(LEAD) Gov’t to launch safety checks on flat-plate apartments in private sector

South Korea will conduct safety inspections on nearly 300 flat-plate structure apartment complexes in the private sector nationwide through September as follow-up measures to recent revelations of shoddy residences that lack reinforcing bars, or rebars, in their underground parking lots, the land ministry said Thursday.

The all-out inspections will cover both 188 flat-plate apartment complexes built after 2017 and 105 under-construction flat-plate apartments to see if a sufficient share of rebars have been used in the buildings, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

The government will begin the inspections next week and announce the results after September, the ministry said, adding it may conduct the safety checks on flat-plate, private-sector apartments built before 2017, if necessary.

Construction companies that are found to have not used enough rebars in building flat-plate, private-sector apartments will be ordered to finish remedial work by the end of this year, said the ministry.

The government said it will take strict legal action against any law violations in terms of the planning, construction and supervision of the poorly-built apartments.

The government-led scrutiny came after the recent collapse of an ongoing apartment construction site built under contract with the state-run housing developer Korea Land & Housing Corp. (LH) in April.

Consequently, the LH has carried out safety checks on its 91 flat-plate public apartment complexes and 15 of them were found to have an insufficient share of rebars in their columns.

The ministry said remedial work on the 15 poorly-built LH residence buildings built after 2017 will be completed by next month.

Earlier, the South Korean government and the ruling People Power Party agreed on plans to provide prospective residents of the poorly-constructed apartments the right to cancel their contracts, as well as receive financial compensation.

The flat-plate concrete floor system does not use beams between columns, and it is usually suited for lightly loaded floors with short spans, typically for residential and hotel buildings. To ensure that the columns can withstand the load, sufficient rebars must be installed.

Based on the overall inspection results, the government said it will come up with comprehensive safety measures on flat-plate structure apartments and announce measures to eradicate all kinds of malpractices or corrupt acts over the construction process in October.

Malpractices include collusion in the purchases of construction parts, unfair selection of design and irregularities in contracts.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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