China / Society

Shanghai government repairs old houses

By Li Yang in Shanghai ( Updated: 2014-04-14 18:34

The Shanghai government is examining the "health conditions" of local old houses.

The Shanghai government has included the repair and reinforcement of old houses in its government-subsidized housing project.

The action comes after a 20-year-old apartment building in Fenghua, Zhejiang province, collapsed early this month, burying alive dozens of residents.

The accident has spurred some local governments to pay more attention to the safety of their apartment buildings that went up from the 1980s to 2000, when the construction quality inspection and supervision systems were not fully developed.

There are 560 million square meters of residence houses in Shanghai, of which 220 million sq m were built before 2000.

Some old houses lack repair and maintenance. These houses, which used to be built and owned by the old residents' employers, were sold to individuals at a lower price in the housing reform in late 1990s.

Many current residents of the old houses are elderly pensioners.

The Shanghai government will conduct security checks, structural consolidation and kitchen and toilet inspections in the old buildings.

According to the government's plan, by 2015, about 50 million sq m of old houses will be repaired and reinforced, and 900,000 sq m of old houses will be torn down and replaced by new ones.

Analysts suggest that to avoid repeating the Fenghua disaster, there must be a lifelong accountability system for all construction companies, architectural designers and project supervisors. The government should register safety files for all constructions.

Residents' apartments must undergo a thorough inspection before embellishments and innovation projects to guarantee no individual action threatens public safety.

There also should be a commercial insurance system for the buildings, paid by the construction companies, government and residents together.

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