The Highland Towers Collapse and Ramp Construction


03 Oct 2016 21 Sep 2017

This essay has been written and submitted by students and is not an example of our work. Please click this link to view samples of our professional work witten by our professional essay writers. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of EssayCompany.


The purpose of this essay is to find out from a field, a building that experienced construction catastrophe, study its short comings and come up with solutions and recommendations of what could be done to ensure the same problem doesn’t happen in the future. The building upon which the research is based in this assignment is called the Highland tower, a building in Selangor Malaysia which collapsed and 48 people died and 12 others were evacuated from the other building. The Highland Towers collapse was an apartment building collapse that occurred on 11 December 1993 in Taman Hillview, Ulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia. The collapse of Block One of the apartments caused the deaths of 48 people and led to the complete evacuation of the remaining two blocks due to safety concern. It was one of the most tragic building accidents in Malaysian history where residential towers collapsed and killed people. Since then, the government and its subsidiaries sat down in a committee to see a way forward for the construction industry especially construction in hilly areas to minimize casualties.

The event has been widely publicized, when an American tourist in particular because it is captured in the next ten days and taken to the Tower of photos a dramatic sequence, and crazy rescue operations.    

Building professionals with the case of several important influence in Malaysia, which will be the focus of this paper, but also lead to tort law in Malaysia interesting development and clarification.

Case study

Highland Towers consists of three 12-storey buildings in a steep hill, was later extensively on the terraces in the early 1980s in western base built in stages between 1974 to 1982. Each block is named:

Block1 (built in 1977, the most southern)

Block2 (built in 1979, north-west block 1, slightly elevated than the other two, the closer to the top of the hill)

Block3 (built in 1981, the Northwest block 1, block West 2).

Parking behind the mountain rain collapsed building in the swimming pool located on both sides and the rear between Northwest Northeast parking lot after the landslide caused by the failure of the retaining wall behind the building failed, for 10 days. The tower is home to the affluent middle-class families ; considerable proportion of residents are expatriates . Highland Tower was once notorious early 1980s and 1990s for wealthy people to hide their mistress popular place . The water tower is behind a small stream known as the " East Creek ." Eastern Creek flows into the tower site tower " before construction. Later, build a pipeline system to divert flow to bypass the tower in 1991 , a new housing development project , called" Wu Antarabangsa Development Project " , located in the tower Peak behind the start . As a result, the mountain has been cleared of trees and other vegetation and land cover , soil erosion exposed land , which will lead to land slides from the construction site of the water diverted into the river to divert the flow of the same East piping systems. eventually, the pipeline system to become over- pressurized water , sand and silt from the Eastern Creek and the construction site. pipe burst at different locations in the mountains, the soil had to absorb excess moisture . December 1993 monsoon rains further worsening the situation .

(Block One of the Highland Towers collapsed)

Role and responsibilities

The Architect

(I) there is no defense of this contact is a limited one, at least you must ensure that other aspects of the work of others is competent to complete. Defensive architect, he only retained the design and supervision of three apartment buildings, and denied that his range extends to the drainage, earthworks and retaining walls. It was dismissed by that court. The court held that the architect must take into account the building on which is built in the vicinity of the land, and the land itself, the safety assessment of the building, it must be evaluated. [In addition, the court held that as a matter of fact, the architect concerned about the neighborhood and the building itself, when he submitted the layout plan, the authorities because it includes high tower behind the slope terraces and drainage. Therefore, he must ensure that the work carried out although others in a competent and workmanlike manner]

(Ii) there is no difference between the standard care of unqualified doctors

Although the architect in reality just a building draftsman, measure their behavior on the court has the ability to architect a standard that if a person is unqualified, but showed himself to have a skill, he will be judged by the standard a competent and qualified staff.

(C) there is no excuse to say that compulsory employer does not comply with regulations

Finally, the Court seems to have flatly rejected the architect's excuse that he can not do anything to stop his boss (employers and engineers in obtaining certificates of fitness in three apartment buildings do not fulfill the conditions stipulated by the local authorities in collusion background, instead of terraces and retaining walls to ensure proper design, provide and sufficient to withstand, even though he knew it would affect the building, he was in charge) slope instability - the Court has made clear that, when the law is broken, the architect must report to the authorities - after the architect must ensure that the law, even in the risk of being discharged.


Defense engineer, he only retained the design and supervision of three apartment buildings, Highland Towers compound structures within two retaining walls, and submit plans, drainage, and two and denied his range extends to the drainage, earthworks. It was dismissed by that court. The court found that engineers must take into account the building on which is built in the vicinity of the land, and the land itself, the time to assess the safety of buildings, must be evaluated. He should ensure the stability of the slope behind Highland Towers.

His duties not by a mere belief that they are built on terraced slopes and retaining walls were discharged by an engineer or other consultant. He should ask the professional is qualified, whether he was doing what impact the safety of cascading tower. [Neglect other aspects of engineers - a serious violation of the authorities to take care of his responsibilities to a notification issued by the buyer, and only 10 percent is based on the approved drainage construction]

In summary locations near building professionals need to be considered, as well as the safety assessment of the site itself, especially taking into account the adjacent hillside. Building professionals to participate in a limited range can not hide behind, these are the things that they themselves and their employers, but they may be subject to the duties owed to the scope of their service is not limited to this. Building professionals required to ensure that others do the work to engage them in the design may affect / supervisory structure is competent, workmanlike manner to carry out the work. If you think the general building professionals have expertise in a specific area of ​​eligibility when they are unqualified, their behavior will be a measure of this expertise qualified doctor. After building professionals must ensure that law and, if necessary to report to the authorities if their clients break the law, even in danger by their client to be discharged.

Case application on law of tort


The Highland Towers decision becomes another Malaysian High Court decision which diverges from the approach of the English Courts and adopts the approach taken by other Commonwealth jurisdictions in allowing the recovery of “pure economic loss”, especially where sufficient proximity can be demonstrated between the negligent act and the loss. Pure economic loss is the loss related to the product itself which is defective by reason of negligence, as opposed to the loss or damage caused to the property of the Plaintiff by this defective product.


In this cause of action, a Defendant is liable if the Plaintiff can show the Defendant is responsible for a condition or activity which interferes with use or enjoyment of his land, and that condition or activity is not a reasonable user by the Defendant. The Highland Towers decision, requiring the plaintiff must establish an additional requirement that is the type of damage whether the defendant could reasonably foreseeable, the principles adopted from English case law on the extension of the disturbance is limited in Malaysia, Cambridge Water Company leather Co. Ltd. v. Eastern European countries.

Cause of structural failure

The water tower is behind a small stream known as the " East Creek ." Eastern Creek flows into the tower site tower " before construction , so the establishment of the pipeline system is to divert the flow to bypass the tower.

In 1991, a new housing development project , called 'Bukit Antarabangsa Development Project' , located in the tower under construction behind the top of the hill . The mountain is cleared of trees and other vegetation and land cover , land exposed soil erosion is a major factor causing landslides.

Construction site of the new water diverted into the existing pipeline systems used to transfer the East river flows. This heavy-duty piping and water, sand and silt from the river and east into the pipeline construction site . Pipes burst, several places in the mountains , and the surrounding soil to absorb excess moisture . December 1993 monsoon rains further deterioration of the situation .

The water content in the soil becomes super saturated , so that the soil has become viscous , actually become the degree of clay. October 1992 by the hillside is saturated with water, the water is flowing down the slopes and considered retaining walls .

Shortly thereafter, landslides , destroying the construction of a retaining wall. Landslide mud that contains an estimated one hundred thousand square meters - a mass equivalent to 200 Boeing 747 aircraft. Rammed earth base to first , gradually pushing it forward. After a month of this constant pressure , foundations snapped and November 1993 , the residents began to see cracks forming and expanding the highlands surrounding the tower , on the road warning of collapse. Unfortunately, no further investigation before a collapse December 11 , 1993.

Safety authorities and Investigation procedures.

These were the findings of the investigation that came from the accident. Also indicating who was to blame for the occurrence of the accident. Within the first 24 hours, only two women and an infant were pulled out of the rubble. Indonesian maid Umi Rashidah Khoruman, 22, and her 18-month old daughter Nur Hamidah Najib, survived the ordeal, but the second woman, Japanese national Shizue Nakajima, 50, succumbed to her injuries. Final report from the investigations showed that It was the fault of the property owners not to drain the land that caused the silt to build and thus the massive land slide that led to the collapse of the structure that claimed 48 lives.


The following are the court 's findings of liability :

The first defendant was negligent in assuming responsibility not to engage a qualified architect , building terraces insufficient , inadequate, could reasonably be expected to have caused the collapse of the retaining walls and drains eastward diversion from its natural course and failed to ensure that the slope is adequate water pipe culverts , and hate not maintained drains and retaining walls .

The second defendant ( the architect ) is assumed liability for negligence does not ensure adequate drainage and retaining walls built in the adjacent highlands tower site , which he foresaw or should have foreseen that the building would endanger the hillside , he is responsible for , not specified with the authorities on drainage, and the first defendant and the third defendant ( engineers ) collude to get fitness certificate does not fulfill the conditions by the fourth defendant ( local authorities ) are required , in doing so does not comply with his duties , the architect and no investigation retaining walls, even though he knew they would affect the terraced hillsides and construction of buildings , he was responsible for , and hate , because he is an unreasonable land users .

The third defendant ( engineer ) is behind the negligence of responsibility without considering the hillside or slope of the tower, there is no basis for the design and construction to accommodate lateral load or alternatively landslide has ensured that the adjacent slope stability, without implementation of the approved drainage plan, and the first and second defendants colluded to get fitness certificate does not fulfill the conditions stipulated by the fourth defendant and a nuisance , because he is irrational use of land.

The fourth defendant ( local authorities ) Although the negligence of its construction-related jobs. That is about the building plan approval process to ensure the implementation of the approved construction of drainage systems , and in the Certificate of Fitness problem remains because S95 Street , Drainage and Building Act (2 ) immunity.

The fourth defendant, but a maintenance function Eastern stream late in fulfilling its construction can not be spared for its negligence . It also attracted a nuisance liability .

The fifth defendant ( Arab - Malaysian financial BHD) is liable for the negligence of failure to maintain drains their land , and in the land after the collapse of the measures taken to restore stability .

Seventh defendant (Metrolux property ) and its project manager , the eighth defendant , who is the responsibility of negligence and nuisance , to prevent water from flowing into the downhill ( into their website ) , but to guide the stream of water into the East , when they knew or ought to have known, this will increase the amount of water injected into the mud and , in particular, have their own extensive land clearing , go east into the stream , it will be deposited , which will in turn ( to prove ) cause or contribute to drainage fault system and a collapse.

The ninth and tenth defendant ( basically the state government ) , found no liability due to a technical problem on the prosecution of a particular political party.

The sixth defendant ( who carried out the work site clean- Arab - abortion buyer of land in Malaysia ) found no evidence of responsibility .


About remedies the first this is find a qualified contractors and qualified Designer and construction engineer. In this case causes of building collapse the main reason is to find designer contractor caused by the irrational. So we summary have five points:

(i) Nearby locations building professionals need to be considered, as well as the safety assessment of the site itself, especially taking into account the adjacent hillside.

(Ii) building professionals to participate in a limited range can not hide behind, these are things that they themselves and their employers, but they may be subject to the duties owed to the scope of their service is not limited to this.

(Iii) building professionals required to ensure that others do the work may be engaged to supervise their influence in the design / construction is competent, will carry out their work, a workmanlike manner.

(Iv) if the building professionals think they have expertise in specific areas when they are unqualified, their behavior will be a measure of this general qualifications expertise qualified doctor.

(V) construction professionals must ensure that the law after a report to the authorities if necessary, if their clients break the law, even in danger by their client to be discharged.

The second thing to do is to ensure that the experience and expertise to this project.

Next to it is to ensure that all materials and components to be installed and used in order to test its functionality and satisfactory compliance with the required standards. For example; specific laboratory tests should be taken before using compressive strength, stability and durability.

Finally, before any part of the project is complete, responsible for the approval before its next regulatory bodies should be. The project is a model for all the items necessary tests, carried out before the actual implementation. Engineers can also use the cause of the weather and other aspects of the model.

The third thing is because this situation has occurred for many years, although the court has not yet made the decision, but still want to remind contractors, who together oversee project quality, and how to resolve some of the risk around. Do not let the tragedy happen again.

Percentage Frequency of Causes of Building Collapse(Malaysia 1960-2010)


Investigated causes of building collapse


Percentage (%)


Structural failure




Faulty design




Poor workmanship




Substandard materials




Due to surrounding building development




illegal conversion




Inexperience contractor




Building usage







So in this table we can see Causes of Building Collapse most reason is Inexperience contractor. Now we need clean know find an experienced contractor is very important,

faulty design and due to surrounding building development also account for a large proportion.


From the above analysis and discussion presented , you can infer that the main reason for the building's structural failures, design errors and poor workmanship , which may also be applicable to other countries in the world .

Also from the results of this study,it is believed that there are three types of claims, can produce any buildings collapsed , that contract claims, tort claims and incidents of both contract and tort claims ; This means that a party can be made in this both his / her request. Therefore, the following recommendations for who had suffered losses in the square building collapse

Events so that their requirements:

(i) The Government shall endeavor to assist in the investigation of any incidence of building collapse , to allow victims to know the responsible party, and from whom to make a claim .

(ii) The Government should assist owners or who have suffered the loss of a building collapse in the event a third party to prosecute their cases in court as they do their other requirements, if they can not , because

The expensive nature of the proceedings.

(iii) The Government should enact laws that will improve the effectiveness and standards for the construction of buildings.

(iv) In addition, the government should monitor , manage and enforce the law , its effectiveness.

(v) Every building owner should ensure that qualified professionals and experienced contractors are engaged in carrying out their construction process .

(vi) Every professional body should monitor their members and also be ready to penalize any erring member who ISS found liable in building collapse incident.


Ramp construction led to landslides - like we definitely hear a lot of news, and landslides claimed more and more of life events, why is everywhere and felling of trees for the construction of the activities. Otherwise, this tragedy 21 years ago can be avoided! I hope the Government will seriously look at this issue!



Our Service Portfolio


Want To Place An Order Quickly?

Then shoot us a message on Whatsapp, WeChat or Gmail. We are available 24/7 to assist you.


Do not panic, you are at the right place


Visit Our essay writting help page to get all the details and guidence on availing our assiatance service.

Get 20% Discount, Now
£19 £14/ Per Page
14 days delivery time

Our writting assistance service is undoubtedly one of the most affordable writting assistance services and we have highly qualified professionls to help you with your work. So what are you waiting for, click below to order now.

Get An Instant Quote


Our experts are ready to assist you, call us to get a free quote or order now to get succeed in your academics writing.

Get a Free Quote Order Now