Local architects asked to help convert gazetted buildings into Covid-19 quarantine stations

Ida Lim
Government health workers attend to members of the public at the Kuala Lumpur Health Clinic March 24, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Architects around the country have been asked to step up as volunteers to help in the inspection of 409 buildings and sites gazetted by the government to be converted into temporary Covid-19 quarantine stations or even field hospitals, the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) said.

In a letter to PAM members dated yesterday, PAM president Lillian Tay urged the institute’s architect members “to volunteer to assist our government in the present Covid-19 public health crisis”.

PAM referred to the Health Minister’s March 21 gazette of a list of 409 sites throughout the country as use for Covid-19 quarantine stations.

“The facilities gazetted include public universities, community colleges, technical institutes, former National Service camps, training centres, polytechnics, and hotels owned by federal ministries, departments, agencies and statutory bodies. At least one quarantine station has been identified in all states and federal territories.

“PAM is offering to assist the Ministry of Health by seeking volunteers from our PAM Architect members to help inspect and assess these identified sites and premises for conversion to become temporary Covid-19 Quarantine Centres or Field Hospitals,” Tay wrote in the letter that was posted on PAM’s Facebook page.

PAM also urged architects who were the principal submitting person (PSP) of these 409 gazetted facilities to urgently identify themselves to PAM as the PSP of the building, if they are willing to help in this emergency effort to inspect, assess and possibly work with government health and building authorities to “propose modifications for rapid conversion of these buildings to function as temporary Covid-19 quarantine centres”.

A PSP, among other things, typically submits building plans to the local authority for approval.

“PAM also seeks the assistance of PSPs to provide records of approved building plans to assist the effort. If you are unable to come forth by 27 March 2020, another volunteer Architect, probably one who lives in the vicinity of the building, shall be assigned to do the assessment for your building,” PAM said.

To volunteer for this initiative to help the Malaysian government combat the Covid-19 outbreak, architects will have to fill up a form to be submitted to the PAM secretariat before noon on March 27 (tomorrow).

In the form attached to the Facebook post, those who are PSPs can tick to indicate if they are willing to provide copies of approved building plans to assist PAM volunteers to inspect and assess the buildings, and if they are willing to volunteer to help the relevant health and building authorities to inspect, assess the buildings for suitability for conversion to a temporary Covid-19 quarantine station, or if they are willing to volunteer to help these authorities to carry out the actual conversion.

Similarly, architects who are not PSPs can tick to indicate their readiness to help inspect and assess the buildings for suitability of conversion, or they can also volunteer to help in the actual conversion of buildings into Covid-19 quarantine stations on top of carrying out inspection and assessment work.

In the same form, volunteer architects are required to state the name of the building and its number in the government gazetted list of 409 facilities, and are also required to state the estimated year of completion for the gazetted buildings.

Malaysians, including companies, have stepped forward to help the government fight Covid-19, including by making face shields using DIY, laser cut and 3D printing methods for medical personnel, and by offering free hotel rooms and rent-free accommodation to Covid-19 medical frontliners.

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