Archive | June, 2009

Phan Thiet Hotel & Residential

25 Jun
Phan Thiet Hotel & Residential Development is located in Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam.

It is a new Hotel and Residential Renovation and Expansion project. Renovation part includes an existing of 80 hotel-rooms renovation from a total of 140 existing rooms.

Part of the project is to up-grade and create new back of house and public areas as well as to add a new hotel extension of seventy 45m2 hotel rooms including balcony from a total of 140 existing hotel rooms.

The development also consists of a total of one hundred and fifty units of apartments including one hundred 45m2 one-bedroom units with balcony, forty five 120m2 2-bedroom units, and five 220m2 penthouses units.

There will also be twelve 175 m2 villas located along the beach, a New Golf Club House with eight apartments, and a Hilton operated hotel with branded apartments and villas.


Bitexco Financial Tower

24 Jun
Due to the rapid population growth of Ho Chi Minh City and the dynamic economic development of Vietnam, the need for office space has exceeded supply in Vietnam’s largest city. The Bitexco Financial Tower development, currently under construction, will help ease the demand for office space in this thriving Southeast Asian metropolis.

Binh Minh Import-Export Co (Bitexco), a wholly owned Vietnamese company, is the primary investor in this mixed-use development. Designed by the architect Carlos Zapata Studio, the development consists of a high-rise office building, a five-story retail podium, and four levels of below-grade construction, much of which is devoted to parking. The shape of the tower is modeled after a lotus flower bud, the national flower. Standing at 68 stories upon completion, the office tower is destined to become a landmark in the Ho Chi Minh City skyline.

The office tower is essentially an all-concrete structure. Initially, a mixed system comprised of structural steel floor framing, composite perimeter columns and concrete core walls was developed. However, cost comparison demonstrated that the all-concrete structure had a clear cost advantage over the mixed system.

The typical lower office floors are framed with a conventionally reinforced 10-inch (250mm) thick flat plate. The upper executive office floors are smaller in plan and are framed with a thinner 8-inch (200mm) thick flat plate.

(View big-size image here)

Structural Challenges

Poor soil conditions presented a major challenge to the design of this tall tower; Ho Chi Minh City is on the alluvial plain of the Mekong Delta of the Saigon River. The extremely poor soil conditions are further complicated by a high water table since the building site is one block from the Saigon River. An aggressive schedule and tight site constraints provided additional complexities.

The tower is tall and slender, and has a smooth and rounded plan shape that stands almost 50 stories above the surrounding buildings. For these reasons, wind-induced building sway was a major concern for the structural designers. Additionally, the unconventional building shape is such that the perimeter tapers inward at the lower 20 floors, limiting the width of the structure’s stance and thereby limiting its inherent resistance to building sway. An innovative structural design using concrete outrigger and belt trusses will stiffen the tower against swaying motion. This innovative structural system, combined with the use of the highest strength concrete that could be supplied in the Vietnamese market, proved to be the most economical and constructible structural system.

As with any landmark project in an emerging market, design and construction challenges have been numerous, requiring the cooperative teamwork of the project’s international and local designers and constructors. The project design and construction team is led personally by Mr. Vu Quang Hoi, the Chairman & CEO of Bitexco. Turner International is the program and construction manager and AREP Ville serves as the Executive Architect. Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company is the general contractor for the superstructure. Other primary designers and constructors are listed in Figure 1.

Perimeter Diaphragm Wall

Typically in Ho Chi Minh City, major projects are constructed with two basements. The upper basement is excavated without bracing within a previously constructed diaphragm wall. The first basement slab is cast and the lower basement is constructed top-down.

Since the Bitexco site is small for such a tall tower, four basements were required. Also, the narrow surrounding streets presented a further complication. The time and cost of constructing such a deep basement in such a confined and small site presented a challenge that required the joint efforts of the entire team to solve. After several iterations of architectural layouts, construction sequence plans and diaphragm wall designs, an optimal solution emerged which located the top of the tower mat foundation at the second basement level and not at the fourth basement level, as would be have been expected. This tower mat location, in a sort of split-level basement, minimized the time required to excavate down and to construct the mat, thereby allowing the earliest time for starting the tower construction. The perimeter diaphragm wall was designed to be 32 inches (800mm) thick and was constructed using the slurry method. The wall was constructed to a depth of only 82 feet (25m) below ground to provide a groundwater cutoff for a 46 feet (14m) deep excavation.

Various options were considered for temporarily bracing the diaphragm walls during excavation and basement construction. Tie-backs were deemed infeasible due to the poor soil conditions and the close proximity of surrounding buildings. Rackers and bracing were feasible, but were eliminated because of the constraints that their use would have placed on access to the basements.

Construction Sequence

The final design incorporated a partial top-down approach. In top down construction, the complete ground floor or first basement floor slab is cast before the basements are excavated below. In this partial top down approach, only the perimeter of the ground floor slab was cast and used to stabilize the top of the diaphragm wall before the basement excavation began (Figure 2). This permitted the excavation to the level of the tower mat foundation to be performed without temporary bracing. After the tower mat was cast, the tower superstructure construction began with the tower mat serving as a bracing point for temporary supports for the lower excavations of the adjacent basement areas.

The split-level basement design and the partial top-down sequence have proven to be extremely valuable. It was estimated that excavation and construction of the four basements would take one year. With this design, the mat was constructed and the tower construction began several months before the fourth basement was completed.

The weight of this tall building required very deep foundations. Comprehensive initial studies and subsurface explorations were performed to form a basis of the foundation design and to estimate foundation settlement. Shannon + Wilson, the international geotechnical consultant, performed a finite element computer analysis of the soil-structure interaction below the tower footprint. The time dependent characteristics of the settlement were studied to understand the ways in which the settlement could be expected to affect the structure and the architectural finishes during and after construction. The maximum predicted settlement was determined to be approximately 4 inches (100 mm).

The tower foundation is a bored pile supported mat. The mat is 13 feet (4m) which effectively distributes the tower loads from the walls of the narrow services core over the extent of the mat. The bored piles are 60 inches (1500mm) in diameter that were drilled to a depth of between 235 feet (75m) and 265 feet (85m). Due to the volume of the mat, the mat was constructed in multiple sections. Also, tubing was embedded in the mat for a temporary cooling system. Insulation was placed on the sides and on top of the mat to limit the potential for cracking from the concrete’s heat of hydration.

The foundations for the podium and underlying basements are comprised of 4-inch (1200 mm) diameter bored piles that were drilled to a depth of between 190 feet (58m) and 205 feet (63m). There is one pile for each basement column. The cut-off elevation of these piles is at the fourth basement level. Embedded into the top of each pile is a structural steel wide flange section. The wide flange shape serves to support the perimeter of the ground floor during the top-down excavation and the construction of the basements. Later they will act compositely with the concrete basement columns to support the permanent loads.

Outrigger Truss and Belt Wall Systems

The tower has an aspect ratio (tower height/tower width) of 9, with a core aspect ratio (tower height/core width) of 20. The oval shape of the tower and the absence of surrounding tall buildings, coupled with the high aspect ratio, make the tower susceptible to wind-induced building sway. An innovative cast-in-place outrigger truss system was designed to be used to augment the lateral load resistance of the concrete core and to mitigate the potential for objectionable swaying motions. (Figure 3 shows locations of outrigger trusses and belt walls).

While many concrete and mixed steel and concrete towers have been constructed with structural steel outrigger systems, few have used a reinforced concrete system. Generally this is because concrete systems cannot provide the comparable strength, or they are too big. Additionally, outrigger systems provide an unintended gravity load pathway between the core and the perimeter columns. For steel outrigger systems without special detailing, gravity load stresses in an outrigger system can exceed the stresses required to achieve the intended wind load resistance. Concrete systems do not lend themselves to the special detailing required to mitigate these unintended gravity load stresses.

However, for this project, the team conceived of a system of reinforced and post-tensioned concrete, detailed as trusswork, that overcame these usual obstacles. The diagonals of the system were detailed to allow their installation only after the superstructure was topped out. To the extent that the outrigger system attracts gravity loads from the perimeter columns, the top chords of the trusswork were designed to be post-tensioned to resist these forces.

At Floors 29 and 30, outrigger trusses and belt walls interconnect the core walls and the perimeter columns. The outrigger truss and belt wall system were designed to function with the concrete core walls to complete the wind load resisting system. The outrigger trusses and belt walls will stabilize the core by resisting a portion of the overturning moments associated with wind-induced east-west movements.

There are four sets of double-story outrigger trusses. Two are aligned with the two primary core cross walls and two are aligned with fire stair walls. The connections of the outrigger trusses (40 inches wide, 1000mm wide) to the cross walls (16 inches thick, 400mm) were designed and detailed to transfer the forces effectively. (Figure 4) There are four belt walls, two on each side of the tower. The belt walls are one-story tall and interconnect pairs of perimeter columns to each outrigger truss.

Helipad Framing

As part of the tower’s lotus flower image, one side of the tower protrudes near Floor 55, taking the shape of a lotus bud. A sky lounge is located on the 55th floor with a helipad and an observation deck directly overhead. The helipad is supported by a pair of 82-foot long (25m) tapered steel cantilever girders. These tapered structural steel girders span from the core walls to the perimeter tower columns and cantilever outward to frame the helipad.

The cross-section of the helipad is framed with secondary tapered structural steel beams, spaced approximately 10.5 feet (3.2m) on center, that are oriented perpendicular to the primary girders. Both ends of the secondary beams cantilever beyond the primary girders to support the circular edge of the helipad. In this instance, the choice of steel resulted in a lighter structure and speedier construction.


The Bitexco Financial Tower is proceeding with construction despite the global economic crisis. The city, which has an annual growth rate of 12%, is fast becoming an important trade center in the Southeast Asian region. Once construction is finished in 2010, the Financial Tower will offer approximately 1,000,000 square feet (90,000 square meters) of office space. Like the lotus flower it emulates, the Bitexco Financial Tower is an emblem of the emergence of Vietnam into the Global Community of trade, business and commerce.▪

Source: STRUCTURE® magazine

Cau Giay Commercial Center

23 Jun
The building, which comprises 2 towers a 27 storey office building & 18 storey apartment, is designed for a contemporary appearance, while establishing a contrast between the two main functions of the high-rise. The building design keeps with the increasingly sophisticated businesses investing in Vietnam.

The residential block presents a warmer façade with touches of color and alternating patterns, while the office tower shows a curtain-wall façade with some screen protection on the south-southwest facades. This will assist in operating an energy efficient building aiding in minimising running costs.

– Location : Hanoi – Vietnam

– Size: 51,700 m²; 27 storey office building; 18 storey apartment building.

Design by: Archetype Group.

Buyers advised rational behavior in real estate market

23 Jun
As the real estate sector warms up and anxiety rises about inflationary prices, Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam says buyers should rely on professional advice and not bank on market rumors.

“After a long freeze [over the past year], the number of property transactions and prices have edged up. It is inevitable,” Nam told Thanh Nien in a recent interview.

He said the real estate market recovery is backed by high housing needs and signs that the economy has bottomed out.

“Demand for housing is strong and there is still a big gap between demand and supply,” Nam said. “In Vietnam, the per capita housing area is 12 square meters while it is 30 square meters in other countries.”

Markets of soft-price apartments and land for construction projects in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have been heating up in recent weeks.

Immediately after the Dat Xanh Real Estate Service and Construction Corporation launched the first phase of its Babylon Residence project in HCMC’s Thu Duc District with 100 apartments last Sunday, it sold 96 at VND14.5 million (US$816.2) per square meter.

Also last week, Tan Binh Construction Investment Company sold 100 apartments of its Tan Mai Building project in HCMC’s Binh Tan District at VND10-12 million per square meter.

In the first week this month, land prices at several projects in new District 7 development areas rose 4-6 percent compared to May.

“The residential market is improving because a large volume of mid-income people have found current prices much lower than the overheated prices of 2006-07,” Vietnam News quoted Pham Si Liem, vice chairman of Vietnam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations, as saying.

“Everyone is trying to manage credit to buy a piece of land or a house. They are worried about not be able to own if the market overheats again,” Liem said.

Questioned why Vietnam’s real estate market is not developing normally as it either freezes or becomes overheated, Nam said it was psychological buying that was driving the market.

“Vietnamese people are easily affected by rumors [about the market trends] and lack analysis, and not just in the property market,” he said.

Nam said though the real estate market could generate high profits, it was very dangerous if investors were to buy properties based on market rumors.

He said while the government is responsible for perfecting legal documents to prevent speculation and giving enough information on the market to direct home buyers, the buyers themselves should “adjust their behavior.”

If home buyers do not know enough about the property market, they should access consultants, he said.

“We are running on a trial basis (the calculating of) the real estate market’s indicators – such as indices of trading volumes and prices – to measure the temperature of the market so that individuals and entrepreneurs can use them for their trading or investment decisions,” Nam said.

He said the market freeze over the past year made such “measuring” a challenging task.

“As the market warms up, we will accelerate this work to release the indices soon,” he said.

Housing prices in Vietnam are very high compared with residents’ incomes, Nam noted.

He said while residents in foreign countries need 15 years of work to buy a house or apartment, Vietnamese people need 30-40 years.

Nam said the National Assembly has recently ratified amended construction-related laws which cut investment time and costs, helping lower housing prices.

The Deputy Minister of Construction also said the government is supporting the development of the low-income housing market to reduce the gap between demand and supply.

Earlier this month, the ministry reported 20 low-income housing projects nationwide will break ground in June, and several others in the third quarter of the year that are expected to be completed in late 2010.

Viet Kieu housing rules good for market

Nam said the newly approved legal amendments to grant greater home ownership rights to overseas Vietnamese would have “positive impacts” on the local real estate market.

The amendments would not only tighten relationships of overseas Vietnamese, known as Viet Kieu, with their home country, but would also “help the property market grow.”

From September 1, certain categories of Viet Kieu will be allowed to own an unlimited number of homes in the country under amendments to the Housing Law and Land Law passed last week by the National Assembly.

It includes those who still retain their Vietnamese citizenship, overseas Vietnamese investors, scientists, and others with special skills.

The Vietnamese diaspora is estimated at about three million people with many in the US, Canada, France and Australia. But during the three years since the Housing Law took effect in 2006, only 140 have bought houses in Vietnam.

“Many people have shown concern that the amendments would lead to speculation, but they shouldn’t worry,” Nam said.

“We have enough instruments to prevent any attempts to hoard real estate, like taxes. Meanwhile, as I have said, property prices in Vietnam are high now, so it’s not profitable to speculate on real estate.”

Photo credit: GMR
Source: Thanhnien News

Property stocks look promising

21 Jun
Real estate developers bypassed the sluggish property market last year to record steady profits from construction rather than rentals and such.

Construction Joint Stock Company No. 5 (SC5) made VND34.9 billion in after-tax profit last year, mainly from building under contract.

The company is forecasting a net profit of VND46 billion (US$2.58 million) for 2009 and reckons that contract construction will deliver VND36 billion of the final figure.

With registered capital of VND103 billion, SC5’s earnings per share now stands at VND4,000.

The current share price of around VND50,000 gives the company a tempting price/earnings ratio of 12.5.

SC5 owns quite a few commercial buildings that promise to generate substantial returns as the property market picks up.

At present the company is putting up an apartment building in Binh Thanh District’s Ward 21, and plans are afoot for several more developments.

Next month SC5 plans to start building expensive apartments near Thu Thiem Bridge in Ward 22 of the same district.

Further down the track, the company has scheduled a third-quarter start to construction of 1,000 inexpensive apartments with a budget of VND500 billion and the My An Apartment Building for low-income earners with a budget of VND150 billion, both in Thu Duc District.

The company also owns four hectares of prime land in rapidly urbanizing District 9.
Another promising candidate for healthy returns is Saigon General Service Corp. (SVC), which listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange last month.

The company plans to start building a VND800 billion shopping center with offices for rent in downtown HCMC later this year. Savico Plaza on Ho Tung Mau Street, District 1 will occupy 3,100 square meters of land.

SVC is already undertaking several construction projects in the middle of HCMC, among them a seven-story office building at 91 Pasteur Street and a hotel on Ly Tu Trong Street.

Away from the center of town, the company is building an office tower on Le Minh Xuan Street in Tan Binh District.

With the recent stock market surge, SVC will likely take back the VND121 billion loss provision made last year when its share portfolio was ravaged.

On its website, SVC says it made a net profit of VND12.3 billion in the first four months of the year, equal to 22.57 percent of the 2009 forecast. Its P/E is 14.2 and EPS is VND2,749.

“We think investors should buy real estate development companies that already own plenty of land. They should see robust growth this year,” VNDirect Securities told Dau Tu Chung Khoan (Securities Investment) newspaper.

The property market is picking up on the back of the rallying stock market, according to Dinh The Hien, director of the Institute of Informatics and Applied Economic Research.

“Investors who bought stocks early this year have taken large profits and are putting them into property, which is more attractive than bank deposits or gold,” Hien said.

Vnre – Source: DTCK

Richland Southern

20 Jun
The design brief for Richland Southern luxury apartments was to bring in the luxurious beauty of 1930s New York buildings into Hanoi. This project will be a continuity of the Richland real estate brand – a creating of superior living space which includes other projects like Richland Hill and Richland Emerald.

Deluxe facilities await residents in this development. The circulation is well defined with 2 separate drop-off points for the 2-storey commercial and 17-storey residential. Ample car parking space is provided in 2 basements. An indoor heated pool and a gym provide opportunities for residents to chill out.

The unit mix consists of mainly 3-bedroom apartments with choice of loft units, soho or 3 bedroom + study. Sky garden spaces are specially created to emphasize the extensive quality of the penthouse.

The result is a comfortable living space, at the same time further enhancing the brand name of Richland Southern which is renowned for building luxury apartments.

For further information, please contact:

Richland Property Service Co., Ltd.
Hotline: +84.8.3862 6555

Work starts on US$60.5-mil. office building at SHTP

20 Jun
Internet New City Co., Ltd. and its partner Lion Asia Corp. on Thursday commenced work on a US$60.5-million office building project at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in HCMC’s District 9.

The 15-floor Internet New City project, covering 34,700 square meters, will comprise three towers for office and commercial purposes.

It will provide customers, especially hi-tech firms, with new office buildings accompanied by a network of trade, services, training and conference exhibition space, said Hoang Van Hien, general director of Lion Asia Corp.

When in place after two years of construction, the project will provide data centers, call centers, and facilities for customer support, IC design and applications, software development, and web and mobile devices applications development, Hien said.

Brunei’s New City Co., Ltd. got a license for the project in late 2007 but had delayed the project due to financial distress. And the project was restarted on Thursday thanks to Lion Asia Corp’s financial support.

Le Thai Hy, head of Saigon Hi-Tech Park Authority, expressed appreciation of the company’s commitment to the park, saying the global recession had been unable to force the investor to shelve this project.

The project will contribute to the city’s effort to restructure the economy toward value-added services, Hy said.

SHTP is now home to 36 projects with total capital of US$1.71 billion, with eight projects already operational and employing nearly 8,500 local and foreign workers. It is expected that by the end of 2012, SHTP tenants will create more than 12,000 jobs.

Vnre – Source: The Saigon Times