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Safety, Permit Issues Shadow ‘Sky City’

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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Just days after ground was broken for the world’s tallest skyscraper in China, the project has reportedly stumbled over permit and safety concerns.

Authorities say they have suspended construction of the 2,749-foot-tall prefabricated Sky City for lack of government approvals and safety issues, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Sky City
Broad Sustainable Building Corp.

Broad Sustainable Building Corp. has denied any governmental approval snag in its plans to erect the world's tallest structure, Sky City, in Hunan Province, China.

The developer—Broad Sustainable Building Corp.—was said to have broken ground July 20 on the record-setting project in Changsha City in Hunan Province, China.

Seven days later, Xinhua reported the construction holdup.

The company has denied any alleged missing approvals and dismissed safety criticisms.

Review Reported

Xinhua reported that a review of construction plans for Sky City and its firefighting facilities, as well as an application for official licenses, is underway as required. The report cites the Binshui New City management committee in Wancheng District of Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.

The committee said “no substantial construction” would begin before the project obtains legal licenses.

Construction experts are carrying out a series of examinations on the project, including its earthquake resistance, the news agency reported.

Company: Approvals Obtained

However, in another report, also posted July 27 to the Xinhua website, a Broad Group spokesperson said that the company had obtained all required permits and that the project was not called off.

Additionally the president of Broad Group posted a lengthy and florid response July 31 to project critics. (Excerpts of Broad Group’s official statement are not permitted to be published.)

In 2012, the company announced plans to construct the skyscraper in 90 days, which was later extended to seven months. Now, reports are estimating 10 months.

Sky City is set to have 202 stories, include residential housing for about 32,000 people, hotels, educational spaces, shops, restaurants and offices.

prefab factory
Broad Sustainable Building Corp.

Broad Sustainable Building says 95 percent of Sky City will be prefabricated.

The steel structure will cost $1.46 billion, is designed for energy efficiency, and “will not collapse even in a 9 magnitude earthquake,” according to Broad Group.

Additional project details are available here.

Sky City would shatter the record for world’s tallest structure, now held by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, by 30 feet.

Sky City Critics: 'It's a Lie'

Since word of the record-breaking project attracted attention last year, industry experts have criticized the safety of the pre-fab construction techniques employed by Broad and the planned pace of construction.

“The technique that Broad Group uses has no precedent in the world, and the cost they promised is very low,” Yin Zhi, head of Beijing Tsinghua Urban Design Institute told Xinhua.

“So either they have some record-breaking techniques or it’s a lie. They are gambling. If they win, they will change the history of world architecture, but that’s one chance in a million.

“They say they are protecting the intellectual property of their techniques, so they haven’t shared their building process with companies in the industry,” Zhi added.

Broad Sustainable Building says it has specialized in pre-fab skyscrapers since 2009.

In 2010, the company built a 15-story hotel in 48 hours. In 2011, it erected a six-story dormitory in five days. And last year, the company built a 30-story hotel in 15 days—a project captured in a time-lapse video.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Building codes; Building design; Commercial Construction; Design; Good Technical Practice; Government; Green building; Health and safety; Prefabrication

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