• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 2:58pm
NewsHong Kong

More windows shatter at luxury Larvotto estate in Ap Lei Chau

Residents demand answers as problem blamed on 'glass cancer' continues at Ap Lei Chau towers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am

Windows are still falling from multimillion-dollar flats at a luxury development in Ap Lei Chau, more than 18 months after the first cases were reported.

Residents of Larvotto are demanding answers after two more windows disintegrated last week. In the latest incident yesterday, a window shattered and sprayed glass across a podium, swimming pool, driveway and public road.

Some residents have already moved out and others have threatened to do so three years after the development opened.

"It's become ridiculous," said Priscilla Cheung, who was sitting by the pool with her husband when the glass came down. "They're not doing anything. They're lucky nobody got hurt. There are so many children living here."

The problem has been blamed on so-called "glass cancer", the expansion of impurities in glass in hot weather.

Developer Cheerjoy said after the first cases in 2012 that it would replace any window found to be faulty, but ruled out a general inspection of the 715 flats, which have sold for between HK$7 million and HK$173 million.

A Cheerjoy spokeswoman said yesterday that safety was its top priority, and that an independent consultant was being called in to investigate.

Residents also say the management company is not doing enough to keep people informed.

"The police told me they were told by management it was the first time this has happened," said Thomas Jacxsens, 38, who reported the incident yesterday.

Nine or 10 panes are thought to have fallen while another 34 have cracked, according to residents, who have set up an informal network on Facebook to keep track of the problems.

In May last year, a driver barely escaped injury after a window crashed onto the car he had been in just moments earlier.

"They sweep it up quickly and keep it hush hush," said Sophie Furze, a mother of three. She said her helper and son had been directed to walk past the area where the glass fell not long after yesterday's incident. They refused to do so.

Police said there were no injuries or property damage from yesterday's incident.

The complex consists of nine towers. Flats have floor-to-ceiling windows, and each flat has up to 30 window panes.

Building manager Kerry Property Management Services could not be reached for comment.

Cheerjoy Development is a joint venture of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Kerry Properties and Paliburg Holdings. SHKP served as project manager for the development.

Kerry Properties is controlled by the Kerry Group, the controlling shareholder of the SCMP Group, which publishes the Sunday Morning Post.


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This article is now closed to comments

Residential glass towers with floor-to-ceiling windows are common, if not actually the norm, now in many countries. The problem is how local developers here choose to implement them.
Here they might only build the small windows you mention, where as in other places they large glass-pane windows that slide open, allowing you to have up to half the width open to air.
Also other countries install central air systems so that inside air can circulate properly and be regulated both for the building as a whole and individually by unit. Why not in HK?
As for noise reduction, unlike the cheap, single-pane glass installed here, poorly sealed to boot, other countries have double-pane windows. If only we had noise reduction measures here.
Energy preservation is also not a problem surely, as go to a cold country like Canada and these glass towers dominate city skylines - preserving heat in the winter and cool in the summer.
Hong Kong talks about being a world city and aspiring to best practices, yet the practices in the construction industry in particular are woefully behind other developed markets.
Why? My guess is developers owned by penny-pinching tycoons who assume that local people will accept whatever **** they build. Unfortunately, buyers trip over themselves to buy.
"Developer Cheerjoy said after the first cases in 2012 that it would replace any window found to be faulty, but ruled out a general inspection of the 715 flats, which have sold for between HK$7 million and HK$173 million."
Classic nonsense response. So the developer says it would fix faulty windows, but that it is not willing to examine the windows and determine which ones are faulty. So thanks for nothing!
Any why bother searching for faulty windows when all you need to do is wait for glass to fall on people's heads then look up. So smart! And saves money! No wonder these developers are rich.
Where is the Buildings Department is all this ? They are entrusted with ensuring the safety of buildings in Hong Kong but as long as there is an authorised person that signs off, the Buildings Department has someone to blame. The regulatory regime for building safety is a joke. Sad.
What happen is simple.
Tempered glass has been used.
Tempered glass must be heat soaked to insure nickel sulphide impurities is removed.If not then the nickel sulphide molecules expands and shatters the tempered glass.
What has happened is possibly:
1. The Specs did not call for heat soaking.
2. If heat soaking is specified, the contractor could have provided the same, however the glass manufacturer provided a quick fix, bad quality controlled heat soaking processed glass..hence they are now failing.
3. If heat soaking is proposed, the contractor or the construction team did not ask for this when the material was supplied?
The developer is being simply stupid. If the glass is failing, there is a chance that more can go pop! Some one may be killed....Then their insurance or company will be worth nothing.....
Get the test done, there are many test out there to check this and insure this. BD may need to get into the act....no one needs to die!!
Incredible! Class action lawsuit anyone?
Glass action?
"Developer Cheerjoy said after the first cases in 2012 that it would replace any window found to be faulty, but ruled out a general inspection of the 715 flats, which have sold for between HK$7 million and HK$173 million."
So they'll replace the window if it pops out from its sockets and crushes someone?
Is it because the developer probably don't live closeby so that they'll never be crushed?
Cheerjoy, sometimes fixing things only when problems happens doesn't work...
Great comment! Thanks! Penny-pinching tycoons, can't agree with you more.
Where was the glass ordered from? China?
If someone got injured because of the falling glasses, who is liable? I guess, still the flat owners, right?



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