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Typhoon Mangkhut

Why Hong Kong typhoon damage to windows shows gap in standards or compliance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 6:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 6:01am

I could not agree more with architect Bernard Lim Wan-fung’s call for an investigation into the monumental glazing failure at the typhoon-battered One Harbourfront development (“Why some Hong Kong workers thought their offices had been hit by earthquake instead of Typhoon Mangkhut”, September 18).

Ordinarily, one would expect tempered or laminated glazing to have been specified in high-risk areas; however, the dagger-like shards of glazing visible after breakage indicated that neither of those types of glazing were installed, which represents an extremely dangerous public security situation, as Mr Lim correctly points out.

The question that should be asked is this: did the Buildings Department sign off on the installed wall assembly? If so, and if it was found to be compliant with the codes at that time, then perhaps it is high time to urgently revamp Hong Kong’s building codes and material specification with respect to coastal construction and public safety.

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However, if it is not found to have been compliant, then this of course raises the spectre of the often-questioned relationship between various government departments and Hong Kong’s largest property developers, as an occupancy permit was presumably issued. Like many of the unfortunate occupants of that building, I look forward to the results of a full investigation.

T. Schmidt, Taikoo Shing