Shoddy building practices now at forefront after Taiwan earthquake

World Today

Building regulations have come under scrutiny in Taiwan, following an earthquake that killed 116 people, most of them in the Weiguan Golden Dragon complex in the city of Tainan.

According to Tainan District Court, the 16-story complex has “issues with its shoddy and unapproved workmanship,” and “is problematic with its materials and structural alterations.”

Several developers of the building, including Lin Minghui, have been detained.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-Jeou said that the earthquake showed that Taiwan must work to improve the earthquake-resistance capacity of buildings and the level of disaster prevention.

Taiwan authorities have examined 485 buildings, and will dismantle or modify those that might be a danger.

“We have to inspect every building. It will take a lot of time, but the various departments will do everything they have to do,” said Zen Hsu-Zheng, Deputy mayor of Tainan.

Safety requirements for buildings were increased following a catastrophic earthquake in 1999 that killed 2,500 people.

However the latest earthquake has exposed cracks in the system. Apart from the Weiguan Golden Dragon complex, at least two dozen buildings across the city, most between 20-30 years old, have suffered serious damage. Taiwan Earthquake

Architects and engineers have said the damage and destruction from the earthquake was more the result of “human failure and deception” than natural occurrences.

With search and rescue operations now over, reconstruction work and the settlement of claims are now at the forefront.

Families of the dead and severely injured will receive a 2 million New Taiwan dollar ($60,400) allowance.

The government also said they will settle with the 109 households who lost their homes in the earthquake. Many are still living in hotels, but the city administrator has said the housing situation is only temporary.

Story by CCTV News.