Faulty apartment building in Yokohama to be demolished next year

yokohama-apartmentLast month, two years after the building was found to be tilting, the owners association of a condominium complex in Yokohama voted in favour of redevelopment.

In October 2015 it was announced that several of the foundation piles in one of the buildings were not sunk deep enough to reach bedrock and a 2 cm difference in height had developed between the buildings. Residents were assured by the developer that the building posed no immediate risk and still met earthquake-resistant standards. However, further inspections found that the building would not withstand an earthquake producing a seismic intensity of 5+ or higher. In August 2016, Yokohama City issued the developer with a correction order under the Building Standards Act.

The 12-storey condominium was built in 2007 and contains over 700 apartments.

Demolition of all four blocks in the complex, including the one that has already started to show signs of tilting, will start as early as April 2017. It will be replaced by new buildings which should be ready for residents to  move into from late 2020. The developer will bear the 40 billion Yen (390 million USD) cost of redevelopment.

Under the Condominium Unit Ownership Act, 80% of owners must vote in favour in order to redevelop a condominium. In this particular case, 99% of owners were in favour of rebuilding. Those that were not in favour will be forced to sell their apartments to the owners association, as outlined under the Act.

It is likely that the redevelopment committee will select a different developer to carry out the reconstruction, rather than the original developer. Apartment owners who plan to move into the new building will be provided with temporary housing in the meantime. In addition to shouldering the cost of redevelopment and temporary accommodation, Mitsui is providing each household with 3 million Yen in compensation.

The Nikkei Shimbun, September 19, 2016.
The Tokyo Shimbun, September 20, 2016.

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