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May 21, 2011

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'Glass bombs' rules required

MANY high-rise developers fail to perform safety checks on their windows because they are not legally required to, it is claimed.

Now political advisers are calling on the city government to impose mandatory examinations.

Shanghai has between 4,000 and 5,000 buildings with glass-clad walls. There have been recent incidents of windows falling from structures, creating fears among residents of "glass bombs."

Earlier this week, dozens of cars were damaged after pieces of glass fell from a broken window on the 46th floor of the One Lujiazui office tower in the Pudong New Area.

And on the same day, glass fell from 12th floor in a tower on Yan'an Road W. A similar case occurred in another building on the same road.

The first building with glass-clad walls appeared in Shanghai in the 1980s, and the style soon became popular for its modern, airy look.

City regulations for glass exteriors were not introduced until the late 1990s - by which time almost 1,000 buildings with glass-clad walls had already been erected, according to Lu Jinlong of the Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences.

These old buildings could have potential safety problems, including aging adhesive and loose window frames, which threaten the safety of passers-by, Lu said.

Zhou Heling, a political adviser, echoed Lu's comments and has asked the city government to introduce laws to make it mandatory to test the safety of glass-clad walls.

Industry standards require developers to examine windows every five years, but many ignore it because it is not compulsory.


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