Substandard public project to be torn down

Updated: 2011-01-14 16:08

By Jin Zhu (China Daily)

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Substandard public project to be torn down

Residents look over a model of the Sunny Paradise subsidized housing project on Nov 25, 2009. [Photo / China Daily]

Beijing - The Beijing municipal government has, in a rare move, ordered a government-subsidized housing project in the city to be torn down because of shoddy construction.

The news made headlines last year for being the first such case, although poor quality is a problem that plagues many subsidized housing projects.

The Sunny Paradise residential complex in the capital's Daxing district includes nine subsidized buildings. A government inspection in August found six of the nine under-construction buildings were built with substandard concrete. The government ordered that they should be demolished.

Two of the three other buildings required reinforcement, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.

Demolition work was scheduled for completion two months after it began on Oct 9, China Central Television (CCTV) reported in October.

"Seeing the buildings fall made my heart ache," a homebuyer surnamed Han said in the CCTV report.

"Construction began in December 2009, and some buildings have grown to nine stories. They were supposed to be finished this June. But now, I have no idea when I can move in."

The aboveground structures were destroyed while the underground foundations required reinforcement, the Beijing-based Legal Weekly newspaper reported.

A total of 7,933 cubic meters of concrete contained insufficient cement, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development announced in November.

Officials of the Beijing-based cement provider were administratively detained for their deceptive business practices.

The developer has not yet set a reconstruction date.

"The building project must be delayed according to the timing of the current demolition process," a Daxing district housing commission office official, who declined to be named, said.

"The precise date when residents can move in has not yet been determined."

The office has assisted homebuyers get refunds since Nov 12.

"I'm not sure I can find another affordable home if I give up this apartment," an unnamed resident said on Sunny Paradise's online forum.

"But even though I can get some compensation from the developer, I'm still losing a lot of money because I have to spend a lot to rent another place."

Related readings:
Substandard public project to be torn down Affordable housing strains local govts' coffers
Substandard public project to be torn down Banks urged to lend more for affordable housing projects

Li Wenjie, regional general manager of Centaline Group property agency, said in an earlier interview: "It's typical that affordable housing developers cut costs, because such compounds are less profitable than commercial homes, although the country already offers preferential policies for affordable housing project developers, particularly in terms of taxation and land leases."

Sunny Paradise's apartments were sold for about 4,190 yuan ($634) per square meter, while commercial apartments in the same complex cost 23,000 yuan per square meter.

No quality problems were found with the expensive apartments, for which the developer used a different cement supplier, earlier reports said.

Other subsidized housing projects have been found to have similar quality problems. The walls of the Ruiqi residential complex in Beijing's Xisanqi area, for example, cracked easily.

But homebuyers who purchase subsidized apartments tend to remain silent because of the lower prices they paid. Local governments, especially those of second-tier and third-tier cities, also show little concern about examining subsidized housing's quality.

"Stricter quality-control measures are needed," Li said.


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