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Water Seepage, Hollow Bricks Found in Government Subsidized Houses

08-02 15:23 Caijing
Home owners in a subsidized project found water was seeping into the walls after torrential rains.Hollow bricks are used in non-load-bearing walls.

Along with questions over the city's fragile infrastructure, the deadly rain which hit Beijing in late July has also raised safety concerns about the country's subsidized houses, a public-housing project for low-income families.

According to Chinese media, some house owners in Tongxin Homes in Fangshan district, one of such projects developed by Beijing Capital Development Co., Ltd., found water was seeping into the walls of their houses after torrential rains.

Other quality problems include the use of hollow bricks in non-load-bearing walls, and missing air-discharging pipes in some kitchens.

In an email responding to Caijing's inquiries, capital Development said the company will "rectify" the problems "seriously" and "in a responsible manner", as local authorities requested.

A panel formed by local housing and construction council has invested into the issue. While urging related parties to "rectify" the problems, it said it may punish the responsible party.

The developer in the email also noted that the project was "policy supporting". Compared with commercial houses, public houses, subsidized by governments, are subject to restrictions on floor spaces, prices or rents. Because of such limits especially in prices, developers usually earn much less from such projects than commercial projects and thus reluctant to take over the "hot potato".

This is not the first for a public housing project to go wrong. In May 2010, reports about "crisp" walls had flooded Chinese media and triggered wide angers.

The project has been widely criticized also because of its involvement in corruption. A large part of affordable houses are bought by civil servants and workers in state-owned companies, a group of people with relatively higher wages and enjoying better welfare and mostly are unqualified to buy the houses.

The National Audit Office said last month that it found 21,000 ineligible families living in affordable housing in 42 cities and counties last year, while 14,600 designated affordable housing units were empty for over half a year in 32 cities and counties.

China aims to start building 7 million public homes in 2012 and to finish 5 million in the year.

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