Excavators dismantle a toppled 13-story building in 2009 at the Lotus Riverside apartment complex in Shanghai’s Minhang district. Bad project management, poorly trained workers, and loose monitoring affect the quality of constructionPhotograph by Shanghai Daily/Imaginechina

 

Growth. Yah the chinese central bank is handing out loans to construct big buildings. Little is cared about quality. It seems like a normal economy trouncing America but it isn’t. Instead there is little concern for the quality of the buildings and many simply fall over after a year or two. Residential buildings develop huge cracks after three or four years. All part of a show that a nation that is communist has a real booming economy when all they have is a devalued currency raping America and a lot of rich American businessmen getting richer by selling out their country and profiting from manufacture in China.

Excavators dismantle a toppled 13-story building in 2009 at the Lotus Riverside apartment complex in Shanghai’s Minhang district. Bad project management, poorly trained workers, and loose monitoring affect the quality of construction

 

On a Saturday morning in September, prospective homebuyers thronged the sales office for Fun City, a community of high-rises under construction on Beijing’s outskirts. Whether the buildings will still be standing a half-century from now is anybody’s guess. In July, massive flooding raised questions about the fitness of this low-lying stretch of land for dense development. Local media reported that properties adjacent to Fun City experienced water-logged basements, while parts of the nearby G-4 superhighway were submerged. At least 77 people died—many of them drowned in their cars—in part because of inadequate or clogged drainage systems.

Nearly every month brings news of an infrastructure failure, dramatic or mundane. In August a new $300 million eight-lane suspension bridge in Harbin collapsed, sending four trucks tumbling and leaving three dead. In 2009 a nearly completed building in Shanghai toppled like a domino because its foundation was inadequate. The U.K.’s Telegraph reported that within months of opening last year, the $210 million Guangzhou Opera House began to shed its glass window panels and developed large cracks in its ceiling. Last year writer Evan Osnos chronicled on his New Yorker blog the premature decline of his courtyard house: “When the rainy season hit Beijing, our house began to show its age. About four years old, to be precise.”

All of this is at odds with the image overseas of China winning the “infrastructure race,” as the headline of an Aug. 24 online story from Foreign Policy put it. China’s structural woes stem in part from the government’s focus on quantity of growth over quality. The idea is to employ as many workers as possible. Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer at China Railway Tunnel Group, says that rather than use advanced technology to carve out railroad tunnels, the group often prefers to hire millions of pairs of hands “to solve the national employment problem.”

Officials admit there are challenges. At a forum on green building in 2010, Deputy Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing said, “Every year, new buildings in China total up to 2 billion square meters and use up to 40 percent of the world’s cement and steel, but our buildings can only stand 25 to 30 years on average.” U.S. commercial buildings are expected to stand for 70 to 75 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.