Gwangju suspends all projects by HDC after building collapse

Jan 13, 2022, 10:47 am

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The exterior wall of an apartment under construction at a site in the southwestern city of Gwangju is seen collapsed on Jan. 11, 2022./ Photographed by Lee Myung-nam

AsiaToday reporters Lee Myung-nam & Kim Hyun-goo 

The Gwangju Metropolitan Government has ordered a halt on all construction ongoing by HDC Hyundai Development Company in the city, following the partial collapse of an apartment building Tuesday.

The authorities in the southwestern city made the decision during an emergency meeting held on Wednesday. The search continued for six workers missing in Tuesday’s collapse, and safety inspections took place at major construction sites in the region. 

“It is regrettable that a similar disaster happened just 217 days later and we apologize to the citizens,” said Park Nam-eon, a senior official of the municipal disaster and safety countermeasures headquarters. “We will cooperate with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation, along with the National Police Agency to determine the cause of the collapse and pursue administrative and legal actions against whoever is responsible,” he added. 

Search operations for the missing workers resumed around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday. However, the six missing workers, who were presumed to be working on the 27th to 32nd floors, remain missing. 

Some raised possibility that unreasonable work order from HDC Hyundai Development Company, the main contractor of the apartment project, may have led to the collapse. They claim that the company ordered the construction period to be shortened and pressed the construction to be carried out under unfavorable conditions.

Usually, concrete does not dry well when an apartment is constructed during winter due to weather conditions, and one layer of concrete is usually poured every 10 days. However, it was found that ready-mixed concrete was poured one floor every four to five days. 

As the construction work was forced to shorten, the recuperation work to harden it strongly with a hot air fan was not done properly. As the concrete work on the upper floor was carried out, the 16 floors could not withstand the load and collapsed at once. 

A site official said, “Even though the concrete construction had to be stopped due to cold weather, we had no choice but to forcefully carry out the construction because of the order to reduce the duration of the project.”

In response, HDC released a press release denying reports that the company rushed the construction, claiming that it was actually ahead of schedule. 

#Gwangju #HDC #suspension #collapse 
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