of the 1 st



the need to bring down the road level to fit the

drains; and

to remind this Defendant that he has to live out the

rest of his life knowing truly well that he had
contributed to the tragedy of Highland Towers.
The 3rd Defendant was found liable in negligence
and nuisance.
The Plaintiffs claimed the 1st Defendant liable in negligence
for the following reasons:

Not employing reasonably fit, competent, skilled

and qualified persons to design, draw, sign and
submit architectural and engineering drawings
and plans for the construction of Highland Towers
and the hill slope behind it;


Not vetting through their appointments to ensure

that they are competent and possess such skill
for the task they are employed to undertake which
involves enquiries and investigations into their
credentials and qualifications;

(iii) Constructing insufficient and inadequate

retaining walls on the Arab-Malaysian land and
the Highland Towers site without considering the
surrounding terrain, soil condition and drainage
(iv) Constructing drains that were insufficient to effect
proper and adequate drainage of water run-offs
on the slope and those originating from the East

Diversion of the East Stream from its natural path

to the pipe culvert which ran horizontally across
the hill slope directly above the three blocks;

(iii) prohibition on rock blasting in the area

Nevertheless, the court ruled that whatever the excuse
may be, it did not entitle and warrant the 3rd Defendant to
issue a notice to the authorities stating that the entire
approved drainage proposal was implemented when only
10% was completed. This was a gross violation of his
duty of care which, as a consultant engineer for the three
blocks, he owes to the Plaintiffs as purchasers of Highland
Towers, particularly when this approved drainage system
was so fundamental to the safety of the building. The
judge issued a powerful condemnation by saying as
I have reiterated my strong sentiments against this
type of attitude of professionals whose only
consideration is to guard and secure their own interest
rather than their duties and obligations to those closely
affected and the public on which so much faith and
reliance are placed on them to carry out their
professional duties. I need not elaborate further except

(vi) Obtaining CF to occupy the three blocks when

the drainage system in the Highland Towers site
and the Arab-Malaysian land was incomplete.
The court relied upon the dictum of Lord Finlay LC in
Greenock Corp. v. Caledonian Rly Co. (1917)AC 556 which
is quoted by Abdul Hamid FJ in the Federal Court case of
Seong Fatt Sawmills Sdn. Bhd. v. Dunlop Malaysia
Industries Sdn. Bhd. (1984) 1 MLJ 286 @ p 291.
It is the duty of anyone who interferes with the course
of the stream to see that the works which he substitutes
for the channel provided by nature are adequate to
carry off the water brought down even by extraordinary
rainfall, and if damage results from the deficiency of
the substitute which he has provided for the natural
channel, he will be liable.
The court exonerated the 1st Defendant from the
allegation that they were responsible for the negligence




The High Court held MPAJ liable in respect of the
following :


At the planning and design stage of Highland

Towers, MPAJ had not taken reasonable care, skill
and diligence in checking the plans submitted to
ascertain whether they are reasonably fit for the
purpose it was intended for. This included matters
relating to water courses, streams and rivers in
the vicinity of the Highland Towers site, Arab
Malaysian land and the surroundings which were
under the jurisdiction of MPAJ.
At the construction stage of the Highland Towers,
MPAJ failed to exercise reasonable care, skill and
diligence to ensure the drainage system and the
rubble walls on Arab Malaysian land were
adequately provided for and/or constructed in a
workman-like manner before the issuance of the
Certificate of Fitness to the three apartment

(iii) MPAJ failed to maintain and upgrade drains and

rubble walls on Highland Towers site and Arab
Malaysian land, and to provide adequate drainage
requirement to water courses, streams and rivers
after the Highland Towers was constructed;
(iv) MPAJ failed to take remedial measures to remove,
rectify and/or minimise the hazards posed on the
Arab-Malaysian land and the surroundings after
the collapse of Block 1;

MPAJ failed to prevent vandalism and theft at

Blocks 2 and 3 in the aftermath of the collapse
of Block 1;

(vi) MPAJ failed to maintain the East Stream which

was under its jurisdiction;
According to the court, MPAJ owes a duty of care to
the Plaintiffs to use reasonable care, skill and diligence to
ensure that the hill slope and the drainage thereon were
properly accommodated before approving building or
other related plans, and during construction stage, to
comply with and to ensure the implementation of the
drainage system. Then, when Certificate of Fitness was
applied for, there should be proper and thorough inspection
on whether the buildings so built were safe in all aspects

and not just confined only to the structure, and after the
Highland Towers was erected, to ascertain drainage
requirement in the area was adequate to ensure slope
stability behind Block 1. Subsequent to the collapse of
Block 1, measures should have been taken to prevent
recurrence of the tragedy to Blocks 2 and 3.
The court found that MPAJ owed a duty of care to the
Plaintiffs and that this duty had been breached resulting
in damages.
Upon establishing that MPAJ was negligent, the High
Court was influenced by Sec.95(2) of the SDB Act 1974,
which provided an immunity to the Plaintiffs claims and
the passage in Dr. Abdul Hamid Abdul Rashid & Anor v.
Jurusan Malaysia Consultant & Ors (1997) 3 MLJ 546:
If there is any fear that this approach may encumber
the local authorities to pay out substantial claims
due to their negligence in granting approvals or
inspecting building works, there is s 95 of the Street,
Drainage & Building Act 1974 (Act 133) which
prohibits such authorities to be sued.
In discussing the above Sec. 95(2), the High Court
pointed that Parliament can create an exemption from
liability for certain acts committed by local authorities
and its officers. James Foong J said:
It is my view that s 95(2) of the 1974 Act is just
such a piece of legislation to exempt the local authority
and its officer from negligent act related to and
connected with certain specified activities. In our
case, since the acts of the 4th Defendant found to be
negligent by this court are within those specified
activities under s 95(2) of the 1974 Act, immunity
applies to the 4th Defendant.
Further, the High Court explained that Sec. 95(2) covers

whatsoever arising out of building or other works

carried out by the 4th Defendant in accordance
with the provision of the said Act.


or by reason of the fact that such building works

or the plans thereof are subject to inspection and

The acts of negligence of which MPAJ was accused of

inter alia, approval of plans, inspection and issue of CF
were all covered by this immunity. Thus Sec. 95(2) applies
to acts/omissions committed by MPAJ pre-collapse.
However, the immunity could not cover the post- collapse
actions of MPAJ and for these, they were liable.
MPAJ had undertaken to prepare a master drainage
plan to ensure the safety of Blocks 2 and 3. After a period
of one year, there was no sight or news of such a plan.
MPAJ offered no explanation as to why its promise was
not met. Thus, MPAJ was held liable for post-collapse
management of the situation which included failure to



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of their consultants after appointment. The court held

that the 1st Defendant would only be liable if the works
involved were of an extra hazardous nature which was
not the case here.
The court held that the 1st Defendant were liable in
negligence and nuisance.

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prevent vandalism and theft in Blocks 2 and 3 as well as

failure to produce the master drainage plan. MPAJ was
also liable in nuisance by reason of its failure to maintain
properly a stream which formed part of the drainage
system of the area.
The 1st, 2nd, 6th, 9th and 10th Defendants did not appeal
against the decision of the High Court. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th
and 8th Defendants appealed against that decision.
MPAJ filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal against
the whole decision of the High Court except that part
which decided that MPAJ was not liable for all precollapse acts by virtue of Sec. 95 of the SDB.
Although the High Court excluded liability for precollapse acts on the part of MPAJ on the basis of Sec.
95(2) of the SDB, MPAJ had raised the grounds of appeal
in the Court of Appeal that independently of Sec. 95(2) of
the SDB, MPAJ had not been negligent at all because :

at the planning and design stage, MPAJ had relied

on the skill and diligence of the Architect (2nd
Defendant) who submitted those plans as well as
the various Government agencies which vetted
those plans.


at the construction stage of the Highland Towers,

MPAJ had relied on the skill and diligence of the
1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to supervise the said
construction and had relied on the Certificates
of the Architect (2nd Defendant) that all the works
had been completed in compliance with the
approved plans.

(iii) the Highland Towers and the surrounding areas,

after completion and after Certificate of Fitness
had been issued, had been maintained by the 1st
(iv) the drains in Highland Towers and the Arab
Malaysian land were never in the control of

the East-Stream was diverted from its natural

course by the 1st Defendant as found by the High

(vi) the drainage of the Highland Towers and the

Arab-Malaysian land was functioning effectively
until the 5th Defendant took over the ArabMalaysian land.
(vii) at no time did the Plaintiffs complained to MPAJ
of the dangers of the state of the drains in the
Highland Towers and the Arab-Malaysian land.
In considering the appeal of MPAJ against liability,
the Court of Appeal ruled that there are two separate

matters that must be addressed. These are the pre-collapse

and post-collapse liability.
The Court of Appeal observed that assuming that there
was a duty on the 4th Defendant (MPAJ) to act in a
particular manner towards the property of the Plaintiffs
post-collapse, such duty must find its expression in public
and not private law. Accordingly, if there had been a
failure on the part of MPAJ to do or not to do something
as a public authority, the proper method is to proceed by
way of application for judicial review. Thus the High
Courts finding that MPAJ was liable for negligence after
the collapse was set aside.
Next, the Court of Appeal looked at the pre-collapse
position. The Plaintiffs submitted that Sec. 95(2) did not
apply to the facts as MPAJ had directed the East Stream
to be diverted from its natural course. The carrying out
of these works created a danger to the Plaintiffs property.
Accordingly, this is not a case of inspection or approval
of building or other works or the plans thereof. This is a
case where a danger was expressly created by MPAJ. The
Court of Appeal agreed with this submission and set aside
the indemnity granted to MPAJ by the High Court for
negligence before the collapse.
The Court of Appeal ruled that there is no proposition
of law that a local authority such as MPAJ may never
owe a common duty of care to the third party. It all
depends on the particular circumstances. The kind of
harm that was foreseeable by the 5th Defendant was equally
foreseeable by the MPAJ. Upon the evidence and the
relevant principles, it was clear that MPAJ, as a reasonable
local authority must have foreseen the danger created by
diverting the East Stream would probably be a landslide
of the kind that happened and that in such event resultant
harm, including financial loss of the kind suffered by the
Plaintiffs would occur.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of the 3rd,
5 , 7th and 8th Defendants and affirmed the apportionment
of liability made by the High Court amongst the
The judgment of the Court of Appeal has since been
reported as Arab- Malaysian Finance Bhd. v Steven Phoa
Cheng Loon & Ors (2003) 1 MLJ 567. It appears that the
Court of Appeal has departed from the clear finding of
fact by the High Court that it was the 1st Defendant who
diverted the East-Stream and substituted their own finding
that it was MPAJ who diverted the East-Stream.
Furthermore, although the High Court made a very clear
finding of fact that it was the 1st Defendant who diverted
the East-Stream, the Court of Appeal declared that it was
MPAJ that diverted the East-Stream. The Court of Appeal
held that MPAJ owed a common law duty of care to the
Plaintiffs to avoid pure economic loss. It also held that
MPAJ is a Joint Tortfeasor along with the other Defendants.
It was argued that at all material times, MPAJ did not
have qualified people to deal with planning application.
The role of MPAJ was that of an intermediary by
forwarding that application to the respective departments,
district technical departments e.g. JKR, Health, State
Planning Departments and other authorities relating to



also argued that local authorities enjoyed blanket

immunity in law in respect of anything done in the exercise
of the planning functions. Thus it can be said, that the
Court of Appeal had erred in relying on Kane as a basis
for depriving MPAJ the indemnity afforded by Sec.95(2)
of the SDB.
The judgments of the High Court and the Court of
Appeal cannot be lightly regarded. They discuss the causes
of the collapse of Block 1 which may arise from a variety
of circumstances. Every architect, engineer and developer
must never allow an unsafe condition to persist or develop
at the construction site. They should also ensure at all
times that there is no threat to public health and welfare
and remember two assets which are vital to the practice
of their profession their integrity and their ability.
On February 6th, 2004, the Federal Court has granted
MPAJ leave to appeal to the Federal Court on four main
issues inter alia whether Sec. 95(2) of the SDB is wide
enough to provide immunity to a local authority in
approving the diversion of a stream and in failing to detect
any danger or defect in the building and drainage plans
relating to the development submitted by the architect
and/or engineer on behalf of a developer.
Local authorities will welcome the decision of the
Federal Court as it would put to rest the debate as to
whether Sec.95(2) of the SDB provides absolute immunity
or qualified immunity.

The decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal confirmed that architects and engineers have a duty
to secure the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional services.
The architects and engineers owe a duty to exercise the skill, care and diligence which may reasonably be
expected of a person of ordinary competence, measured by the professional standard of the time. Thus an
architects and engineers general inexperience and lack of knowledge do not furnish a valid excuse for unprofessional
The architects and engineers are to be judged by the professional standards prevailing at the time the work
was done, not by what may be known or accepted at a later date, or what may be seen only with the benefit of
The courts emphasised that every architect and engineer owe a duty to third parties to ensure that they are
sufficiently qualified to undertake the assignments for which they accept professional responsibility. The architects
and engineers must also know when to seek a competent specialist in areas outside their expertise.
In this case, the Court of Appeal was unable to see how MPAJ could possibly escape liability for requiring the
diversion of the East Stream. This infers that a local authority should not direct or do anything to make the site
dangerous; otherwise it will be liable.
Although the courts did not discuss in the ground of the Judgment the certification given by the architects and
engineers on the plans submitted by them to exonerate MPAJ, these professionals duty must always be reflected
on the plans, by requiring the architects and engineers to certify that they are responsible for supervising the
construction of the project to ensure that it is built in accordance with the approved plans, specifications and
The local authorities should be entitled to rely on the certificate executed by the architects and engineers and
to hold them responsible for the structural design, safety and supervision of the project. This would enable the
architects and engineers to retain control over the design and erection procedures so as to be able to advise the
contractor of any special construction or safety consideration. BEM



cover feature

that particular application. There was clear evidence

that MPAJ had relied upon the skill of the Architect (2nd
Defendant), the Engineer (the 3rd Defendant) and the
Developer (1st Defendant) as well as the checking of the
accuracy of the said plans by the relevant departments
(the 9th and 10th Defendants). The High Court held that
Sec. 95(2) SDB protected MPAJ for all acts of MPAJ precollapse, including the checking of the accuracy of the
plans submitted and the failure to detect any danger in
the said plans.
However, the Court of Appeal held that Sec. 95(2) SDB
does not apply to the facts of the present case since MPAJ
had directed that the East-Stream be diverted from its
natural course and that such an act of MPAJ was caught
by the doctrine of Kane v New Forest District Council
(2001) 2 All ER 914. In Kane, the local authority
specifically required the footpath to be created. In the
present case, it was the 3rd Defendant on behalf of the 1st
Defendant who submitted the plans relating to the drains
to be implemented on the 5th Defendants land. In Kane,
all the parties including the local authorities were aware
that the construction of the footpath would be dangerous.
Despite the said knowledge of danger, the local authority
went ahead with the construction of the footpath.
However, in the present case, the drainage plan was
conveyed by MPAJ to JPS. JPS recommended approval
of the drainage plan. Thus the issue of danger in the
present case did not arise at all.
Furthermore, in Kane there was no equivalent statutory
provision such as Sect. 95(2) of the SDB. In Kane, it was


Route To Be
An Accredited Checker
By Accredited Checker Committee, Board of Engineers Malaysia

The guidelines herein are to assist Professional Engineers seeking registration as Accredited Checkers in
geotechnical and/or structural engineering works. They are in furtherance of Section 10B of the
Registration of Accredited Checker, Registration of Engineers (Amendment) Act 2002 [Act A1158].
Any person applying for registration as an Accredited Checker shall:
i) be a Professional Engineer registered under the Act in the civil, structural or geotechnical engineering
ii) have at least 10 years relevant practical experience in the design or construction of buildings;
iii) have adequate experience in one of the following:
a) Geotechnical
1) Foundations;
2) Retaining Systems and Reinforced Soil Structures; and
3) Slope Engineering and Embankments
b) Structural
1) Buildings exceeding five storeys;
2) Buildings of unconventional construction with spans exceeding 10 metres; and
3) Buildings that will result in complex interactions with existing buildings
iv) by virtue of his/her ability and standing in the profession, or specialised knowledge or practical
experience in civil, structural or geotechnical engineering he/she is deserving of such registration,
provided that
a) during the period of seven years immediately preceding the date of his/her application, he/she has
been engaged in geotechnical or structural design after registration as a Professional Engineer; and
b) for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding the date of his/her application,
he/she has gained such practical experience in the relevant field in Malaysia; and

have attended and passed the interview conducted by the Accredited Checkers Committee.


Applications shall:
i) be made in Form B3;
ii) be accompanied by true copies of documentary evidence showing that the applicant possesses the
necessary qualifications and the practical experience;
iii) be accompanied by three copies of relevant design report done by him/her; and
iv) be accompanied by a processing fee of RM50 per application in money order/bank draft/cheque
made payable to the Board of Engineers Malaysia
a) Registration Fee
A registration fee of RM300 will be charged for those who have attended and passed the interview.

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 28

Every Accredited Checker desirous of renewing his/her registration under the Act shall:
i) submit to the Board an application for renewal in Form H on or before January 31st of the year
following the year of the expiration of his/her registration;
ii) submit the payment in money order, bank draft or cheque made payable to the Board of Engineers
Malaysia; and
iii) have paid up his/her annual renewal fee as Professional Engineer.
The annual renewal fee is:
Category A: Those below 60 years old
Category B: Those 60 years and above



Section 16 of the Registration of Engineers (Amendment) Act 2002 [Act A1158] provides for the removal
from the Register, the name and other particulars of:
a) any registered Engineer who has died;
b) any registered Engineer , other than a Graduate Engineer, or Engineering consultancy practice who
has failed to renew his or its registration within one month of the expiry of the registration;
c) any registered Engineer whose registration has been cancelled under paragraph 15(1A)(d); or
d) any registered Engineer whose registration has been effected by reason of any mistake or error made
by the Board in considering his application for registration.
All appeals shall be submitted to the Appeal Board, Board of Engineers Malaysia (constituted under
Section 20, Registration of Engineers (Amendment) Act 2002 [Act A1158]).

Be a registered Professional Engineer under the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 in

the civil, structural or geotechnical engineering discipline.

Minimum 10 years relevant practical experience in the design or construction of
Minimum seven years experience in geotechnical or structural design after
registration as Professional Engineer
Minimum one year experience in the relevant field gained in Malaysia.

Attended the Interview conducted by Accredited Checkers Committee


Accredited Checker

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 29


b) Renewal Fee


Asian And Pacific Decade Of Disabled Persons 2003-2012

Biwako Millennium
Framework For Action
Submitted by Ooi Kah Hooi

n May 2002, ESCAP adopted the resolution

Promoting an inclusive, barrier-free and rightsbased society for people with disabilities in the Asian
and Pacific regions in the 21 st century. The
resolution also proclaimed the extension of the Asian and
Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 1993-2002, for another
decade, 2003-2012.
In October 2002, Governments at the High-level
Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and
Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 1993-2002, adopted
the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards
an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for
Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific as the
regional policy guideline for the new decade.
The Biwako Millennium Framework outlines issues,
action plans and strategies towards an inclusive, barrierfree and rights-based society for persons with disabilities.
To achieve the goal, the framework identifies seven
priority areas for action, in which critical issues, targets
with specific timeframe and actions are specified. In all,
21 targets and 17 strategies supporting the achievement
of all the targets are identified.
The new decade (2003-2012) will ensure the paradigm
shift from a charity-based approach to a rights-based
approach to protect the civil, cultural, economic, political
and social rights of persons with disabilities.
To pursue the targets and strategies, consultations with
and involvement of civil societies, inter alia, self-help
organisations and concerned NGOs are essential.
The following summarises the seven priority areas
for action, the targets, strategies, timeframe and
supporting/monitoring mechanisms.
(1) Self-help organisations of persons with disabilities
and related family and parent associations.

(6) Access to information and communications, including

information, communication and assertive
(7) Poverty alleviation through social security and
livelihood programmes.
(8) Highlights of item (5) : Access to built environment
and public transport.
Inaccessibility to the built environment, including
public transport systems, is still the major barrier for
persons with disabilities. This problem will only be
exacerbated, as the number of older people with
disabilities increases in the region. Universal design
approaches benefit all people in society, including
older persons, pregnant women and parents with
young children. Its economic benefits have been
legitimised, yet substantive initiatives at policy level
have not been taken. Three targets are set to improve
the situation:

The Government should adopt and enforce

accessibility standards for planning of public
facilities, infrastructure and transport, including
those in rural/ agricultural contexts.

Existing public transport systems and all new and

renovated public transport systems should be
made accessible as soon as practicable.

All international and regional funding agencies

for infrastructure development should include
universal and inclusive design concepts in their
loan/grant award criteria.

(2) Women with disabilities.

(3) Early detection, early intervention and education.
(4) Training and employment, including selfemployment.
(5) Access to built environment and public transport.

For further information, please refer to

sps/disability.htm BEM

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 30

Part 1
By Ir. Harbans Singh K.S., B.E (Mech) Spore, P.E., C.Eng,
LLB(Hons) London, CLP, DipICArb.

n all the frequently encountered methods of contract

procurement employed locally in the engineering and
construction industry, the contractor is responsible
for both the method and the sequencing of working.
To enable these goals to be achieved, the contractor must
programme the works accordingly; hence the generation
of a document labelled Work Programme, Programme
of Works or simply Programme. Its importance for the
proper management of the construction process cannot
be denied. In parallel, its use as a tool for the efficient
administration of the contract by the employer also cannot
be underestimated. Therefore, it is not surprising that its
preparation and submission has grown from a mere
administrative step to a serious contractual obligation on
the part of the contractor in contemporary practice; breach
of which obligation has assumed consequences of a very
grave nature 1.

In view of its immense importance in every such

endeavour, this paper has been penned with an aim of
exposing practitioners to the pertinent contractual as well
as the attendant procedural requirements vis--vis the
topic of work programme. Though constrained by the
length of the article permitted by the publisher, the author
nevertheless will attempt to address the main areas of
concern so as to adequately cover the topic in hand.
In an An Engineering Contract Dictionary 2, the term
programme has been defined as:


Express contract provisions governing various aspects
of the contractors obligations pertaining to the Work
Programme are included in a number of local forms of
conditions of contract, namely:

Sub-clauses 3.4 to 3.6: PAM 98 Form (With Quantities

and Without Quantities) Editions;

Clause 5 4: CIDB Standard Form of Contract For

Building Works (2000 Edition); and

Clause 7 5: IEM Conditions of Contract For Mechanical

and Electrical Works (IEM.ME 1/94 Form)

The other common forms e.g. JKR 203 and 203A,

IEM.CE 1/89, etc. have no such express stipulations.
However, in contracts employing such forms, the
requirements pertaining to the Work Programme are
normally included in the Preliminaries Section of the
Bills of Quantities, etc.; a practice which is being replaced
by the use of express contract provisions. 6
There are no hard and fast rules governing the form
the work programme must be in. The eventual form to be
adopted for such a programme is usually dictated by three
main factors, such as:

The size and complexity of the works under the



As reflected in the various express contractual provisions.

By Vincent Powell-Smith at P 500.
In The Malaysian Standard Form of Building Contract [2nd
Edn.] at P 81.
Entitled Work Programme and Method Statement.
Termed Programme.
See also Glenlion Construction Ltd. v The Guinness Trust
(1987) 39 BLR 89 for the effect of such non-contractual

A schedule or chart showing stages in a scheme of

work. Reference in Conditions of Contract to programme
inevitably means the contractors programme being his
sequence for execution of the works .
Sundra Rajoo 3 sums up the meaning of the term Work
Programme as:
A graphic representation of the detailed sequence of
work activities and mobilisation of resources towards that
sequence of activities. It represents the contractors plan
of proceeding for the work ..


B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 31

engineering & law

Work Programme A Contractual Perspective

engineering & law

The extent to which the details e.g. the activities,

sequence of activities, etc. are to be shown; and
Any express stipulations in the contract pertaining
to the form to be adopted.

The contractor shall submit to the Engineer for his

approval the Programme which shall include the following:
(a) the sequence and timing in which the contractor
proposes to carry out the works (including the
design, manufacture, delivery to site, erection,
testing and commissioning)

In practice, the common forms of such programmes

that are encountered include:

Simple Bar charts;

(b) the times when submission and approval of the
contractors drawings are required

Gannt charts;

Critical Path Analysis (CPA);

Project Evaluation Review Techniques (PERT);

(c) the times by which the contractor requires the


Project Network charts;

Project Activity Flow charts;

Multi-Level Project Scheduling (MLPS);

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS);

Programmes involving particular software e.g.

Primivera, Microsoft Project, etc.

(i) to furnish any drawings or information;

(ii) to provide access to site;
(iii) to have completed any necessary civil
engineering or building work (including
foundations for the plant), to be provided by
the Employer; and

Depending upon the particular project involved in a

specific case, a typical application may necessitate a
number of the above forms for both overall and detailed

(iv) to have obtained any way leaves, consents and

approvals necessary for the construction of the
works, for which the Employer is responsible
Reviewing the said provisions, the following summary
can be drawn:

If possible, the preferable content of the required work

programme should be expressly stipulated; a classic
example being clause 7.1 IEM.ME 1/94 Form;

Notwithstanding the existence of any express provision,

the contractor is obliged to prepare and submit as
detailed a programme as possible to meet the broad
purposes of the document i.e. to identify the activities,
sequence of activities and the critical milestones vis-vis the works under the contract. A master
programme should be prepared for the overall works
and separate individual programmes for each section,
phase, block or system, as appropriate;

Each programme should detail out the following as a


As for the form, there are currently no guidelines
available locally spelling out the expected contents of
the work programme. Much is left to the contractor to
decide based on his experience, bearing in mind the
purpose of the programme in the context of the particular
circumstances of the contract works being undertaken.
Where the conditions of contract expressly stipulate the
specific contents required, these should be adhered to.
Examples of such express provisions include the

Clause 7.1: IEM.ME 1/94 Form 8 stipulates:

Clause 5.1(a): CIDB 2000 Edition Form which reads:

. the contractor shall, not later than Date of
Commencement submit for the approval of the
Superintending officer:

(a) The principal activities;

(a) a works programme related to the Time for

Completion, clearly identifying the sequence, logic
and critical path in which he proposes to carry out
the works, including the various work activities and
milestones to be achieved .

(c) The timing of such activities;

(b) The sequence of such activities;


Also called the Critical Path Method (CPM)

I.E.M. Conditions of Contract For Mechanical and
Electrical Works.



(e) Important milestones vis--vis submittals by the

contractor necessary to achieve completion by the
date of completion e.g.
Times of submission of shop/fabrication
drawings, etc.
ii) Times of submission of method statements
iii) Times of submission of samples, etc.; and

management) is to set down the timing of the contractors

requirements for site access, information, drawings and
nominations, for the guidance of the contract
administrator, and it is for the reasonableness of these
requirements, in relation to the date for completion that
the contract administrator checks and approves the
programme submitted .


(f) Important milestones for the employer/contract

administrator to meet to enable the contractor to
achieve completion by the date of completion
stipulated in the contract e.g.

Times by which the various submittals e.g.

drawings, samples, etc. need to be approved;

ii) Times by which works under P.C. Sums 10 need

to be awarded;
iii) Times by which possession and/or access to
the whole and/or various sections of the site
need to be given to the contractor;

In Hudsons Building and Engineering Contracts 13,

such purposes have been lucidly explained to the following
The purpose of contractual requirements for a
programme to be supplied by the contractor is often
misunderstood, and is primarily to enable its owner or
his Architect/Engineer to plan their own arrangements
for giving possession, supplying information and working
drawings, and coordinating the work of other contractors
or nominated sub-contractors, and only secondarily for
use in connection with the contractors extension of time
applications or monetary claims, or to impose additional
time obligations on it.
Hence, analysing the above explanations, the following
principal purposes can be identified:

iv) Times by which the employer needs to furnish

the contractor with necessary approvals 11,
further details and/or information under the

As for the contractor, the main purposes in preparing

the work programme are:
(a) For his own construction management purposes;
(b) To meet his obligations under the contract
pertaining to the submission of such document; 14

Times by which the employer needs to obtain

and provide the contractor with any necessary
easements, way leaves, etc. in connection with
the works; and

(c) To monitor his work progress under the contract; 15

(d) To plan his cash flow;

vi) Miscellaneous milestones to be satisfied by the

employer so as not to hinder the contractor in
carrying out and/or completing the works.

(e) To justify any application for an extension of time

to the contract due to disruption of his progress;

In approaching this subject, one should be mindful of

the fact that the actual content of a particular work
programme is also influenced by the method of contract
procurement adopted. Hence, it is therefore inevitable
that the content of a Package Deal type of work
programme will materially differ from that under the
traditional contracting route.

The purposes of submission of the work programme
are explained in various manners by different
authorities/practitioners. Robinson and Lavers 12 have
aptly summed up these purposes in the following words:
The primary use and importance of work programme
(other than in the contractors own construction

(f) To use as a basis of claiming any monetary

compensation e.g. loss and/or expense due to
disruption of his progress, etc.


Inclusive of the relevant float time.

I.e. involving Nominated Sub-contractors.
Including consents, decisions, etc.
See Construction Law in Singapore and Malaysia [2nd Edn.]
at P 298.
13. [11th Edn. 1995] by Prof. Wallace at P 1129 as reproduced
in The Malaysian Standard Form of Building Contract [2nd
Edn.] by Sundra Rajoo at P 81.
14. Especially if there are express stipulations to this effect e.g.
clause 5.1 CIDB Form, etc.
15. And for the progress of his sub-contractors, suppliers, etc.



engineering & law

(d) The identification of the critical activities 9 and the

critical path;

engineering & law

(h) To assist in the preparation of the facilities

management plan; and

On the employers side, the primary purposes for the

submission of the work programme are to enable the
employer/contract administrator to plan their own
arrangements for:
(a) Giving necessary site possession and/or access to
the contractor to enable him to commence and
proceed with the works under the contract;

(i) Such other purposes necessary and incidental to

the completion of works, taking over and eventual
use and operation by the employer.

(b) Preparing and supplying information, working

drawings details, etc. necessary for the contractor
to proceed with the works;
(c) Giving necessary approvals, consents and decisions
in time to enable works to proceed as planned;
(d) Obtaining relevant easements, way leaves, etc. in
connection with the works for the purposes of the
contract; and
(e) Appointing Nominated Sub-Contractors, third party
contractors, etc. in time so as not to disrupt the
contractors progress.

In addition to the above primary purposes, the contract

administrator requires the work programme for use in
connection with such collateral purposes as:
(a) To aid the cost planner in gauging the contractors
cash profile for the project and preparing cash
projections to ensure that the employers obligations
under the contract as to payment are met;
(b) To use as a basis of monitoring the contractors
(c) In deciding whether there is a basis of determining
the contractors employment on the ground, where
provided for, that the contractor has defaulted in
not proceeding regularly and diligently with the
works; 16
(d) To evaluate the contractors application for
extension of time due to disruption of progress of
(e) To evaluate the contractors application for
monetary claims in connection with disruption of
progress e.g. claims for extended preliminaries, loss
and/or expense, etc.;
(f) For general contract administration and
coordination of the works of all contractors, subcontractors and third parties on site;
(g) To aid in the preparation of the employers handing
over and migration plan;

Just as for the content, the purposes of the work

programme are influenced by the method of contract
procurement adopted in a particular case. As an
example, the main purposes of a work programme are
of a lesser importance in contracts undertaken along
the package deal route 17 because unlike traditional
general contracts, the contract administrator for a
package deal type of contract is not obliged to supply
details, information, etc. nor undertake the necessary
coordination. Hence, one should be mindful of such
matters in dealing with the instant subject.


Unless otherwise stipulated, the contractor is obliged
to submit the work programme within a reasonable period
after the award of the contract; at the latest being the
date of the site possession meeting. Much as it is desired
to solicit such a programme as early as possible, the
prevailing local practice reflects the general lackadaisical
attitude of most contractors to this matter, whereby one
is not likely to sight a proper programme being produced
and submitted until well after site possession has been
In instances where express provisions have been
included in the conditions of contract governing the issue
of work programme, they generally stipulate the time
frame for the submission of such documents. Examples

Sub-clause 3.4 of the PAM 98 Form (With Quantities

and Without Quantities) Editions states:
Within fourteen (14) days upon the issue of the letter
of acceptance, the contractor without charge to the
Employer, shall provide the Architect with two copies
of the work programme for the execution of the works

CIDB Form (2000) Edition in Sub-clause 5.1 stipulates:

Following the Letter of Award, and without prejudice
to any requirement to do so earlier in his tender or the
other contract documents, the contractor shall, not later
than the Date of Commencement, submit for the
approval by the Superintending Officer
(a) a works programme

16. See Clause 25.1(ii) PAM 98 Form With Quantities Edition

for example.
17. See The ICE Design and Construct Contract: A
Commentary by B. Eggleston at P 125.



Following the letter of award 18 i.e. within a reasonable

period of its issue;

Within a definite period of the issue of the letter of

award e.g. fourteen (14) days in the PAM 98 Form,

Not later than the date of commencement of the works

under the contract e.g. Clause 51 CIDB Form, etc.;

Within any other period stipulated in the contractors

tender offer and/or other documents constituting the
contract e.g. Clause 51 CIDB Form, etc.


The consequences of the failure to submit the
programme are dictated generally by the formula as set
out hereunder:

Where there are no express contractual provisions vis-vis the submissions of the programme, there can
accordingly be no sanctions and the contractor cannot
be stopped from commencing with the works under
the contract. However, he may compromise his right
to receive necessary approvals, consents, information,
etc. in time;

In the event the conditions of contract contain express

provisions on the requirement for the submission of
the programme, the contractors failure to do so would
be a breach of contract on his part. The contractual
remedies available to the employer for such default
may include:
a) Any remedy expressly spelt out in the conditions
of contract itself e.g. sub-clause 5.5 CIDB Form
(2000 Edition).
b) Ordering suspension of works i.e. if there is an
express clause pertaining to suspension and refusing
the contractors costs on the ground that the
programme was necessary for the proper execution
or for the safety of the works 19
c) Activating the determination procedure on the
ground that the contractor was persistently in
breach of his obligations under the contract 20, or
where the default persists following written
instructions from the contract administrator, on the
ground that the contractor has persistently refused
or failed to comply with a written instruction from
the contract administrator 21


Notwithstanding attempts being made to include
express provisions circumscribing various facets of the
contractors work programme, this document remains
primarily a tool for the contractor to plan his method and
sequencing of his works under the contract. This is echoed
in the following extract from Engineering Law and the
ICE Contracts: 22
The programme, for example, is not contractual in
the same sense as the specification, since neither the
contractor nor the employer is bound by it. The
programme is what it is a document indicating the
intention of the contractor at the time he furnishes it as
to how he intends to programme his works.
A similar sentiment is reflected by Roger Knowles in
his lucid explanation for the said approach to the following
The programme is usually intended to be a flexible
document. If the contractor gets behind, say due to the
insolvency of a sub-contractor, he would normally expect
to revise the programme in an attempt to make up for lost
time. For this reason, programmes are rarely listed as
contract documents. It is the requirement of most contracts
that obligations provided for in contract documents must
be carried out to the letter. With a programme containing
some hundred or more activities, compliance for start and
finish date for each without the possibility of revision
would be impractical. For this reason, programmes should
not be contract documents 23
The general legal position vis--vis the status of the
work programme can be summed up as follows:

If the programme is called for at the tendering stage

and is accepted by the employer, it becomes
contractually binding: Yorkshire Water Authority v
Sir Alfred McAlpine and Son (Northern) Ltd. 24

However, if the programme comes into existence after

the contract has been made, it is not a contract
document 25 unless the parties expressly agree to

18. Synonymous with the Letter of Acceptance.

19. See The ICE Design and Construct Contract: A Commentary
by B. Eggleston at P 128.
20. Ibid i.e. if such an express clause is in the contract.
21. E.g. clause 25.1(vi) PAM 98 Form (With Quantities) Edn.
22. (4th Edn. 1991) by M.W. Abrahamson at P 79
23. In 100 Contractual Problems and Their Solutions at P 70
24. [1986] 32 BLR 114.
25. See The ICE Design and Construct Contract: A
Commentary by B. Eggleston at P 126.



engineering & law

Hence, it can be noted that the usual time frames

expressly stipulated in such forms fix the time for
submission according to the formulae as set out here

engineering & law

5. The appointment of nominated subcontractors,26 third party contractors, etc.;

To dispel any doubts as to the status of the programme,

most standard forms of conditions of contract include
specially drafted clauses to this effect; common examples

Sub-clause 3.5: Work Programme Not Part or

Incorporated into Contract Documents - PAM 98 Form
(With Quantities and Without Quantities) Editions.
Sub-Clause 5.2: Work Programme and Method
Statement Not Part of Contract Document - CIDB
Standard Form of Contract For Building Works
(2000 Edition)

6. The undertaking of specific obligations for the

purposes of the contract e.g. delivery of employer
furnished materials, etc.
In carrying out such assessments, the contract
administrator must be wary of the effect of the approval
of such programme and the contractual duties being
imposed on the contract administrator/employer thereof.
II. The Response
Following the above-mentioned review, the contract
administrator must respond within a reasonable
period 27 of receipt of the work programme by either:

Where the contract is silent as to the status of such

document e.g. IEM.ME 1/94 Form, resort must be made to
the general legal position as stipulated hereabove.
I. Assessment
Upon receipt of the work programme from the
contractor, the contract administrator has to carry
out the necessary checks or assessments to ensure
that the document submitted:

Complies with the governing express contract


The form is acceptable;

The contents reflect the contractual requirements

and they are sufficient and complete as to the
identification of the work activities, the sequencing
of the work activities, the relevant milestones, etc.;

Approving/Accepting the programme in writing,


Rejecting/Disapproving the programme in

writing, giving reasons

Withholding approval by requesting for further


If the contract administrator fails to respond

within either the stipulated period or within a
reasonable period (i.e. if none is stipulated) from
the date of receipt of the contractors submission,
then the work programme is deemed to have been
approved or accepted by the contract
administrator 28.
III. Approval
Synonymous with Acceptance, approval of the
work programme invokes the following effects:

The critical activities and the critical path have been


The programming of the works is not optimistic

but realistic;

The target dates/milestones set for the contract

administrator/employer as to matters such as listed
hereunder are reasonable:
1. The supply of drawings, information, details, etc.
2. The provision of site possession and/or access;
3. The giving of necessary approvals, consents,
decisions, etc.
4. The obtaining of the relevant easements, way
leaves, etc.

It signifies the contract administrators

agreement with the proposed order or sequence
of working in the work programme 29
The approved work programme may be taken
into account in any dispute for determining a
reasonable order or sequence for supplying any
outstanding information or details to the
contractor, or for giving possession of the site
by the employer 30

26. Including the ordering of the works under

Provisional Sums.
27. Unless expressly stipulated e.g. 14 days per clause 5.3 CIDB
Form (2000 Edn.), etc.
28. See Sub-clause 5.3(c) CIDB Form (2000 Edn.) and also Mackay
v Dick (1880-81) 6 App. Case 251.
29. See Sub-clause 5.3(a) CIDB Form (2000 Edn.).
30. See Sub-clause 5.3(b) CIDB Form (2000 Edn.).



In relation to the time for completion; or

As to a reasonable time for giving or receiving

further information; or

For giving possession of the site, etc.

For the sake of clarity and to avoid possible

misconstruction, it may be prudent to include such
a provision in the contract so that the parties are
aware from the very beginning as to the likely
consequences of such an eventuality.
V. Withholding Approval
A third option available to the contract
administrator following an assessment of the work
programme is to withhold approval. This may be
necessitated by factors such as:


As to the mode of communicating the approval,

unless it is stipulated expressly to the contrary, the
accepted practice is to have this in writing.
IV. Rejection/Disapproval
In the event the contract administrator finds
the submission unacceptable, he may reject it
together with the reasons for the rejection and may
require the contractor to:

make the necessary amendments; and

resubmit the programme for re-consideration.

Lack of clarity of the contents;

Lack of sufficiency of information supplied;

Disagreement with the reasonableness of the

milestones set vis--vis the employers and/or
contractors obligations; and

Miscellaneous matters having a material impact

on the programme 34

Hence, the contract administrator may withhold

approval and request further information from the
contractor; such information comprising
principally: 35

This approach is reaffirmed in Clause 5.4 of the

CIDB Form (2000 Edn.) which states:

Further clarification;

In the event the works

disapproved by the Superintending Officer, then the
contractor shall make such further submissions as
may be required until approval is obtained


Satisfaction on reasonableness having regard to

the contractors obligations; and

It is pertinent to note that neither a time frame

for resubmission nor the number of resubmissions
is stipulated; merely that the contractor must
resubmit until approval is obtained.

Miscellaneous matters having a material impact

on the programme.

Such requests for information should be in

writing, and the contractor should be given a
reasonable time to respond. It is important to bear
in mind the reasons behind such an exercise; an
abuse of the process for trivial reasons in an attempt
to procrastinate or delay the approval process may
constitute mal-administration of the contract with
dire consequences. BEM

The next question that begs an answer is as to

the effect of the failure to secure approval of the
programme on the commencement of work.
Although most standard conditions of contracts fail
to expressly address this matter, a useful guidance
is afforded by Clause 5.5 33 of the CIDB Form (2000
Edn.) in the following manner:
The Contractor may commence execution of
the works pending approval of the work the Superintending Officer.
However, the grounds of any approval may be taken
into account in determining any dispute as to a
reasonable sequence or order for giving possession
of the site, or for supplying supplementary drawings
or details or information


E.g. Clause 7.3 IEM.ME 1/94 Form.

See Sub-clause 5.3(b) CIDB Form (2000 Edn.).
Entitled Start of Work Without Approval.
E.g. issues to do with Float Time, Optimistic
Programme, etc.
35. See The ICE Design and Construct Contract:
A Commentary by B. Eggleston at P 129.



engineering & law

This is normally subject to the express caveat

to the effect that the approval of the programme
by the contract administrator shall not relieve the
contractor or the employer from any obligation
under the contract 31 e.g.

By Tew Kia Hui, Director/Soil Erosion Research Consultant, VT Soil Erosion Research & Consultancy


scheduling techniques should be

compared with other less effective
erosion and sediment controls to
achieve a cost-effective balance.

Specific BMPs should be

construction activities that result in
erosion of construction sites and the
generation of sediment, which impact
waterways and off-site properties.
Recommended erosion and
sediment control measures for
construction sites are summarised in
Table 2 in relation to BMP objectives,
and this information is suitable for
inclusion in the ESCP.

Site Planning Considerations

Defined as sequencing the
construction project to reduce the
amount and duration of soil exposed
to erosion by wind, rain, runoff, and
vehicle tracking. Proper sequencing
of construction activities should be
incorporated into the schedule of
every construction project. However,
use of other more costly yet less
effective erosion and sedimentation
controls may often be reduced
through proper construction
The approach would be to
integrate into existing land contours
as far as practicable, incorporate
existing natural areas, avoid rainy
periods, practise erosion and sediment
control all year round, minimise the
extent of soil exposed at any one time
and also carry out trenching
This procedure may increase other
construction costs due to reduced
economies of scale in performing site
grading. The cost-effectiveness of

Preservation of
Existing Vegetation
Carefully planned preservation of
existing vegetation minimises the
potential of removing or injuring
existing trees, shrubs, and/or grass
that serve as erosion controls.
Corridors of vegetation act as
buffer zones to separate disturbed
land from an adjacent watercourse,
protected forest, or other sensitive
areas. Leaving a clearly marked
buffer zone around these unique areas
will help to preserve them, as well as
benefiting from their natural erosion
The inspection and maintenance
requirements for protection of
vegetation are low and there is little
cost associated with preserving
existing vegetation if properly
planned during the project design.
Aesthetic benefits may also enhance
property values.

Shrubs and trees must be

adequately watered, fertilised, and
pruned if needed. Grass may need to
be watered and mowed too.
However, permanent and
temporary vegetation may not be
appropriate in dry periods without
irrigation. Fertiliser requirements
may have the potential to create
stormwater pollution if improperly
Mulching is a temporary ground
covering that protects the soil from
rainfall impacts, increases infiltration,
conserves moisture around trees,
shrubs, and seedings, prevents
compaction and cracking of soil, and
aids the growth of seedings and plants
by holding the seeds, fertilisers and
topsoil in place until growth occurs.

Vegetative Stabilisation
Seeding and Planting
Seeding of grass and planting of
trees, shrubs and ground covers
provide long-term stabilisation of soil.
Grass may also be planted for
temporary stabilisation. It is
appropriate for site stabilisation - both
during and after construction - in any
graded or cleared areas where
construction activities have ceased,
open space, cut and fill areas, steep
slopes, spoil stockpiles, vegetated
swales, landscape corridors and
stream banks.

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 39

Mulching can be used either to

temporarily or permanently stabilise
cleared or freshly seeded areas. Types
of mulches include organic materials,
straw, wood chips, bark or other wood
fibres, decomposed granite and
gravel. A variety of mats of organic
or inorganic materials and chemical
stabilisation may be used with
Mulch prevents erosion by
protecting the soil surface and
fostering growth of new seedings that
do not stabilise by themselves.


Best Management Practices On

Soil Erosion And Sediment Control
In The Construction Industry Part 2

Organic mulch materials such as

straw, wood chips, bark and wood
fibre are most effective where revegetation will be provided by
reseeding. The choice of mulch
should be based on the size of the
area, site slopes, surface conditions
(such as hardness and moisture), weed
growth and availability of mulch
However, the limitation is that
organic mulches are not permanent
erosion control measures. Mulches
tend to lower the soil surface
temperature, and may delay
germination of some seeds.
Physical Stabilisation
Geotextiles and Mats
Mattings are made of natural or
synthetic material, which are used to
temporarily or permanently stabilise
soil. Mattings reduce erosion from
rainfall impact, hold soil in place, and

Disturbed Area

Project Slopes
and Channels

Control Site

Control Internal

Disturbed Area

Site Planning Considerations

Preservation of Existing Vegetation
Vegetative Stabilisation
Seeding and Planting
Physical Stabilisation
Geotextiles and Mats
Dust Control
Temporary Waterway Crossing
Construction Road Stabilisation
Construction Access Stabilisation
Diversion of Runoff
Earth Bank
Diversion Channel
Slope Drain
Flow Velocity Reduction
Drainage Outlet Protection
Check Dam
Sediment Trapping / Filtering
Sediment Fence
Sand Bag Barrier
Brush or Rock Filter
Drainage Inlet Protection
Sediment Traps
Sediment Basins

Contain Waste


Practise Good



Table 2: Erosion and sediment control measures and objectives

absorb and hold moisture near the soil

surface. Additionally, mattings may
be used alone or with mulch during
the establishment of protective cover
on critical slopes.
Mattings are typically suited for
permanent site stabilisation, but may
be used for temporary or permanent
stabilisation of highly erosive soils.
Mattings may be applied to disturbed
soils and where existing vegetation
has been removed.
Mattings, on the other hand, are
more costly than other BMPs, limiting
their use to areas where other BMPs
are ineffective (e.g. channels, steep
slopes). They may also delay seed
germination, due to reduction in soil

Dust Control
Dust control measures are used to
stabilise soil from wind erosion and
reduce dust generated by construction
activities. They are suitable to be

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 40

applied in clearing and grading

activities, construction vehicle traffic
on unpaved roads, drilling and
blasting activities, sediment tracking
onto paved roads, soil and debris
storage stockpiles, batch drop from
front end loaders and areas with
unstabilised soil. Final grading/site
stabilisation usually is sufficient to
control post-construction dust
Installation costs for water/
chemical dust suppression are low, but
annual costs may be quite high since
these measures are effective for only
a few hours to a few days.
The limitations include watering
prevents dust only for a short period
and they should be applied daily (or
more often) to be effective, and overwatering may cause erosion.
Temporary Waterway Crossing
A temporary access waterway
crossing is a temporary culvert, ford,


or bridge placed across a waterway

to provide access for construction
purposes for a period of less than one
year. Temporary access crossings are
not intended to be used by the general

erosion, but significantly speeds onsite work, avoids instances of

immobilised equipment and delivery
vehicles, and generally improves site
efficiency and working conditions
during adverse weather.
The roadway however, must be
removed or paved when construction
is complete. Certain chemical
stabilisation methods may cause
stormwater or soil pollution and
should not be used.
Construction Access
A stabilised construction access is
a stabilised pad of aggregate
underlain with filter cloth located at
any point where traffic will be
entering or leaving a construction site
from or to a public right-of-way,
street, alley, footpath or parking area.
Stabilising the site entrance
significantly reduces the amount of
sediment (dust and mud) tracked offsite, especially if a wash rack is
incorporated for removing caked-on
Applications include all points of
construction entry and exit from the
site and unpaved areas where
sediment tracking occurs from the site
onto paved roads. This access should
be used in conjunction with street
sweeping on the adjacent public rightof-way and it requires periodic top
dressing with additional stones.

The purpose of a temporary

crossing is to provide a safe, erosionfree access point across a waterway
for construction equipment. An
engineer should establish minimum
standards and specifications for the
design, construction, maintenance
and removal of the structure.
Crossings may be necessary to prevent
construction equipment from causing
erosion of the waterway and tracking
of pollutants into the waterway.
However, the temporary waterway
crossings may be an expensive
improvement and require other BMPs
to minimise soil disturbance during
installation and removal.
Construction Road Stabilisation
Access roads, subdivision roads,
parking areas, and other on-site
vehicle transportation routes should
be stabilised immediately after
grading, and frequently maintained
to prevent erosion and control dust.
Areas which are graded for
construction vehicle transport and
parking purposes are especially
susceptible to erosion and dust. The
exposed soil surface is continually
disturbed, leaving no opportunity for
vegetative stabilisation. Such areas
also tend to collect and transport
surface runoff. During wet weather,
they often become muddy quagmires,
which generate significant quantities
of sediment that may pollute nearby
streams or be transported off-site on
the wheels of construction vehicles.
Dirt roads can become so unstable
during wet weather that they are
virtually unusable.
Efficient construction road
stabilisation not only reduces on-site

Diversion of Runoff
Earth Bank
A temporary earth bank is a
temporary beam or ridge of
compacted soil used to divert runoff
or channel water to a desired location,
thereby reducing the potential for
erosion and off-site sedimentation.
Earth banks may also be used to divert
runoff from off-site and from
undisturbed areas away from
disturbed areas, and to divert sheet
flows away from unprotected slopes.
An earth bank does not in itself
control erosion or remove sediment
from runoff; it prevents erosion by
directing runoff to an erosion control
device such as a sediment trap or
basin, or directing runoff away from
an erosive area. Temporary earth
banks should not adversely impact
adjacent properties and must conform
to any local floodplain management

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 42

Earth banks are typically used to

divert concentrated runoff through
disturbed areas into another BMP (e.g.
a sediment trap or basin), to divert
runoff away from disturbed or
unstable slopes, to divert runoff from
off-site and undisturbed areas around
disturbed areas, and as containment
for construction materials and wastes.
The on-site banks should remain in
place until the disturbed areas are
permanently stabilised and must
safely convey anticipated flood flows.
Banks should not be used for
drainage areas greater than four
hectares, or along slopes greater than
10%. For larger areas, more
permanent drainage structures should
be built.
Diversion Channel
Temporary diversion channels
may be used to divert offsite runoff
around the construction site, divert
runoff from stabilised areas around
disturbed areas, and direct runoff into
sediment traps or basins. Diversion
channels should be installed when the
site is initially graded and remain in
place until permanent BMPs are
installed and/or slopes are stabilised.
appropriate for diverting any upslope
runoff around unstabilised or
disturbed areas of the construction
site in order to prevent slope failures,
prevent damage to adjacent property,
prevent erosion and sediments into
waterways, increase the potential for
infiltration and divert sediment-laden
runoff into trapping devices.
However, they must conform to local
floodplain management requirements.

Slope Drain
A slope drain is a temporary pipe
or lined channel to drain the top of a
slope to a stable discharge point at
the bottom of a slope without causing
erosion. It is typically used in
combination with an earth bank or
diversion channel at the top of the
A slope drain is effective because
it prevents runoff from flowing
directly down a slope by confining
all of the runoff into a channel or
enclosed pipe. However, the
maximum drainage area per slope
drain is two hectares. Larger areas
would require a paved chute, rock
lined channel, or additional pipes.
Other limitations are that the clogged

Flow Velocity Reduction

Drainage Outlet Protection
Drainage outlet protection is a
physical device composed of rock,
grouted riprap, or concrete rubble
which is placed at the outlet of a
culvert, conduit or channel to prevent
scour of the soil caused by high flow
velocities, and to absorb flow energy
to produce non-erosive velocities.
Rock outlet protection is effective
when the rock is sized and placed
properly. When this is accomplished,
rock outlets do much to limit erosion
at pipe outlets. Rock size should be
increased for high velocity flows. The
best results are obtained when sound,
durable, angular rock is used.
However, large storms often wash
away rock outlet protections and
leave the area susceptible to erosion.
Sediment captured by the rock outlet
protection will be difficult to remove
without removing the rock.

Check Dam
A check dam is a small temporary
dam constructed across a diversion
channel or swale. Check dams reduce
the velocity of concentrated
stormwater flows, therefore reducing
erosion of the diversion channel or
swale and promoting sedimentation
behind the dam. If properly anchored,
brush or rock filter berms may be used
for check dams.
Check dam is primarily used in
small channels in steep terrain, where
velocities exceed 0.6 m/s, in
preventing erosion by reducing the
velocity of channel flow in small
intermittent channels and temporary
swales. Check dam is to be used only
in small open channels, which drain
an area of four hectares or less and
not to be used in streams, or in lined
or vegetated channels.

for support. Sediment fences trap

sediment by intercepting and
detaining small amounts of sediment
from disturbed areas during
construction operations in order to
promote sedimentation behind the
fence and decrease the velocity of low
flows (up to 15 l/s) in swales and small
diversion channels.
Sediment fences are generally
effective in locations where the flow
is concentrated, and are only
applicable for sheet overland flows
and not to be used in streams,
channels, or any places where the
flow is concentrated, and in locations
where ponded water may cause
Sand Bag Barrier
Stacking sand bags along a level
contour creates a barrier, which
detains sediment-laden water by
ponding upstream of the barrier water,
thereby promoting sedimentation.
Sand bags provide a semi-permeable
barrier in potentially wet areas and
are more permanent than sediment
fences. They also allow for easy onsite relocation to meet changing needs
during construction.

Sediment Trapping/Filtering
Sediment Fence
A sediment fence is a temporary
sediment barrier consisting of filter
fabric stretched across and attached
to supporting posts, entrenched, and,
depending upon the strength of the
fabric used, backed by a wire fence

Sand bag barriers are most costly,

but typically more durable, having a
longer useful life than other barriers
and may be used in drainage areas
up to two hectares.
Brush or Rock Filter
A rock filter berm is made of rock,
with diameter between 20 to 75 mm,
placed along a level contour where
sheet flow may be detained and
ponded to promote sedimentation. A
brush barrier is composed of brush
(usually obtained during the site
clearing) wrapped in filter cloth and
anchored to the toe of the slope. If
properly anchored, brush or rock
filters may be used as a check dam
for sediment trapping and velocity
Rock filter berms should only be
applied to drainage areas not
exceeding two hectares, but if there
is insufficient storage space, runoff
will pond at upstream of the filter,
possibly causing flooding in the area.

Drainage Inlet Protection

Drainage inlet protection consists
of a sediment filter or an impounding
area around or upstream of a

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 43

stormwater drain, drop inlet, or kerb

inlet which prevents excessive
sediment from entering stormwater
drainage systems prior to permanent
All on-site stormwater inlets
receiving sediment-laden runoff
should be protected, either by
covering the inlet or promoting
sedimentation upstream of the inlet.
Off-site inlets should be protected in
areas where construction activity
tracks sediment onto paved areas or
where inlets receive runoff from
disturbed areas.
Drainage inlet protection is
recommended only for drainage areas
smaller than 0.4 hectares, unless a
sediment trap first intercepts the
runoff. However, ponding will occur
at a protected inlet, with possible
short-term flooding.
Sediment Traps
A sediment trap is a small
temporary ponding area, usually with
a gravel outlet, formed by excavation
and/or construction of an earth
embankment. Its purpose is to collect
and store sediment from sites cleared
and/or graded during construction. It
is intended for use on small catchment
areas with no unusual drainage
features, where construction will be
completed in a reasonably short
period of time. It should help in
removing coarse sediment from
runoff. The trap is a temporary
measure with a design life of
approximately six months, and is to
be maintained until the site area is
permanently protected against
erosion by vegetation and/or
Intended for use in any disturbed
area less than two hectares, and the
sediment traps only remove coarse
sediment (medium silt size and larger).

Sediment Basins
A sediment basin is a structure
formed by excavation and/or
construction of an embankment
across a waterway or other suitable
locations to collect and store sediment
from sites cleared and/or graded
during construction for extended
periods of time before reestablishment of permanent
vegetation and/or construction of
permanent drainage structures. It is
intended to trap sediment before it
leaves the construction site. The basin


slope drains will force water around

the pipe and cause slope erosion, and
failure of the slope drain can result
in flooding and severe erosion.


is a temporary measure (with a design

life of 12 to 18 months) and is to be
maintained until the site area is
permanently protected against
erosion, or a permanent detention
basin or water quality control
structure is constructed.

of specific mitigation measures

imposed for the control of soil
erosion and sedimentation during the
pre-construction, construction and
post-construction phases. The
comprehensive Urban Stormwater
Management Manual for Malaysia by
DID has also outlined the BMPs on
erosion and sediment control to
better manage and mitigate the
erosion and sedimentation issues.
Therefore, with proper enforcement
and implementation of these
requirements, the dangers and

impacts posed by soil erosion and

sedimentation could be effectively
prevented or minimised.
Last but not least, mutual
responsibilities and commitment by
both the approving authorities and
the respective project proponents
should also be emphasised in order
to ensure the soil erosion and
sedimentation issues arising from the
construction activities could be
effectively controlled and minimised
for the benefits and interests of all
parties concerned and the general
public at large.


Sediment basins are suitable for

nearly all types of construction
projects. Wherever possible, sediment
basins should be constructed before
clearing and grading work begins.
They are applied at the outlet of all
disturbed catchment areas greater
than two hectares or at the outlet of
smaller disturbed catchment areas, as
However, sites with very fine
sediment (fine silt and clay) may
require longer detention times for
effective sediment removal. Basins
in excess of certain depth and storage
volume criteria must also meet State
and/or Federal dam safety criteria.
Soil erosion and sedimentation
arising out of construction activities
has posed a persistent threat to the
environment, and cases of prolonged
and uncontrolled erosion would lead
to untoward incidences such as
landslides and mudslides. It has also
led to the cumulative effects of
siltation and sedimentation as well as
the shallowing of riverbeds and water
courseways, thus prompting flash and
regular floods in low-lying areas.
Fully aware of the impact of soil
erosion, the Government has initiated
a number of measures to minimise
and control soil erosion resulting from
road construction and land
development projects. The mandatory
requirements of the EIA, EMP and
ESCP have now been formally
documented as guidelines for
construction activities. These
guidelines also specify the proposal











Asian Development Bank, 1986. Environmental Guidelines for

Selected Infrastructure Projects, Infrastructure Department, Asian
Development Bank, Manila, Philippines.
Beasley, R. P., 1972. Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control, lowa
State Univ. Press, USA.
Department of Environment, 1996. Guidelines for Prevention and
Control of Soil Erosion and Siltation in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur,
Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia, 2000. Urban
Stormwater Management Manual for Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur,
Hosoyomada, K. and Roslan, Z. A., 1989. On the application of
USLE concerned with the prediction of Soil Erosion Loss, Publication
in the JSIDRE, Japan.
Public Works Department Malaysia, 1995. The Environmental Impact
Assessment of Highway / Road Projects, Road Branch, Kuala Lumpur,
Roslan, Z. A. and Tew, K. H., 22 - 25 August 1995. Erosion Study
in Cameron Highlands, Malaysian Science and Technology Congress
95, Perdanasiswa, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Roslan, Z. A., Amir Hashim, M. K. and Tew, K. H., 25 - 26 March
1996. Water-Soil Erosion Features in Cameron Highlands, World
Water Day Seminar 1996, Allson Klana Resort, Seremban, Negeri
Sembilan Darul Khusus, Malaysia.
Roslan, Z. A., Bakri, D. and Tew, K. H., 25- 27 November 1996.
Assessment of Soil Erodibility Potential in Malaysia - A case study,
14th Conference of Asean Federation of Engineering Organization,
Malacca, Malaysia.
Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, 1980. Soil Erosion and
Conservation in Peninsular Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Tew, K. H., 1999. Production of Malaysian Soil Erodibility Nomograph
in relation to Soil Erosion Issues, Selangor, Malaysia.
Roslan, Z. A. and Tew, K. H., 1999. Compilation of Presented Research
Papers on Soil Erosion Issues in Malaysia 2nd Edition, Selangor,
Wischmeier, W. H. and Smith, D. D., 1965. Predicting rainfall erosion
losses - a guide to conservation planning, USDA, Agriculture
Handbook No. 537, USA. BEM

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 44


The WTO And The South:

Implications And Recent
Part 1

By Martin Khor, Director, Third World Network

he newest and perhaps most

important phenomenon in
the globalisation process is
the emergence of trade
agreements as key instruments of
economic liberalisation and as
mechanisms used by the major
countries to have disciplines and rules
placed on developing countries for a
wide range of issues. Trade
agreements, that are legally binding
and have strong enforcement
capability, have become the
most important vehicle for
implementing economic and
social policies across the world;
policies that have been planned
by the few developed countries
for developing countries to
follow. The World Trade
Organisation, which is the
organisation of the multilateral
trading system, has in fact
become the main vehicle of
choice for industrialised
countries in organising and
enforcing global economic
At the regional level, trade
agreements are also proliferating.
NAFTA is a prototype of a regional
legally-binding agreement involving
North and South countries, and its
model may be extended to South
America. APEC is another model with
both North and South countries, but
without being ruled by a legallybinding agreement. The European
Community is, of course, the main
example of a legally-binding regional
agreement among developed

arrangements among developing

countries (such as ASEAN, SADC and
Mercusor) have also emerged or are
However, the WTO is by far the
most important institution for
evolving and implementing trade
agreements. The Uruguay Round
vastly expanded the scope of the
multilateral trade system so that it no
longer deals only with the conduct
of trade in manufactures. Its scope

expanded to cover trade in

agriculture, trade and investment in
services, and beyond trade issues into
intellectual property rights and
investment measures. Moreover, it
directed that the new issue of trade
and environment be discussed at
committee level in the WTO. The
changeover from the old GATT to the
new WTO with expanded powers and
jurisdiction marked the arrival of the
age of trade agreements in a new
phase of the globalisation of policy
making. Owing to the extension of
B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 46

issues beyond trade into other areas

such as intellectual property,
investment and investment measures,
and the environment, the WTO is no
longer only a trade organisation.
Trade in the context of the
multilateral system has become a code
word to include all issues that have
come or may come under the purview
of the WTO. Moreover, the WTO
agreements have the most significant
implications for non-economic
matters; for example, the WTO
service agreement and the
specific agreements on
information technology will
have far reaching effects on the
culture of countries around the
The vastly increased scope
of trade agreements through
the Uruguay Round and now
beyond it to the current
negotiations in the WTO on a
new package of issues have
tremendous significance for the
shaping of national economic
and social policies, for the
scope of development options,
concerns over equity and
marginalisation, and on national
sovereignty. It is thus crucial to
understand the meaning and
mechanics of this new era of trade
The conclusion of the Uruguay
Round (UR) was heralded in the
mainstream global media as a major
triumph for the international
economy and a boon for all countries.
It is clear, however, that the results
are at best mixed for some developing

It would be very difficult, if not

impossible, for a developing country
member to change the WTO rules or
to avoid compliance of obligations.
The disciplines of the WTO are legally
binding on present and future
Governments. Once the WTO
agreements come into force, it would
be difficult for a present Government
to have economic policies relating to
foreign trade, investment, sectoral
policies in services and agriculture,
or technology policy (vis--vis
intellectual property rights) that are
in violation of WTO rules. Moreover,
the rules are binding on future
Governments as well. Thus, should a
present opposition party have a
different economic programme, it
would find it difficult or impossible
to implement it (should it come to
power) if this were to contradict the
WTO rules. In this way, policy options
have been significantly narrowed for
a countrys policies would have to be
made or changed within the
boundaries of what is permissible by
the WTO agreements.

The Imbalanced And Inequitable

Outcome Of The Uruguay Round
The UR negotiations that gave
birth to the WTO resulted in a package
of agreements that were, on the
whole, imbalanced and inequitable in
favour of developed vis--vis
developing countries. Various aspects
of the asymmetries and disadvantages
to developing countries have been
brought out in several studies
(Raghavan 1990, 1995; Das 1996,
1997; South Centre 1995; Dubey
1995; Nayyer 1995; G. Cora 1995;
Shahin 1996).
According to Raghavan (1995):
From the perspective of developing
countries generally (and more so of
their poor and disadvantaged
sections), the new trade order under
WTO has more negative than positive
features. And while it could be
beneficial as a rule-based system
(depending on how the major
industrialised countries implement it
in letter and spirit), the rules in some


areas of obligations for the majors are

ambiguous and vague, while those
relating to developing countries are
specific and quite onerous such as in
the field on TRIPS, where the original
purpose of intellectual property rights
(namely, rewarding innovation while
ensuring disclosure and sharing of
knowledge for enabling further
innovation) has now been overtaken
by attempts to cater to the greed of
the corporations and safeguarding
their investments through monopoly
rentier incomes.
A recent and comprehensive study
by B.L. Das (1997) concludes that the
UR has been a unique negotiation
in which most of the concessions have
been made by developing countries
without getting anything but meagre
concessions in return. It is not because
the negotiators or trade policy
officials of developing countries
ignored the interests of their
countries. The results are in fact
characterised by the massive gaps
between the economic and political
strengths of developed and
developing countries. The study
analyses the severe overall imbalance
in concessions made by South and
North countries, and how the recent
trend in WTO enhances the
imbalance. It then examines the
imbalance and deficiencies in various
areas: the dispute settlement system,
market access, balance of payments
and safeguards, subsidies and
dumping, specific sectors like
agriculture and textiles, the new
issues of services, and IPRs, neoprotectionism and commitment from
developed countries.
Referring to the WTO agreements,
Nayyar (1995) states: It would seem
that the institutional framework for
globalisation is characterised by a
striking asymmetry. National
boundaries should not matter for
trade flows and capital flows but
should be clearly demarcated for
technology flows and labour flows.
It follows that the developing
countries would provide access to
technology and would accept capital
mobility without a corresponding
provision for labour mobility. This
asymmetry, particularly that between
the free movement of capital and
unfree (sic) movement of labour
across national boundaries, lies at the
heart of the inequality in the rules of
the game for globalisation in the late
twentieth century. These new rules,


countries, and for many others,

especially the poorer countries, the UR
is likely to have an overall negative
effect that will further drain their
economic resources. For all South
countries, the Round will also
foreclose a wide range of development
In a sense, the UR complements
programmes (SAP) are achieving. The
Round will lead to a very significant
external liberalisation of many sectors
and facets of the domestic economy
of all the developing country
members of the WTO. Structural
adjustment affects about 80 indebted
developing countries facing
repayment problems. Should some of
these countries get out of debt crisis
and no longer require SAP loans, or
should there be a change of
Government or Government policies,
the SAP can be changed or reversed.
However, once a countrys
Government has signed on to the UR
agreements and enters the WTO, the
country is obliged to follow the WTO
rules. Domestic laws and policies in
a wide range of areas have to be
changed to bring them in line with
these rules. According to several
analyses, the UR agreements will
severely restrict or constrain the
possible policy options in many areas.
Non-compliance of the rules can
result in complaints being brought
against a country, and the threat of
trade penalties and retaliation
through measures affecting trade and
other activities. Owing to the single
undertaking nature of having to sign
on to all the multilateral agreements
of the Round and to the integrated
dispute settlements system, countries
also risk having cross-sectoral
retaliation. At the extreme, noncompliance can also lead to expulsion
from the WTO and thus, the loss of
the automatic most favoured nation
status granted to a WTO member by
all other members. The WTO system
has thus a powerful system for
obtaining compliance from member
countries. It is the organisation with
the strongest bite in getting its
legally-binding rules enforced. Thus,
signing on to a WTO is a very serious
undertaking. In contrast, signing on
to a UN Declaration - even a UN
Declaration of over 100 heads of
Governments - has little enforcement
possibility and becomes only a moral


which serve the interests of

transnational corporations in the
process of globalisation, are explicit
as an integral part of a multilateral
regime of discipline.
A significant critique of the UR
outcome was also made in 1994 by
Luis Fernanda Jaramillo, then
Chairman of the Group of 77 in New
York and Colombias permanent
representative to the United Nations.
In a speech after the Rounds
conclusion, he stated: The
Uruguay Round is proof again that
the developing world continues to
be sidelined and rejected when it
comes to defining areas of vital
importance for their survival. The
Third World confined itself to a role
of passive spectator of the
decisions adopted. The countries
of the Third World have been put
in a situation in which they already
paid the price of accepting the new
terms in different areas of interest
for the industrialised countries,
without obtaining in exchange
satisfactory conditions of market
access. According to some estimates,
the industrialised countries, which
make up only 20% of the GATT
membership, will appropriate 70% of
the additional income that will be
generated by the implementation of
the UR. It would seem that this does
not allow one to conclude that the
UR will translate into a positive
balance to developing countries.
Unquestionably, the developing
countries are the losers both
individually and collectively.
The Uruguay Rounds
Combination Of Liberalisation
And Protectionism
It is a mistaken notion that the
UR was set up to promote overall
liberalisation. As pointed by Nayyar,
the main asymmetry in the Rounds
results was the liberalisation of those
areas which are of benefit to the major
countries whilst protectionism was
given a major boost in the area of
technology and IPRs, and the
liberalisation of labour services
(proposed by some developing
countries) was unacceptable to the
When the Round began in 1986,
many Third World countries were
strongly resisting the Northern
countries push to expand GATTs
powers into new areas such as

services, investments and intellectual

property rights. Up to then, GATTs
jurisdiction was only in keeping the
rules in trade of manufactured goods.
The Southern countries were rightly
concerned that the North was
interested in liberalising economic
areas in which they had an advantage,
where their corporations could
penetrate and capture new markets
which till then had been relatively
protected by Southern Governments.

This was certainly the case in

services, a fast-expanding sector, with
transnational enterprises ranging
from banking and insurance to
motion pictures eagerly waiting for
the removal of barriers to their
advance into Third World markets.
The negotiations over traderelated investment measures (TRIMs)
were similarly initiated by the North
to pressurise Third World
Governments to give up their powers
to impose conditions on the entry and
operations of foreign companies. The
liberalisation of investments would
clearly benefit the North, where most
transnational companies are based.
The South was concerned that with
only weak restrictions permitted to be
placed on these big corporations, the
smaller-scale domestic businesses
may not survive the onslaught of
foreign investments.
On the other hand, when it came
to the subject of technology transfer,
the North took an aggressive antiliberalisation stance and instead
pushed for all GATT members to
compulsorily introduce a standard set
of national laws to protect
intellectual property rights. Since
most patents are owned by
transnational companies, this in effect
meant the legal protection of
technological monopoly by these
Northern-owned firms, and a drastic
curtailment of possibilities by the


South to learn and use new

The Norths motives of
introducing trade-related intellectual
property rights (TRIPs) in the Round
were to enable their firms to capture
more profits through monopolistic
higher prices and through royalties
and the sale of technology products,
and to place stiff barriers, preventing
the technological development of
potential new rivals from the South.
The Northern push in TRIPs
proved that free trade and
liberalisation were only nice
slogans waved to move the Round
forward. The reality was
liberalisation if it benefits me,
protectionism if it benefits me,
what counts is my commercial
Although in the early and
middle stages of the Round, several
Third World countries (including
the influential India and Brazil) put
up a stiff resistance to the Northern
push and interpretation of the
new areas, by the final two years
the Southern fight had melted, and
in the end, the Round adopted texts
to protect IPRs, liberalised services
and prohibited trade-related
investment measures. All three issues
have thus become integrated with
trade in manufactured and
agricultural goods, and all now fall
under the jurisdiction of the WTO.
In effect, the UR has most
benefited the transnational
corporations. The free trade so
much bandied around by the
proponents of the Round has come
to mean, in reality, the vastly
expanded freedom and powers of
transnational corporations to trade
and invest in most countries of the
world, whilst correspondingly
Governments now have significantly
reduced powers to restrict their
operations, and at the same time,
these corporations have freedom
from potential new competitors
whose possibilities to develop
technologically are now curbed by
intellectual property provisions in
TRIPs. The big companies, which
were the powerful lobbies behind the
Northern Governments propelling
the Round from start to end, have
won many more rights without
having to meet new obligations.
Indeed, previous obligations they
have had to observe are now

On the whole, the Round has

benefited the rich industrial nations
and some developing countries
(mainly the more advanced ones),
whilst many countries (especially the
LDCs and weaker economies) have
lost out. It is simply not true that we
are all gainers, there are no losers,
as some leading proponents of the
Round would have it. Some have
gained more than others, and many
(especially the poorest countries) have
not gained at all but may well suffer
severe loss to their economic
The UR outcome is expected to
bring some benefits to those
developing countries able to take
advantage of certain changes. A
lowering of Northern countries
industrial tariffs will benefit those
Southern countries with a
manufacturing export capacity. The
planned phasing out of the multifibre
arrangement will have positive effects
on textile-exporting Southern
countries (However, textile-exporting
developing countries are disappointed
and frustrated that owing to enloading of the implementation
schedules of developed countries, the
benefits accrue mainly at the end of
the 10-year phase-out period). The
reduction of agricultural subsidies
would improve the market access of
those Southern countries that export
agricultural products.
These benefits will mainly accrue
to the better-off developing countries
that already have an export capacity.
The weaker countries (especially the
least developed countries) would not
be able to benefit, or to benefit much
from these. Several countries
(especially Africa and Indonesia) are
projected to suffer absolute losses as
a result from the Round agreements.
The benefits (which fall significantly
short of what had been requested by
the developing countries) will also
take a long time (10 to 20 years) to
come on stream, whilst the problems
of compliance are already being felt
by developing countries, especially
the poorer ones. The LDCs will be
particularly hit. At the UNCTADs
Trade and Development Board session
in October 1996, the Secretary of the
Bangladesh Commerce Ministry, Mr.
Farouk, speaking on behalf of the LDC
group, said the LDCs are not yet well

placed to take advantage of the URs

opportunities. He added: In fact, the
opportunities for LDCs stemming
from the Uruguay Round are expected
to be indirect and would perhaps
materialise in the long run. In
contrast, the challenges arising out of
it are more immediate. This, he said,
was due to four reasons - erosion of
preferences; limited number of
exportable items resulting in their
inability to participate effectively in
global trade; higher prices for import
of food, pharmaceuticals and essential
capital goods; and increased
administrative cost of compliance
with their UR obligations.
In exchange for some uneven
benefits in the UR, the South as a
whole has had to make major
concessions, especially in agreeing to
bring in the new issues of services,
investment measures and intellectual
property rights, into the GATT/WTO

For particular groups of Southern

countries, the UR will also result in
specific problems. For instance, the
agriculture agreement could have
severe negative effects on some Third
World countries. Most of them
(excepting the least developed
countries) will also have to reduce
domestic subsidies to farmers and
remove non-tariff controls on
agricultural products, converting
these to tariffs and then progressively
reducing these tariffs. This will impose
competition on the domestic farm
sector. Farmers unable to compete
with cheaper imports may not survive.
Agricultural liberalisation will also
raise world food prices, which may
benefit food exporters, but about 100
Third World food importers will face
a higher food import bill and are likely
to be the biggest UR losers.


The UR also for the first time

brought services into GATT, and
liberalisation of services will be an
important part of WTOs agenda.
Although the framework of the
Services Agreement does not oblige
countries to conduct blanket
liberalisation, as liberalisation will be
on the basis of a listing of positive
offers, there will, of course, in reality
be far increased pressures for
liberalisation. In many Third World
countries, the services sector is
relatively shielded, and local
enterprises in banking, insurance,
trade, the media and professional
services have been able to develop. It
is feared that under the pressures of
liberalisation, the Northern TNCs
involved in services will make further
inroads on, and in some countries,
may come to dominate some of the
The Souths collective loss was
most acutely felt in the agreement on
TRIPS, through which countries are
obliged to introduce IPR legislation
similar to Northern standards. This
will hinder Southern countries
development. It should be noted that
the present industrial countries did
not have patent or IPR laws, or laws
as strict as will now be imposed
through TRIPs, during their
industrialising period, and this
enabled them to incorporate
technology designs originating from
abroad in their local systems. It will
also give rise to increasing technical
payments such as royalties and
licence fees to TNCs owning most of
the worlds patents.
The new IPR regime will also have
significant impact on raising the
prices of many products. By
restricting competition, the IPR rules
will enable some companies to jack
up prices of their products far beyond
costs, and thus, earn rents in terms
of monopoly revenues and profits.
This is clearly seen in the case of
computer software. Also, most Third
World countries have exempted
agriculture, medicines and other
essential products and processes from
their national patent laws, but with
the passage of TRIPs, everything is
subject to IPRs unless explicitly
exempted. The prices of medicines are
expected to shoot up in many
countries, and foreign drug sales will
increase rapidly at the expense of
local products.


Outcome Of WTO Agreements For

Developing Countries


The TRIPs agreement also opens

the door to patenting of life forms
such as micro-organisms and
modified genetic materials, thus
providing the boost in incentives so
much desired by the biotechnology
industry. Many environmentalists are
concerned that this will be detrimental
to the global environment, as the
present lack of controls and
accountability in biotechnology
research and application will likely
accelerate bio-diversity loss and could
threaten natural ecosystems.
For plant varieties, TRIPs do
permit countries the option to either
introduce patents or an alternative
effective sui generis system of
intellectual property protection for a
trial period of four years, after which
the agreement will be reviewed. Many
farmers groups (especially in India,
where huge farmers demonstrations
and rallies have been held against
GATT) and environmentalists are
concerned that in the end, Third
World farmers will be disallowed the
traditional practice of saving seed for
the next seasons planting (if the seed
used is under the intellectual
protection of a company) but forced
to purchase the seeds.
In the next few years, these
farmers and their supporters may
argue the case for a sui generis system
to protect their rights as an alternative
to corporate intellectual property
rights. It will be interesting what the
Northern Governments and the WTO
consider to be effective in protecting
intellectual property rights.
In the area of TRIMs, the most
important point is that national
policies relating to foreign
investments have also now begun to
come under the ambit of the GATT/
WTO system. Originally, the Northern
countries proposed that foreign
companies be given automatic right
to establishment or commercial
presence. This would have given
rights to foreign companies that were
attained by colonisers through war
and bloodshed in the colonial era.
Eventually, the objections of some
developing countries prevailed. In the
final TRIMs agreement, investment
measures such as local content
(obliging foreign firms to use at least
a specified minimal amount of local
inputs) will be phased out. This, of
course, has serious enough
implications in terms of prohibiting
measures that promote local industry

and greater linkages to the domestic

economy and that protects the
balance of payments. Just as
significant is that once the area of
investment has been brought into
the ambit of the WTO, even if only in
relation to investment measures
(which had already been part of the
GATT rules), it could easily be
predicted that the Northern
Governments would soon resume
their pressures to bring in the whole
body of investment policy per se
into the WTO framework. This has
now happened, with the current
intense pressures by the North to
establish a new multilateral
investment agreement in the WTO.

Dangers Of The Proliferation Of

Trade-related Issues
In the recent post-UR period, the
developed countries have intensified
the pressures to incorporate more
and more issues, which are to their
advantage, into the WTO. Developing
countries, on the other hand, are
unprepared individually or as a
group, for these new negotiations. It
is likely that the WTO will be used
for implementing more new rules
that would be detrimental to the
interests of the South, unless officials
and political leaders in developing
countries prepare themselves much
better and defend their interests more
effectively in the current and future
WTO negotiations.
The Northern Governments plan
to link trade (and the possible use of
trade measures and sanctions as
enforcement mechanisms) to several
economic and non-economic issues
in ways that are to their advantage.
Trade and environment are already
being negotiated under the WTOs


Committee on Trade and

Environment. There have been strong
attempts by some Northern
Governments (especially the U.S. and
France), under pressure from trade
unions, to link trade to labour
standards in the WTO. It is likely that
a wide range of other issues, such as
human rights, tax systems and
cultural behaviour will also be sought
to be linked to trade measures in the
WTO in future.
The linking of issues to the
possibility of sanctions under the
device of attaching a trade-related
prefix to the chosen topics was
successfully used in the UR to inject
IPRs (through a trade-related
intellectual property rights
agreement) and investment issues
(through a trade-related investment
measures agreement) into the GATT/
WTO system. The justification for
introducing these issues was that
they are related to trade. In fact,
the real objective was to link chosen
issues to the threat of trade
retaliation and penalties for noncompliance of disciplines. The device
of bringing in new topics by alleging
that they are trade-related has
continued to be used in on-going
WTO negotiations. In fact, the
pretence of being directly traderelated is no longer even necessary
and may unnecessarily restrict the
scope of the issues being introduced.
The prefix trade-related has now
been dropped in proposals for these
new issues, which are now sought
to be brought into the trade arena
through simply using the word and,
as in trade and environment, trade
and labour standards and trade and
The device of linking trade to
other issues (when the intention is
really to link the dispute settlement
system of the WTO to new policy
areas) is being increasingly used for
the purpose of further opening up
Third World economies or to reduce
their competitiveness in the scramble
for world market shares. The WTO
could also be used as an instrument
to shift a great portion in the WTO
forum. Indeed, it is precisely because
the South is so weak in the WTO
arena, coupled with the fact that the
WTO carries the power of bite in
the form of trade retaliation
mechanisms that this institution has
been chosen as a vehicle to institute
reforms favourable to the North. BEM


Detox For Health

Courtesy of iSmile Magazine, Sept/Oct 2003 issue

Naturopaths believe that the body is self-healing and self-repairing. However, it cannot fight diseases
if the body is filled with toxins and deficient in nutrients. To prevent the onset of degenerative
lifestyle diseases, the logical step is to detoxify and replenish the body with proper nutrients.

fter running 5,000 km, the black oil in our

car has to be flushed out and replaced with
new oil. If not, the engine can get clogged
and the car may cease running. When it comes
to the human body, it cannot be denied that many of us
clog our digestive system with too much food, as well as
processed food and drinks which carry toxins from
chemicals, preservatives and additives. Depending on the
level of toxicity, doctors in naturopathy believe that the
body will emit signs from the simple fever and constipation
to the more serious heart and liver diseases. Spring
cleaning or flushing toxins out of the body would be a
logical step in preventing the development of chronic
Toxins and nutritional deficiency are the root causes
of diet and lifestyle related diseases. The two are related
and enhance one another, says Dr. Lynn Tan, doctor in
naturopathy. Dr. Tan has designed a 7-day Detoxification
& Rejuvenation Programme (DRP) which helps one to
remove toxins and rebuild health without drugs. Since
the 1990s, several thousands people have tried the
programme and found it beneficial for health.
Naturopathy follows the principles of working in line
with nature. The body is believed to be self-healing and
self-repairing, provided it is given the right natural

How Toxins Build Up In Our Body

Toxins can come from polluted air and the highly
processed food and impure water which we put into our
bodies. They are also generated from within the body.
Consumption of excessive food and processed food takes a
toll on our digestive and waste elimination systems. Poorly
digested food passes through the intestinal tract sluggishly,
causing fermentation and putrefaction, which in turn
produces toxins that are re-absorbed into the blood stream
through the intestinal walls.

Prolonged emotional stress and lack of rest and exercise

can also contribute to the production and accumulation of
toxins in the body.
As toxins build up in the body, cell destruction begins.
Proper function of the body tissues and organs is slowed
down. The body degenerates and symptoms of diseases begin
to appear. The signs of toxic accumulation appear differently
in each person and there are various stages in the toxic buildup process (see table).

Cleaning The Liver & Colon

How does one remove the toxins? Detoxification has its
roots in ancient and current methods of natural cleansing of
the body. Dr. Tans DRP is based on her research into various
therapies and guidance from her mentor, the late Dr. Costa
Deir, a medical doctor and naturopath. The 7-day DRP calls
for a strict diet of freshly made juices and
a regime of time-specific cleansing and
tissue-building drinks. Cleansing herbal
drinks and coffee enemas are the
cleaning agents to remove toxins
from the colon and liver. Dead cells
and toxins are removed from the body
through skin scrubbing, discharge of
coffee enemas and normal bowel
Coffee enema is an
essential part of the
liver detoxification
process. It has been
researched back in
the 1920s when
German scientists
experimented and
reported that boiled
coffee solutions,
when administered

B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 54

Starting Anew
After detoxification and
replenishing, a new healthy
diet to avoid future toxin
build-up makes sense. A
guide for healthy diet and
lifestyle includes:

Rebuilding And Balancing

But throwing out toxins is not enough. The bodys
proper chemical balance - nutritional, hormonal and
metabolic - must be restored so that the body can heal
itself. Under the DRP, rebuilding nutrition comes in the
form of health-building foods such as spirulina, green
food, flaxseed oil and raw honey.
Rejuvenation will appear in many forms such as feeling
more energetic, losing weight and getting a clearer skin
complexion. Printed testimonials from several people
acknowledge that the DRP has proven to be beneficial for
those with health problems such as high blood pressure,
hormonal imbalance, migraine, diabetes and arthritis.
A note of caution is that it is important for those
currently on prescribed medications not to stop during
the course of the detoxification programme. The
medication can be readjusted following the results of the
detoxification and the doctors advice.

Take at least 75% raw

food, with fresh fruit in the
morning and 50% raw
vegetables for lunch and
Eat fruit on an empty stomach; do not mix fruit with
other food
Get predigested protein and other nutrients daily from
fresh yogurt and flaxseed oil
Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of distilled water, honeyapple cider vinegar cocktail for fresh juices anytime of
the day, but not during meals.
Take wholesome, natural, organic, nonprocessed and unrefined food
Develop a habit of taking your rest
preferably by 10 p.m.
Exercise using a rebounder (trampoline)
Think only whatever is true, noble, just,
and of good virtue and praiseworthy

Distilled water is recommended as this water is close

to nature, following the hydrological cycle. The sun heats
water on earth. Water evaporates, condenses and becomes
clouds. Then it rains and the cycle repeats itself.
Is there an alternative to expensive organic greens and
health-building food? It is a matter of perception. We can
spend less on other things like clothing and eating out.
We cannot really eat large quantities of
fruits and vegetables. Organic health food
Development Of Chronic & Degenerative Diseases
may increase your expenses by RM50 or
RM100 per month. But compare this with
the healthcare bill if you get sick and
In reality, many Malaysians will not
be disciplined enough to change their
diet drastically. The habits of eating
Heart disease,
yummy food and eating out are very
stroke, diabetes,
Migraine, gout,
kidney disease,
arthritis, high
entrenched. Exceptions would be those
gall bladder
blood pressure,
who are suffering from a certain disease
Poor Health
disease, serious
skin problems,
and those who have recovered from years
arthritis and gout,
back ache,
of ill health. There is hope yet to prevent
blocked nose,
serious skin
ulcers, asthma,
the onset of degenerative diseases if we
impotence, liver
improve our eating habits and carry out
lower back
problem, multiple
a detoxification programme once or
Elimination pain, skin
sclerosis, cancer
twice a year. BEM
Inflammation, blemishes,
blemishes, piles,
fever, colds


iSmile is a bimonthly health and selfimprovement magazine. It is available in

leading bookstores and news stands
throughout Malaysia.
Source: Healthy Living Guide by Dr. Lynn Tan
B U L E T I N I N G E N I E U R 55


rectally in experiment animals, tend to stimulate the

production of bile which detoxifies the liver and restores
it to its normal functions.
The boiled coffee solution has to be retained in the
gut and enters the liver via the colon, causing two effects.
Firstly, it stimulates the production of bile which detoxifies
the liver. Secondly, it stimulates the production of an
enzyme called Gluthathione S. Transferase (GST) which
helps to remove free radicals in the blood. All the bodys
blood passes through the liver every three minutes. The
blood therefore gets detoxified as it passes through this
caffeinated liver.
The effects of the detoxification are clearly visible as
what comes out during bowel movements are black, gooey,
rubber encrustations.