Police blame construction rule violations for Gwangju building collapse
GWANGJU, March 28 (Yonhap) -- Non-compliance with construction rules and faulty concrete are blamed for the fatal collapse of a building under construction in the southwestern city of Gwangju early this year, police said Monday.
Outer wall structures of the 39-story apartment building in the city, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, crumbled on Jan 11, leaving six workers dead and another injured.
The Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency announced an interim investigation result after 76 days of joint probes with the prosecution and the labor ministry, identifying three major causes of the collapse.
First of all, the construction method of the 39th floor was changed to the deck plate method without a structural review, and the load was increased by installing additional concrete supports, the police agency said.
Second, the bearing capacity was weakened on the 36th to 38th floors due to the failure to install concrete supports, it noted.
It cited insufficient quality control as the third cause of collapse, saying concrete in the lower floors did not reach the proper strength, which resulted in the collapse of the 39th floor and successive collapses of the 16 floors down to the 23rd floor.
The police agency stressed that HDC Hyundai Development Co., the main contractor of the project, its subcontractors and the construction inspection company were all responsible for the three causes of the building collapse.
HDC's on-site manager allowed subcontractors to change to the deck plate construction method without conducting a structural review and did not even check whether concrete supports were installed, it said.
Moreover, the company's quality manager did not properly examine the quality of concrete provided by a local ready-mixed concrete company.
A subcontractor removed concrete supports without any structural review or concrete compressive strength test, while the inspection company was negligent in its duties to check the installation of concrete supports and the concrete quality.
Police have so far booked 20 people on charges of negligent homicide, and violations of construction and occupational safety laws, and put six of them -- three HDC officials, two subcontractor officials and one supervisor -- under arrest.
They plan to conduct further investigations into suspected negligence on the part of HDC itself and other possible illegalities by officials related to concrete quality management.
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