Friday, October 12, 2012

How did that happen??

A building near my apartment bears this strange scar near its top.

This is 50ft or so up. And each segment of this cladding is about 3ft x 2ft, and made of some sort of metal. It's going to take a really hefty clout to crumple it this badly.

I think this must have happened in situ. A crane would seem to be the only likely culprit - although I'm not aware of any tall cranes operating in this vicinity, and I have lived here or hereabouts for the whole of my 10 years in Beijing.

Safety in crane operation does not seem to be very impressive in China. Only a few months ago, I saw two super-tall cranes over in Sanlitun smack their booms into each other. Luckily, no serious damage appeared to result; but it was quite a heavy collision. You would think, wouldn't you, that you wouldn't normally place two such large cranes in such proximity that they could hit each other? And if occasionally this is necessary, you'd think that there would be procedures for ensuring that they will not both be rotating at the same time. And if they are rotating at the same time, you'd think they'd at least try to make sure they rotated in the same direction. And heck, if they must contra-rotate, you'd think their operators would keep an eye out to make sure that they weren't going to come into contact with each other. But where would be the fun in that?? Oh, no: this is China. If it is possible to come up with a really stupidly unsafe way of doing something, you can rely on the Chinese worker to find it.


JES said...

I wonder if it might have been damaged on the ground somehow? Whereupon the workers might have shrugged, decided "Well, technically it still fits" (together with a little of the old "...and if we have to, we'll replace it later"), and just absolutely slathered the back of the thing with Krazy-Glue or, what's that stuff?, Mastic?

The project preoccupying me at work is built on software which no one knows much of anything about... no one, that is, except the employees of the software's developer. (And maybe an ambitious customer here and there.) When we (my employer's Web developers) were informed of the decision to purchase this software, as opposed to something more industry-standard (albeit more expensive, no doubt), we were explicitly told: "If we have to, we can replace it in two years." Easy to build up a hard shell of cynicism in such cases!

Froog said...

Yes, I suppose it is possible it was damaged before installation. That would be very This is China! Still a little difficult to imagine what could have deformed it so dramatically, though, with such a sharp dent.

It's actually right opposite my office window, and looking at it now - from a slightly different angle than usual - it seems to have changed somehow. I expect it's just the deeper shadows of early morning light, but I can't help wondering if the cold weather is kinking it more... or if it is being deformed by the progressive collapse of the wall it is attached to.

Don Tai said...

Industrial safety in China = Mei banfa

Safety in general in China = Mei Banfa

Here in Toronto I have seen Chinese people do some really unsafe things when repairing their houses, so unsafe that I threaten to call the police unless they immediately stop. They are usually not very thankful of my concern.

The damage looks like a piece of rectangular metal hit the side. It would be too difficult to try to securely mount the siding with the dent, and it would be easier to mount it onto the top floor if they were lazy. At least on the top floor it would be easier to replace. It looks like there is significant risk of this siding breaking loose during a brisk windstorm.

It could also be careless window washers, when strong wind starts swinging their platform in the air and it crashes around on the side of the building.

Froog said...

It is at the top of the building - actually above the main roof, on the small 'tower' housing the head of the stairwell. So, no windows - and no window-washers - up this high.

Despite some edges being well separated from the wall, it does look remarkably secure (what kind of adhesive were they using? mooncake filling??). And it's on the SE corner, so well protected from the prevailing NW winds. Even so, I try not to walk too near to it!