Defective balconies won't collapse - yet

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 December, 1998, 12:00am

Hundreds of balconies and canopies need checking to see what work is required to stop them collapsing, an official said yesterday.

But building officials noted that the 405 which failed to meet the highest standards would not collapse in the 'immediate future'.

Twenty-eight suspect canopies and balconies have so far been demolished.

A taskforce from the Buildings Department spent the past year checking 981 balconies and canopies following a series of collapses which left several people dead and injured.

The most recent collapse was in Marble Road, North Point, on July 19 last year, when five people were hurt.

Director of Buildings Choi Yu-leuk assured residents that the Marble Road building and 'all those inspected by us are safe with respect to the current state of knowledge in this area worldwide'.

He said owners were responsible for structural safety. If they failed to comply, the structures would be made safe and the owners billed.

Dr Choi said his department was close to perfecting a detection system which would be able to pinpoint the likely time a canopy or balcony might collapse.

'It is a very interesting development. We know under what circumstances the structure will fail. But the most difficult thing to explain is why it happens so suddenly,' he said.

'We are happy that a theory we have developed tells us when it will fall.

'But it has not been perfected to the degree of confidence that I am happy to announce it publicly yet.

'It has been proved to work in certain situations, but I want to make sure it works in all known situations before going public.'