Renovation work ‘illegal’

THE top two stories of a building in downtown Shanghai which collapsed on Sunday were being renovated illegally, according to a TV news report.

Shanghai TV said the offices where the work was being done were occupied by Shanghai Di’ang Industrial Development Co which had employed a firm from Zhejiang Province as subcontractors. The firm wasn’t named.

The building’s property management told the TV station that when they reviewed the renovation project about two weeks ago, the subcontractor failed to provide evidence of approvals from housing and construction authorities.

Sichuan Building, which stands at the corner of Yan’an Road E. and Sichuan Road M., was completed in 1943 and given historic protection status in 1993. The two stories which collapsed were added to the structure in the 1980s.

Unauthorized renovation of historic buildings or work which puts the safety of buildings at risk could result in fines based on the cost of replacing the buildings, according to the protection regulations. Illegal subcontractors face punishment from fines to suspension of their businesses. In serious cases, criminal charges could be filed.

Meanwhile, traffic which had been affected by the incident gradually returned to normal yesterday.

On December 10, three people died when a four-story building collapsed. A company was found to be carrying out several illegal renovations. Nine people have been caught by police but a key legal representative of the company is still being sought.

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