'Shoddy repairs' on tilted building

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 July, 2008, 12:00am

A Sheung Wan building damaged when it tilted during piling on an adjacent site has been declared safe for evacuated residents to move back in - but many are unwilling to do so.

Members from six of 10 households who had to move out early this month when a crack suddenly appeared between the building and one next door returned yesterday for an inspection.

And many were not impressed by what they saw, some fearing they might never be able to sell their flats in the six-storey Lee Hing Building.

In Tsang Yi-ping's flat on the fourth floor, cracks and watermarks could still be seen despite repair work. She said her main concern was water leaks. 'The crack you can see outside is filled. The risk seems to be lower, but I still feel the building is tilted.' Staircases inside the building were also uneven, Ms Tsang said.

Representatives of the Buildings Department, Home Affairs Department and the construction-site contractor went with residents to check the building, where the 15cm crack opened up on July 8, with chunks of masonry also falling off the interior.

The main crack had been filled in by yesterday, but residents said there were still problems with cracks and water leaks inside the building. Fourth-floor resident Mrs Ng said she was afraid to move back. 'My hands keep shaking. I will not move back until all the problems are fixed.'

First-floor resident Mrs Chan, who rents a flat from Ms Tsang, said she also had concerns about safety. 'But I have no choice where we live as the price of flats nearby is high.'

Third-floor resident Yau Lap-cheung said his flat was not fit for him and his four family members. 'My flat is impossible to live in. I am not satisfied as the problem of water leakage can still be found.'

Mould could be seen on the wall of his bedroom, and there were cracks and watermarks on the wall in the living room and in two bedrooms.

The Buildings Department spokesman said cracks inside the flat would not affect the structural safety of the building. The department was concentrating on investigating the reasons why the building had tilted.

The department told the Central and Western District council on Thursday that the 30-year-old building at 98 Connaught Road West was 'structurally safe' after improvement works.

The developer of the construction site nearby, Yu Wing Construction and Investment Company, could not be reached for comment last night.