Sat, Apr 16, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Sector bleak over Dome’s future

RUSTING AWAY:Pieces welded to the Taipei Dome might need to be replaced or reinforced before construction can resume, which will increase costs, an architect said

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

With the Taipei City Government having decided to dissolve its agreement with Taipei Dome contractor Farglory Group, some members of the construction sector said they are pessimistic about the prospect of a third party taking over the build-operate-transfer project.

In a report published by the Chinese-language United Daily News, architect Lu Wen-chin (呂文欽) said that as the Dome is made of steel and lacks a roof, it has been exposed to rain and parts of the structure have rusted.

If the problem is not resolved, corrosion could gradually eat away at the structure, compromising its integrity, Lu said.

Lu said that components welded to the structure might need to be replaced or reinforced before construction can resume, which would take at least six months, adding that the costs that would arise from the inspection and necessary reinforcements would be of concern for would-be contractors.

He said any third party wanting to take over the project would have to deal with the “debacle” caused by Farglory in connection with the building’s integrity and evacuation routes, adding that operators in the construction sector have often kept their distance from buildings with such problems.

Should safety issues surface after the project is transferred to a third party, it would be difficult to determine whether Farglory, the city government or the third party should assume responsibility, meaning that the third party would be subject to political pressure greater than the pressure from undertaking the construction, he said.

Taipei Structural Engineers’ Association director Lo Kuang-ming (婁光銘) said the costs generated by suspending a construction project are particularly steep, because firms that take over a suspended project would add the risks to the costs.

Citing the sealed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) as an example, Lo said that the last time the plant’s construction was resumed the Atomic Energy Council found that some of the machinery and components needed to finish the plant were not being manufactured anymore, and as a result NT$200 billion (US$6.18 billion) was added to the construction cost.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) said he was skeptical that any third party would be willing to take over the construction and the costs.

Liang said the Dome’s large area means it will command an expensive rent, which will likely discourage potential tenants.

“The Dome is bound to be a commercial flop. I doubt if any firm would be so stupid as to take it over,” Liang said.

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