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Apartment blocks built on top of hole in Hefei

FIVE buildings in a high-end residential complex in Hefei City, Anhui Province, have been found built on a three-meter deep hole filled with garbage and sewage, causing panic among the residents.

The complex has 28 buildings and 1,600 families and was built in 2007. Apartment owners of the No.6 building found a three-meter deep hole under their building recently.

Four other buildings in the complex had the same problem.

Several workers have been draining water from the hole for five days. The drained water was mostly sewage as the building was near a septic tank, Voice of China reported.

The sewage could erode the base of the building over time and make it unstable, according to geotechnical engineering forum

The elevators in the affected buildings can't be used due to fears of electronic shocks as sewage has penetrated elevator shafts.

Experts said the backfill in the basement was not compacted. Thus, the loose material, including construction garbage, collapsed due to gravity after several years, which created the void.

In the place where backfill soil should be is a 1,000 square meter hole. No water prevention measures can be seen in the basement, according to the report.

Apartment owners are frightened that they and their families are in danger if they continue to live in the buildings.

Yet an investigative team organized by the city's construction quality supervision station said the building is "contractually safe" because the basements of these buildings were built on a concrete base.

Backfill is mainly natural material that is used to fill in holes left after construction or excavation efforts. It is important to compact the backfill because loose materials will collapse and create a void under the building.


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