News: a pair of 15-storey tower blocks in Shanghai have subsided so much that they now appear to be holding each other up – yet officials have deemed them "safe to live in" (+ slideshow).
The apartment buildings were constructed just two years ago to house people relocated to make way for the new Shanghai Disney Resort, but photographs taken this week suggest that the neighbouring structures have already shifted so much that they are now bumping together.
According to Shanghai Daily, an official inspection carried out earlier this week on the buildings in the Pudong New Area of Chuansha Town found that the subsidence was within accepted limits and regarded the structures "safe to live in".
The report by the Pudong New Area Construction and Transport Commission said the No 17 building had moved by 87.65 millimetres, less that the permitted limit of 200 millimetres, causing it to lean towards it neighbour.
The two buildings share the same foundations. The report conceded that they had been built too close together.
Various news outlets published complaints from residents earlier this week, alleging the 120 homes within the buildings had been affected by crumbling concrete and visible cracks in the walls.
The inspection reportedly confirmed that there had been cracks as the result of the subsidence, but that the main structures had not been seriously damaged. The expansion of building materials was caused by a change in temperature, it claimed.
Shanghai Gas Co is understood to have inspected the gas supply to the two towers and declared it safe.
Some residents of the so-called "model Disney relocation homes" have expressed fears about continuing to live in the building despite the official safety report, and have demanded action from the community residential committee.
Developer Xinyuan Real Estate has insisted that there is no reason to be concerned about safety.
Speaking to Shanghai Daily earlier this week, company engineering head Chen Tong said: "Only some decorative parts on the eaves were broken and residents can live in the blocks without any worries at all."
After construction was complete, the company had sold the buildings to Chuansha Town government. They accommodate some of the 2,300 households relocated as part of the Disney development.
Photography is courtesy of Imaginechina.