A 69-year old landlord in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, has been ordered to demolish his apartment building after it was found to be have been built to insufficient earthquake-resistance standards.
The City discovered that the building would be at risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake producing a seismic intensity (shindo) level of 5-upper (read about the Japanese seismic intensity levels here) and ordered the owner to take corrective action. This is the first time the City has made such an order.
The five-story steel-framed apartment building has a total floor area of 812 sqm. The City issued a building certificate (kakunin-zumisho) in June 2004. However, an on-site inspection of the building in July of the same year found that some of the construction details in the approved construction plans, such as joints between columns and beams, did not match the finished product. In addition, the building was lacking some necessary foundations. The City issued an order to stop construction and deemed the building uninhabitable, but the owner retaliated with a lawsuit arguing that the construction ban was unfair and sought damages.
The latest order requires the owner to demolish the building within 180 days. If he fails to do so, the City will consider filing a criminal complaint.
The Mainichi Shimbun, February 14, 2013.
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