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December 27, 2012

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Alert system to warn of subsidence

SHANGHAI is planning to set up a ground subsidence alert standard to keep a closer eye on the problem and take preventative measures, city lawmakers were told yesterday.

The standard, as part of an alert system, is expected to be applied to the subsidence caused by activities such as groundwater extraction and construction projects, urban planners said.

The subsidence evaluation reports will open to the public, according to officials who presented a draft to lawmakers on ground subsidence prevention.

The draft says construction companies should include the cost of subsidence detection, monitoring and prevention in their budgets.

When digging pits for foundations, if the depth surpasses 15 meters, the builders should contact a qualified, third-party institute to evaluate the subsidence before construction and file reports to the planning authorities. For depths between 7 meters to 15 meters, builders can rely on standard subsidence alert reports.

Jiang Shujie, deputy director with Shanghai Construction and Transport Commission, said yesterday the subsidence problem "is a big one, concerning many aspects like geology and construction work as well."

Jiang said that while a single construction project is unlikely to cause large effects by itself, "we do not deny that construction work may lead to small displacements and sinkage on nearby roads and structures."

Residents expressed concerns after long cracks appeared in the busy Lujiazui area in the Pudong New Area earlier this year. Tunnelling work around the city to build cross-river tunnels and subways also added to concerns.

"We are sorry we could not avoid all the problems caused by construction citywide," said Jiang. "Fixing problems is also our goal."


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