Sumitomo Realty & Development are asking residents of an 11-year old condominium apartment building in Yokohama City to move out after it was recently discovered that the building is starting to lean as the foundation piles might not have been sunk deep enough to reach bedrock. Sumitomo said they cannot guarantee the safety of the building and are considering either reinforcing or demolishing and rebuilding the apartment block.
Park Square Mitsuzawa Koen is 2km west of Yokohama Station. The five residential buildings contain 260 apartments. Sumitomo was the developer and Kumagai Gumi were in charge of construction.
The residents management association noticed that a gap had formed between the hallways connecting two of the six buildings. Sumitomo insisted there was no problem while the construction company said it was just the result of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Nevertheless, the residents decided to enlist the help of a registered architect. After studying old topography maps of the area, it appeared as though the foundation piles might not have been deep enough to reach bedrock.
Under pressure from the residents, Sumitomo agreed to conduct a soil boring test in early 2014. The results showed that the piles for one of the buildings containing 60 apartments may not have been long enough and the building was partially subsiding and leaning. Sumitomo have requested that everyone in this building move out this month and are preparing free temporary accommodation for the displaced residents. They are also continuing inspections of the other buildings in the complex to determine if they are also at risk.
The Asahi Shimbun, June 7, 2014.
The Sankei Shimbun, June 7, 2014.
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