China's shaking skyscraper 'safe to use' after minor repairs

Published Fri, Jul 16, 2021 · 05:50 AM


A SHAKING skyscraper in southern China which sent crowds fleeing in panic earlier this year was rocked by wind currents, experts concluded on Thursday.

The 300-metre SEG Plaza tower in the city of Shenzhen near Hong Kong began to wobble suddenly on May 18 - prompting the evacuation of hundreds of occupants and causing pedestrians to run for safety.

Officials at the time ruled out an earthquake as the cause of the wobble in the tech hub's Futian district, and sealed it off to probe the cause.

But a team of engineering experts behind the government probe said they had concluded it was caused by wind-related "vortex-induced vibration", as well as the building's ageing mast.

"The main structure of the SEG Plaza tower is safe under . . . normal use conditions, and can continue to be used," they said in a statement published by the local district government Thursday.

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"We believe that removing the mast can solve the issue of perceptible vibrations in the building."

Demolition and damage repairs will be carried out "in the near future", the report added.

Large vibrations due to wind or earthquakes "can cause fatigue cracks and even collapse" in high-rise buildings, said an April study in the engineering journal Shock and Vibration.

Experts observed that SEG Plaza - built in 2000 - shook 21 times between May 18 and 20, when carrying out further tests to determine the extent and cause of the shaking.

A Futian district official was quoted as saying authorities would continue to provide temporary commercial premises for traders until the building reopens.

Building collapses or accidents are not uncommon in China, often linked to lax construction standards or corruption. AFP

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