SHODDY WORKMANSHIP and illegal construction have been blamed for the collapse of a shopping mall in China last Friday. The disaster, at Donguan in Guangdong province, trapped 120 people and injured 40. As NCE went to press the death toll was 11.
Collapse of the single storey reinforced concrete framed structure occurred as workers were illegally adding two floors.
It is thought that no reinforcement was being used. More than 200 shoppers and construction workers were in the building when it collapsed at 2.30pm on Friday.
By Sunday night local police had detained the building's designer and the contractor. Initial investigations suggest the weight of extra floors caused the seven year old building to subside.
Victims families have condemned emergency services as barbaric for using heavy plant to remove rubble only hours after the collapse, while up to 100 people were still trapped.
The disaster has highlighted the proliferation of unplanned buildings - labelled 'bean curd construction' - being built in China's current economic boom.
'We should learn a lesson in blood from the collapse in Donguan, ' city official Li Jinwei said. 'We cannot afford to be lenient at any time towards illegal buildings. We must hit hard and as severely as the law requires.'
Donguan municipal government now plans to pull down all similar buildings in the city.