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Sierra Leone Business: Technical Audit recommends structural integrity assessment on Golden Tulip Hotel

The Auditor General has recommended that the NASSIT Management should commission a structural integrity assessment on the entire Golden Tulip Essential Kimbima building to determine whether the building is fit for purpose, before further expenditure is done on maintenance. In the Technical Audit Report 2019 she stressed that the Management must engage a qualified structural engineer to prescribe and supervise appropriate remedial measures to be implemented to sustain the hotel. The audit team she said was not provided with as-built drawings for the hotel facility after the renovation works in 2015, building plans and schematic drawings for electrical and plumbing systems and the hotel lacked a maintenance schedule. The management of Golden Tulip Essential Kimbima had reported to NASSIT Management on the collapsed ceiling and the deteriorated state of other parts and fixture of the hotel and concluded that the Golden Tulip Kimbima Hotel, poses a threat to the safety and security of both staff and guests. Le 49.2 billion was invested by NASSIT to renovate the hotel. However the state of the hotel in January 2009 is similar to the observations made in the Structural Assessment Report prepared by Techsult & Company Ltd in 2006.

Several defaults of the building were identified which are listed below:

Walls: Dampness in walls (internal and external), columns, beams and ceiling, Cracks in fence wall, Cracks in external wall of the Naimbana Block

Ceiling: Suspended ceiling in conference room are sagging, collapsed ceiling concrete cover revealing rusted reinforcement bars in the ceiling slab of kitchen and other areas.

Floor: Loose floor tiles under carpets in rooms and other areas, floor slabs leading to the panoramic elevator are poorly supported

Plumbing: Inferior pipe for plumbing and waste water, poor connection of pipe works at the Sewa Block, sewage pipelines are not professionally installed outside and inside the buildings, poor drainage system at the car park

Electrical: Wiring at the distribution panel not done professionally, Inoperable 500KVA Cummins Generator stored outside the car park, two (2) voltage regulators (Cooper Power Systems 165 KVA, Manufactured in Jan 2006) not in use

Retaining Wall: Cracks in retaining wall underneath Naimbana Block, footing of retaining wall not adequately supported on firm soil

Columns: Poor concrete workmanship. Honeycombing seen in columns for support structure of the car park

Beams: Poor concrete workmanship. Honeycombing seen in beams for support structure for the car park

Slabs: Inadequate size of reinforcement bar in deck slab of car park, floor slabs leading to the panoramic elevator are poorly supported, collapsed ceiling concrete cover revealing rusted reinforcement bars in the ceiling slab

Painting: Emulsion paint used instead of acrylic latex paint which provides better protection against sea elements, Paint on walls peeling off due to dampness.

In addition to the above, it was also noted that the paint on walls peeling off due to dampness and ingress of water, which may have been caused by inappropriate wall treatment prior to painting and using emulsion paint instead of acrylic latex paint.

Collapsed ceiling possibly caused by poor concrete mix and inadequate concrete cover (cover of about 25mm was used). British Standard 8110 recommends a cover of 40- 50 mm for buildings close to the sea.

Honeycombing observed in the structural elements (beams and columns) are a sign of defective concrete. The honeycombs observed pose the risk of sea breeze and water penetrating the concrete, corroding the reinforcement, weakening the concrete and causing possible failure of the structure.

Floor slabs leading to the panoramic elevator and the suspended slab at the car park vibrate when people walk on them.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday April 15, 2019.

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