Cambodian unions laud appointment of 362 construction inspectors

Unions and civil society organisations in Cambodia are happy with the government's decision to appoint 362 inspectors to monitor, observe, research, inspect, collect evidence and promote the implementation of construction laws. The decision is a response to pressure that followed a number of tragic building collapses that claimed the lives of many construction workers.

“For the past couple of years, Cambodia has been in the midst of a construction and real estate boom, but our regulation and monitoring has not been fit for purpose”, said Sok Kin, President of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC).

“The lack of regulation and monitoring may have sped up the construction process and boosted short-term profits, but workers have paid the price with their lives.”

The construction inspectors will have the right to temporarily suspend and revoke relevant permits or licenses, as well as issue fines where the Construction Law is not complied with. These powers extend to completed buildings, buildings under construction and projects going through the application process. 

In an interview with the Phnom Penh Post, BWTUC Vice President Chhlonh Sou noted his concern about room for corruption within the process. “Previously, we have seen the Ministry’s inspection teams visit illegal construction sites and the owner of the building pays a bribe.”

“I want the relevant parties like civil society organisations, development partners and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to be involved because we are concerned about the ease with which corruption can be committed.”