Letters to the Editor, May 29, 2013

'Top hat' fate for Wan Chai market. Photo: Edward Wong

I find it hard to understand how Peter Lok, in his letter ("Nomination process not negotiable", May 20) could reach the conclusion that my article ("The key step", May 8) was, in his words: "meant to persuade the government to get rid of the nomination of candidates in the election of the chief executive".

Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 10:22am

State Council orders probe into pricey buildings

The Jinan city government building. Photos: SCMP

According to its "urgent notification", the State Council ordered thorough checks to see whether central or local government agencies had used public funds to build extravagant offices, halls or guest houses.

19 May 2013 - 6:30am

Put work safety before profits

Rescuers worked at the site of a building that collapsed last week in Bangladesh. Photo: AP

Ever since a garment factory fire in November that killed nearly 120 people, pressure has mounted on Western companies to ensure the safety of Bangladeshi factories that make the goods they sell. A couple of firms endorsed a plan for Western retailers to finance structural and fire safety improvements - but only if rivals came on board.

2 May 2013 - 10:05am

Officials say schools and hospitals rebuilt after 2008 saved lives

A child hands out water to People's Armed Police helping survivors of Saturdays' earthquake in Yaan, Sichuan province. Photo: AFP

Qiu Jian, chief housing planner with the Sichuan government, said a preliminary survey by more than 400 inspectors had found that that no buildings rebuilt after the 2008 earthquake had "completely collapsed".

26 Apr 2013 - 5:05am

Hong Kong-funded schools survive Sichuan earthquake

Longxing Central School escaped the latest earthquake relatively unscathed, unlike many neighbouring buildings. Photo: Simon Song

Hong Kong-funded buildings at two schools in Sichuan hit by Saturday's magnitude-7 earthquake are among the few structures that did not sustain major damage. Many local homes were either seriously damaged or collapsed.

26 Apr 2013 - 5:05am 1 comment

Hong Kong concrete test result shocks Jiayu Garden flat owners

Jiayu Garden flat owners protest about the safety of their homes

Flat owners of Shenzhen's Jiayu Garden, who suspect that the developer had used cheap sea sand in the concrete, are shocked to learn that a sample from their block barely passed Hong Kong's standard for chloride ions.

11 Apr 2013 - 5:44am 1 comment

Hong Kong needs review of historic building heritage policy

The city's lack of space and strong appetite for development means old buildings are constantly under the threat of demolition. Photo: David Wong

What is more sad than for a great city to lose its heritage bit by bit? Historic buildings and monuments, once demolished, are gone forever. That is why world cities steeped in history and culture have long embraced heritage conservation. A city that turns its back on its past loses its soul and character.

1 Apr 2013 - 3:00am 3 comments

Hong Kong buildings still unsafe after Fa Yuen fire

Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok. Photo: May Tse

The tragic blaze sparked by a row of hawker stalls at the doorstep of a Mong Kok building in late 2011 is a hard-earned lesson for everyone. Not only did it claim nine innocent lives, it highlighted the risks of ill-managed roadside stalls and thousands of old blocks with similar problems - cubicle flats, blocked fire escapes, poor building management. Sixteen months later, an inquest on the fatal accident reminds us that many buildings are still far from being safe. 

28 Mar 2013 - 7:10am

High stakes involved in Shenzhen's concrete scandal

Recent reports of some property developers using unsuitable materials for construction in Shenzhen have rung the alarm bells over building and public safety.

Over the past two decades, Shenzhen has awed many with its construction prowess, building upwards and sideways at jaw-dropping speed and scale. But recently, reports of some property developers using unsuitable materials for construction have rung the alarm bells over building and public safety. Urgent investigation is needed.

20 Mar 2013 - 3:11am

Shenzhen construction on hold after alert over cheap sand in concrete

An artist's impression of the Pingan Financial Centre.

More projects are likely to be affected as the Shenzhen government ordered a citywide inspection into the practice, which they said was common throughout the Pearl River Delta. Untreated sea sand contains high levels of salt and chloride that could corrode steel reinforcements, causing buildings to collapse.

16 Mar 2013 - 4:57am 1 comment

Church developers remain unbowed by government rules

An artist's impression of the Hopewell Centre II in Wan Chai, which is expected to be completed by 2018.

In their ruthless pursuit of property development, some of our churches rival our developers. This is done with minimal consultation with neighbours and with the full connivance of government departments. It's all part of the government's outsourcing of social welfare services to religious bodies.

4 Mar 2013 - 3:27am 4 comments

Hong Kong's lifts fail to make grade in list of world's fastest

Schindler Lifts technical director Wong Ming-wan checks the time it takes for a lift at the ICC to travel from the third floor to the 48th floor - 35 seconds. Photo: Edward Wong

Hong Kong is home to the most skyscrapers in the world, more than double the number in New York. But surprisingly, it fails to feature in a list of the globe's top five fastest lifts.

17 Feb 2013 - 3:07pm 4 comments

China winning the construction race

Cranes operate on the construction site of a residential building complex. Photo: EPA

The race to be No 1 has shifted from the economy to architecture. Last January, a Chinese architectural firm erected a 30-storey hotel in Hunan in a mere 15 days, thanks to the lack of red tape and a 24-hour work cycle.

29 Nov 2012 - 2:32am

Sun Hung Kai to replace Arch windows after breakages

The Arch, where nearly 60 glass panels have shattered or fallen out since 2008 and more than 1,000 will be replaced. Photo: Felix Wong

Developer Sun Hung Kai Properties will spend tens of millions of dollars replacing tempered-glass windows in more than 1,000 flats at its luxury estate The Arch. Nearly 60 glass panels have shattered or fallen out there since 2008.

24 Oct 2012 - 7:07am

First steps along a long road

Businesses in Hong Kong are increasingly realising that going green doesn't have to cost the earth.

From basic waste reduction to long-term strategies on reducing carbon footprints, local companies are addressing their environmental impact at what green groups say is a more meaningful level.

18 Jun 2012 - 12:00am