The 16th Anniversary of the Royal Plaza Hotel Collapse in Thailand - An Engineer's Aspect


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The 16th Anniversary of the Royal Plaza Hotel Collapse in Thailand

Image: The aftermath of the August 13, 1993 Royal Plaza Hotel Collapse in Thailand. Source:

Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai wrote about the collapse in his report entitled, The Changing Role of Civil Engineers in Urban Safety:
"On 13 August 1993, the Royal Plaza, a 6-storey hotel complex in the northeastern province of Thailand collapsed with little warning, killing 137 and injuring 227. "

Image: Sudden collapse of overloaded hotel killing 137 in 1993. Source: WORSAK KANOK-NUKULCHAI.

"The investigation committee chaired by the author found that three additional stories were constructed without permit and without strengthening the structure. Most columns on the ground floor carried a load near their strength limit for almost 6 years before one of them failed due to a long-term creep. The failure of one colum caused the progressive collapse of all the other columns within a very short time, leaving little time for occupants to escape. While a new regulation was put in place requiring an independent third-party check for all public buildings, the engineer ended up in jail."

Newspaper Articles:

World IN BRIEF - THAILAND - Hotel Collapses With 300 Inside
The Los Angeles Times
August 13, 1993

A six-story hotel in a provincial capital collapsed while about 300 people attended meetings inside, an official radio station reported. The report said it was not known whether there were any casualties in the collapse of the Royal Plaza Hotel in Korat, 136 miles northeast of Bangkok. The radio station of the Mass Communications Authority of Thailand said the collapse occurred at 10:10 a.m. local time. The report said about 300 people were attending seminars and meetings at the hotel. There were no other details.

Court orders five to pay Bt152 million compensation for Korat Hotel collapse
By The Nation

The Nakhon Ratchasima Court of Appeals has ordered five defendants to pay Bt152.23million compensation to a company for a hotel building that collapsed in 1993, killing 137.

The defendants were Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality, Wongsinthai Limited Partnership, its owner Amorn Janrattanapreeda, engineer Sathorn Promnin, and design-and-construction-supervising engineer Bampen Panratissara.

The plaintiff was the Royal Plaza Hotel.

"This case should serve as a reminder to every local administrative organisation to never approve an inappropriate construction plan," the company's lawyer Weerasak Boonperng said yesterday. "People's safety must come first".

The compensation will be subject to 7.5-per-cent annual interest rate from August 13, 1993.

When the Royal Plaza Hotel in Nakhon Ratchasima collapsed that day, 137 people were killed and many others injured.

Most of the dead victims were teachers attending a seminar at the hotel.

Royal Plaza Hotel Company has already compensated all the victims.

In a related lawsuit, the Supreme Court handed down a 37-year jail term to Bampen in 2003.