Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Court orders Taipei to lift work freeze on Dome site

SAFETY CONCERNS:The court rejected an appeal by Farglory for a full resumption of work, saying it did not clarify the risks brought by deviating from the blueprint

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday ruled that the Taipei City Government should lift a work suspension order it issued for the Taipei Dome, citing safety issues stemming from elevated groundwater levels at the construction site and corrosion of the building’s structure.

The work suspension order should be lifted to allow the contractor to take action or to attend to some facilities to ensure safety at the construction site, the court said in a statement.

Citing data compiled by Dome contractor Farglory Group during inspections it had carried out since May 10, the court said that the Dome’s integrity is threatened by buoyancy created by elevated groundwater, a situation that could be exacerbated during typhoons and torrential rain.

Corrosion has also affected the construction work and the Dome could collapse if appropriate measures are not taken, the court said.

The risks could jeopardize the lives of passersby and cause irreparable damage, it said.

However, the court rejected an appeal by Farglory for a full resumption of work on the Dome’s construction, saying the group did not make clear what dangers 79 deviations from the Dome’s original construction blueprint could bring.

It is difficult to approve Farglory’s request based on its claim that it has suffered more than NT$30 billion (US$935.7 million) in losses since construction was suspended in May last year, as the losses are neither urgent nor irreversible, the court said.

Taipei City Government spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that the ruling was in line with the city’s stance on rejecting Farglory’s request for a full resumption of work on the Dome.

Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said that the ruling does not mean that Farglory can resume construction in part or in full, but that Farglory should fulfill its responsibility to ensure safety at the construction site according to the Building Act (建築法).

Citing as an example the Dome’s foundation, which Farglory requested to complete after the work suspension order was implemented amid concerns over potential threats the foundations posed to the MRT’s Bannan Line, Lin said that Farglory should proactively apply with the department to reinforce any area in the construction site if it sees any safety issues with the Dome.

After receiving Farglory’s request, the department would hold a meeting with the city’s architect, civil engineering, structural engineering and geotechnical engineering unions to assess whether reinforcements are necessary, Lin said, adding that the department would meet with Farglory representatives soon.

Farglory thanked the court for its ruling, but said that full work resumption is necessary to guarantee total safety.

“The ruling shows that the court shares our concern over the project’s safety and the status quo is not safe or sustainable,” Farglory spokesman Jacky Yang (楊舜欽) said by telephone.

However, any arrangement short of completing work on the stalled project cannot guarantee full and ultimate safety, as all parts of the project are connected, Yang said.

The company will review the ruling carefully before deciding on its next move, Yang said, adding that the court did not make clear which parts are to resume construction or spell out the reasons for a partial resumption.

The ruling can be appealed.

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