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September 26, 2009

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Report gives all-clear to buildings at topple site

TWO government-appointed construction institutions yesterday certified the safety of the 10 remaining buildings in the Minhang District complex where an unfinished 13-story apartment house toppled over on June 27.

The long-awaited report also confirmed that the accident in Shanghai's Lotus Riverside Complex, which killed a worker, caused an adjacent building to move a few centimeters horizontally.

The report, by the Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences and Shanghai Geotechnical Investigation Institute Co, left many owners anxious, however.

Some said they still have questions about construction quality, and others insisted on getting their investment back.

Among those who thought the conclusions were unclear was Yu Wenyi, who had planned to exchange his apartment in the toppled Building 7 for an unsold one in Building 6.

The new flat would be in the building that shifted, but Yu likes its location and price.

The report, however, found that even though Building 6 had been stabilized, the movement that occurred when No. 7 toppled due to improper excavation work could have damaged the underground support piers of No. 6, and developers were advised to strengthen the foundation.

The district government said it will arrange for experts to talk to owners who are still uncertain about the inspection results after the National Day holiday.

Many buyers don't want to wait that long.

"It may be my worst holiday ever," Yu said. "The report did not say it is OK for me to move in.

The report concluded that the other buildings were not affected by the collapse and met safety requirements.

Even so, some owners of apartments in the unaffected buildings said yesterday they would withdraw from their contacts. "I just want to get my money back and leave," said a buyer surnamed Tao.


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