PHUKET QUAKE: Owners urged to carry out property inspections

19 April 2012 – Whilst most luxury resort and residential properties in Phuket are believed to be constructed to high standard, property owners to carry out property inspections to ensure safety following the recent Phuket earthquake, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, a professional services firm specializing in real estate.  The firm also expects the incident to have a short-term impact on property transactions in Phuket unless the island experiences a larger Richter scale.
Phuket has felt a series of tremors following the 4.3-magnitude earthquake that hit the island on Monday 16 April. Whilst a number of houses have reportedly seen slight damage from the earthquake, relevant authorities are expected to disclose more data as further inspections are being carried out.
Jones Lang LaSalle manages 18 resort developments in Phuket, none of which have seen damage from the quake based on the firm’s initial inspections.
Property inspections should be carried out to ensure safety
The good news is the Phuket quake was of a relatively small Richter scale and most of the luxury resort and residential properties in the costal destinations are believed to be constructed to high standard. However, to ensure the highest safety, property owners together with their property managers are encouraged to carry out property inspections, even on low-rise or low-density properties.
Dexter Norville, Head of Jones Lang LaSalle in Phuket, said “Following an earthquake, an initial action that property owners and managers should do is to inspect of the major structural member of the building (shear walls, beams, columns) for any major damages and cracks (which are greater than 2 – 3 mm wide).  This will determine if the building has been impacted by the earthquake.  Property owners or property management firms that do not have in house experts on site should ask the municipality to send civil engineers or civil surveyors to inspect the property. A series of inspections may be required if the tremors continue.”
“Condominium or apartment buildings should also have a set of evacuation plans for different occurrences because at present the main focus in terms of safety is mainly on fires only.  It is also important that the property managers make these procedures known to all residents.”
Effect on Phuket’s luxury residential market likely to be minimal
“It may be too early to judge and analyze to what extent the Phuket real estate market will be affected by the recent earthquake.  We will still have to wait and see if there would be bigger quakes following. But for now, the recent quake is unlikely to have a long-term effect on the Phuket real estate market as the Richter scale was small and the damage has been minimal and restricted to old properties close to the epicenter. Having said that, the incident will inevitably have a short-term effect on some property transactions on the island as news about the quakes has created some panic in the market,” said Mr. Norville.