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No glass wall allowed in Shanghai's new buildings

GLASS curtain walls will be banned from the second floor and above in all new residential buildings, hospitals, schools, kindergartens and nursing homes starting tomorrow, the municipal officials said today.

The ban is aimed at eliminating the hazards of falling glasses when some curtain walls burst without warning in summer heat. The new rule that comes into effect tomorrow holds property owners responsible for the safety of their curtain walls.

Many accidents of falling glasses from high-rise buildings made the headlines in Shanghai in recent years, prompting the city government to draw a rule, Shen Xiaosu, deputy director of the city's construction and transport commission, told a press conference today.

An alert system will be created before June to collect information from all local buildings with curtain walls, keep a record of curtain wall inspection and maintenance, and alert property owners to repair their curtain walls.

Construction companies should pay for the inspection of curtain walls on new buildings while property owners must pay for the inspection of their old buildings, according to the rule.

Curtain walls have a one-thousandth chance of bursting in hot summer. It has become a threat in Shanghai where a large number of buildings are covered by curtain walls, said Shen.

Four sheets of curtain wall glass fell off a skyscraper in the city in August, injuring one person. In neighboring Hangzhou, a 19-year-old woman had to have an amputation after her leg was nearly severed by a falling glass sheet from a commercial building in July.


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