Compensation awarded to occupants of building with insufficient earthquake resistance

The Yokohama District Court has ordered that an architect office and building inspection company pay compensation of 1.4082 billion Yen (17.6 million USD) to owners of the 37 apartments in St. Regis Tsurumi after it was established that the building has insufficient earthquake resistance.

The building was inspected by Nippon ERI, who noticed that the building’s strength did not meet standards and requested that the architect office correct the mistake. The mistake was corrected on paperwork in handwriting and ERI failed to notice the forged revision.

The problem came to light in 2006, and it has taken six years to reach a settlement. A building inspection in 2006 found the earthquake resistance of the structure to be just 64% of the standard set by the Building Standards Act. The apartment building has still not been repaired to bring it up to code, so residents are living in constant fear. One resident said he has not been able to sell or move out of the apartment and prays for safety each day. He was very worried when the Tohoku earthquake occurred, and cannot relax in his own home.

ERI are considering appealing the decision.

St. Regis Tsurumi was developed by Huser Corporation (now bankrupt) and completed in 2003. It is located in Onocho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun, February 1, 2012.

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