City considers letting Bao Viet keep illicit top floor

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A building funded by Vietnam's leading insurer Bao Viet was re-opened on Tuesday after being closed for nearly a month.

City authorities have considered allowing the illegally-added 11th floor to become a rooftop garden, as the building's tenants returned to their businesses and offices.

Phan Duc Nhan, Deputy Director of the HCMC Construction Department, said that representatives from the city government have not reached an agreement about whether or not the building owners will be allowed to keep the extra floor.

But the city is considering Bao Viet's request to use the area as a green roof.

The Bao Viet office building was permitted for construction in 2006 but in November 2009, the city authorities asked the insurer to fix the building, which was then under construction after the top floor was extended beyond its permitted height.

The city's Construction Department reccomended a cash penalty of VND1 billion (US$51,300) for the indiscretion.

But construction continued, the building opened and tenants moved in. Many firms renting offices at the building were taken by surprise when the building was shut down last month.

The seal was removed by the District 1 People's Committee on Tuesday following negotiations, said Nguyen Duc Thang from Bao Viet.

Luu Trung Hoa, Vice Chairman of District 1 government, said he agrees with the city's conclusion that using the violation area for trees is better than removing it.

HCMC's Vice Chairman said removing the wrong parts of the building will affect the whole structure and its longevity.

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