An entire apartment building in Shanghai collapsed spontaneously and fell over in one piece this past Saturday, with an amazing minor miracle of one fatality. However, the reason reported on Tuesday is not so convincing that poor construction led to the collapse.
At around 5:30am on June 27, a nearly-finished 13-story apartment building in the Lotus Riverside complex in suburban Shanghai toppled over Saturday, killing one worker.
According to a report from the investigation team released on Tuesday, poor construction was to be blamed for the collapse.
The investigation team's report said that workers dug an underground garage on one side of the building while on the other side earth was heaped up to 10 meters high, which was apparently an error in construction, according to a report on eastday.com, Shanghai's official news website.
Any construction company with common sense would not make such a mistake, said an expert from the investigation team.
Earlier this week, there were also reports saying that cracks on the flood-prevention wall near the building, as well as the special geological condition in the water bank area, may be part of the reason for the collapse.
These factors are not the basic reason of this accident, said the expert.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the developer, Shanghai Meidu Real Estate Company, has been working illegally because its construction license expired in 2004.
Nine people linked to the building collapse, including the real estate developer, contractor and the supervisor for the project, have been put under appropriate control, said the official Xinhua News Agency Sunday evening.
An initial investigation found that the rest of the buildings are safe.
However, Jianping Xu, who signed a contract for an apartment in one of those buildings only 10 days ago said: I dare not move in.
Qi Zhang, a man in his 50s, said he wants his money back and compensation of an equal amount. Zhang and his new wife bought a property in February with a loan of 450,000 yuan ($65,769).
We are paying back the bank, he said. I won't be able to afford another property nearby even if I get my money back.
Angry homeowners who spent millions on similar apartments priced at about 14,300 yuan ($2,090) per sq m gathered to discuss collective action Sunday near the site of the collapse.
Most residents are demanding refunds and compensation, but experts doubt whether their claims will be successful.
($1= 6.84210526 yuan)