Posted by: nedpelger | October 7, 2008

A Project Failure in North Korea

One of my favorite quotes comes from the brilliant, free market economist Milton Friedman who said, “If the Federal Government was in charge of the Sahara Desert, within 5 years there would be a shortage of sand.”

A few years ago the North Korean government decided to build the world’s tallest hotel. They sort of succeeded. The tall building pictured below was built, but they ran out of money to finish it. Then the poor quality concrete work started failing, so it’s never been occupied.

Built in the capital city of Pyongyang, the Ryugyong Hotel was placed on city maps and even stamps before it was built. Now the tour guides pass by the structure without mentioning it (as could only happen in a totalitarian government) and it has been removed from city maps.

The building that was to inspire great pride in accomplishment turned into an embarassment and a blight. I wonder if the Construction Supervisors and the Design Professionals were punished for the project failure. Do you think they should have been?



  1. my thoughts are that they vanished and never reappeared again.

  2. There are huge challenges when building such monument, the hotel, is of course, gigantic. Construction Project Management is not the easiest thing in the world for this project.

    Nevertheless, I’d say it’s poor project planning that’s behind the failure of this project, which is reason #5 in this article (I published a while ago) why projects fail

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