Do Quoc Khanh is a 53-year-old cybernetics engineer and the director of Vina DSF, a company founded in 1998 in Hanoi, Vietnam that specializes in the relocation of buildings. In January his company moved the heaviest structure in Southeast Asia and reportedly the fifth heaviest structure in the world, 3,000 tons. The previous relocation record for Viet Nam was for the moving of a 2,000-ton temple, according to the Viet Nam News.
3,000 Ton Move in Viet Nam Sets Record for Southeast Asia
The project was by far the company’s largest and trickiest. Situated in the Phu Cat Hi-Tech Park by Lang-Hoa Lac Road, 27 kms Northwest of Hanoi, the two-story building measured 3,700 square metres wide. The Informatics Telecommunication Hi-Tech Manufacturing Science Union and a United States partner own the building.
Originally constructed in 2003, the building that had never been put into operation, needed to be relocated in order to allow for construction of a water pipeline from the Da River Water Plant to Hanoi.
Before contacting IASM member Vina DSF to take on the project, the building’s investors placed their trust in Nguyen Cam Luy who, previously, had succeeded in relocating @ 250 structures. In 2007, Luy moved a spa weighing 1,500 tons at the Princess d’ Annam Resort in Binh Thuan province a distance of 11 meters. Due to technical issues and time constraints for Luy’s company, building owners turned to Khanh and his company to complete the project with only one month’s time for completion. Government officials gave an ultimatum that if the structure had not been relocated within one month it would be demolished.
Khanh’s solution included splitting the building from its foundation, building the new foundation in advance, strengthening and retaining the building’s structure by steel girders, lifting it up and placing it on a system of 1,400 rollers and rails, using cylinders to push the structure to its new location and keeping the move on track by using 200 winching cables.
Khanh recognized a number of complicated mathematical problems had to be solved since he had only a few weeks in which to prepare to meet the allotted time of 10 days estimated to make the move. Vina DFS’s 40 employees were supplemented at the construction site by 140civil engineering student from Hanoi University and the move was completed in four and one half days.
“We designed, manufactured, tested and operated all of the equipment at the same time and right at the relocation site, “stated Khanh “There is nothing secret about the technology, you can check it out on our company’s website www.xulylunnghieng.vn” On the first official working day the building was moved eight meters. And on the second day, it was moved 14 meters. Three days later, things did not go completely as planned, the ground started sinking around the track,destroying some rollers and moving the structure slightly off course.
Fivedays later, however, the building was on its new foundation and a smiling Khanh was understandably delighted to know his company had just completed what the University of Civil Engineering (Vietnam) estimated to be the largest building ever to be moved in Southeast Asia and the fifth heaviest house to be successfully moved in the world.
Khanh faced many difficult situations during the project. In early December of 2007 he worked alone at the removal site to test the structure, work he referred to as a “health check-up”. There were no guarantees as many of the crucial factors could not be tested or measured by machines. Sometimes problems only arose when the equipment was operational.
More importantly, the project’s success was not only being able to move the building but also assuring owners the structure would not slope, sink, (settle) or sustain damage from cracking during or after the move. A project insider revealed the cost for relocation of the current structure was only 30% of the cost of an entirely new building, estimated at VND 5 billion (US$313,000) The total cost of relocation was about VND300 million (US$18,750)
There have been other successes for Khanh and Vina DSF. One of the first was an eight-story building in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. The 1,200-ton structure was on the verge of collapse, with a 60cm slide, 1.2m slop and six broken main pillars.
Khanh and his team also hit the headlines in 2002 when they successfully saved a house on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where more than 30 individuals resided.
In 2003, Mr. Khanh was awarded Vietnam Science-Technology Awardfor his work on Technology for settling foundations (in Viet Nam it is referenced as sunk or inclined) or collapsed high-rise buildings. With his achievements in displacement of buildings in January 2008, he was awarded the Special Prize in the Competition Festival for Technical Creativeness of Vietnam in 2007 on Science & Technology.
According to Viet Hung of the Vietnam Investment Review publication Timeout, “with the high number of low quality designed structures around, not to mention the low grade materials used in countless construction throughout Vietnam, there will no doubt be plenty [of] work for Khanh’s company.
Khanh indicated some future projects include moving the two-story Nam Dinh radio station 100 meters and then turning the structure 180 degrees and moving the two-story office for the Committee for Population & Children of Nam Dinh 30 meters and then turning the structure 90 degrees. The two structures are being moved to create space to build a memorial of the late General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
This article was produced from information appearing in Timeout, a supplement of Vietnam Investment Review, Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association – Vusta and Viet Nam News. Photographs supplied by Do Quoc Khanh.