On Saturday I wrote about the apartment building that collapsed (or better: fell over) in Shanghai. Over the past days more details about what may have caused this have become available. As many people suggested substandard construction materials may have been a reason, but that was not the only cause. Initial investigations point at the fact that the developer was excavating an area for a garage under the building (Did they forget to build one? It does not seem logical to first build an apartment building and then build a garage below it). They made a big pile of the earth next to a flood wall of the river, causing the flood wall to collapse the day before the building went down. This combination may have been fatal for the building. The official probe will still take some time to finish.
In the mean time the developer is filling up the garage again (shouldn’t they wait until the investigation into what went wrong is finished?) and inspectors are monitoring the other buildings in the compound every 30 minutes. The people living there moved in again after the government told them it was safe to do so. To tell you the truth, if I would be living there I would not dare to go back. The buildings all look the same, so I assume the same building materials were used. Can you really prevent another collapse by checking a building every 30 minutes?
People who bought apartments in the collapsed building are now asking for refunds of their investment, but the question is whether the developer has enough money to reimburse them (in total the community had 629 apartments, of which 489 had been sold so far). The developer’s bank account was “under control”, the district government said, and they also had put 9 people from the developer “under control”. To make matters worse for the developer, an investigation showed that the company was able to buy the land for less than a third of the price of what other developers had paid for similar parcels of land. I assume the government employee responsible for this transaction won’t be sleeping so well these days.