Dodgy towers have to come down, says engineer

The former president of the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers, Greg Wong, on Thursday described a construction blunder involving two residential towers in Tai Wai as a “rare incident”, agreeing that the best course of action is for the blocks to be demolished.

Property developer New World Development announced earlier in the day that the two buildings at ‘The Pavilia Farm’, which are half-built, have failed concrete strength tests and must be knocked down and constructed again.

Wong said a lax monitoring mechanism or miscommunication between the contractor and workers might have led to the problem.

He said New World Development had made the right decision to demolish the towers.

“If they did not rectify the situation, they will not get the occupation permit,” he said.

“The building, from my understanding from the sales brochure, is quite tall. It’s 60 or 65 storeys high… and they are talking about the bottom part of the wall. So when the wall has to support 60 storeys above it, and the lower part of the concrete does not meet the design requirement, it will cause danger to the 60 floors above,” he explained.

The property developer said the project’s completion date will have to be pushed back by around nine months, as it apologised to almost 850 buyers affected by the delay.

Solicitor Raymond Tse said the baseline compensation to be given by the developer should be the price of the flat plus accrued interest.

He also said the developer would probably offer incentives to buyers to continue with their deals, so it doesn’t have to re-sell the flats.

“The developer may not want most of the buyers to cancel the deals, and then to rebuild the buildings and re-sell the flats again,” he said.

“If the developer wishes to hang on to the existing contracts, they might have to give some extra compensation.”