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February 24, 2012

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'Alarming' shortage of construction inspectors

SHANGHAI is suffering an alarming shortage of government professionals to supervise construction project quality and site safety, and the local government has launched a plan to more than double the size of the force.

Currently, there are only 946 government inspectors in charge of supervising construction safety citywide, which means each has an average of nearly six construction projects to oversee, the Shanghai construction commission said yesterday. Their work includes surprise checks to spot safety loopholes and infractions of quality standards in the projects.

The construction watchdog said the deficiency in hands has reached an alarming level. The recruitment program to double the number of inspectors is still under discussion and its details have not been disclosed, including the projected cost.

In addition to increasing the staff, the authority plans much more use of high-tech methods to help improve construction site safety this year. All construction sites will be required to adopt mandatory work-ID card scanning, where workers entering a site must have their work ID cards scanned and recorded. Those who are illegally hired or fail to have certificates in professional skills will be banned entry by the scanning system, to be connected to the government watchdog information database.

Mistakes by unlicensed welders was a main cause of the November 15, 2010, high-rise inferno on Jiaozhou Road, which killed 58 people.


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