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Shanghai casts stone at glass houses over safety (2)

(China Daily)

09:53, October 24, 2011

Penalties from 10,000 yuan ($1,566) to 100,000 yuan are included in the draft to deter owners from skipping inspections.

Several glass curtain walls in high-rises have burst without warning since this summer, leading to growing concerns about the cause of such incidents.

In Hangzhou, Zhejiang, a 19-year-old girl was hit by falling shards of glass from an exploding window as she walked down the street on July 8, and part of one of her legs had to be amputated.

In Zhejiang province's Yiwu, a 20-meter-high glass dome in a garment market came crashing down on Aug 20, injuring several children.

Though Shanghai has been lucky in terms of having no serious injuries, 30 panes of glass rained down upon a residential area in its CBD two days after typhoon Muifa swerved past in August.

Shanghai has the highest number of glass-clad building in China - at least 4,000. More than 900 of the buildings are older than 15 years.

"At least 1,134 of them have potential safety problems", said Tu Haiming, a political adviser of Shanghai.

Tu is also directing a comparison of high-rise and underground transportation safety in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao.

According to Tu, in Hong Kong and Macao, the probability of a cracking glass incident involving a high-rise building is one in 10,000. "In Shanghai, this figure is as high as one to two in a thousand," he said.

More than 100 panes of glass have fallen from a famous high-rise in Pudong's Lujiazui area since it was built three years ago, said Tu, referring to the 51-story One Lujiazui that sits next to the Jinmao Tower.

"Glass can explode due to a few major reasons - when it is hit by an external force or stressed by (the difference between) high external temperatures and an air-conditioned interior," he said.

The local government is seeking public comment on the draft measure before it is formally introduced.

He Na contributed to this story.

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