(LEAD) South Korean Government to Initiate Safety Inspections on Flat-Plate Apartments in Private Sector


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The South Korean government has announced that it will be conducting safety inspections on nearly 300 flat-plate structure apartment complexes in the private sector nationwide from August to September as a response to recent revelations of faulty residences that lack reinforcing bars, or rebars, in their underground parking lots, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said on Thursday.

The comprehensive inspections will include 188 flat-plate apartment complexes built after 2017 and 105 under-construction flat-plate apartments to determine if the necessary amount of rebars have been used in the buildings, the ministry specified in a statement.

The government plans to begin the inspections next week and announce the results after September, and it might also carry out the safety checks on flat-plate, private-sector apartments built before 2017, if necessary.

Construction companies that are found to have not used enough rebars in building flat-plate, private-sector apartments will be ordered to complete remedial work by the end of this year, the ministry said.

The government has also declared that it will take strict legal action against any law violations related to the planning, construction and supervision of the poorly-built apartments.

First Land and Transport Minister Kim Oh-jin bows his head before his briefing on the government's plan to look into private-sector flat-plate apartment complexes that lack reinforcing bars, at a government complex building in Sejong city on Aug. 3, 2023. (Yonhap)

This government-led scrutiny was prompted by the recent collapse of an ongoing apartment construction site built under contract with the state-run housing developer Korea Land & Housing Corp. (LH) in April.

Subsequently, the LH has conducted safety checks on its 91 flat-plate public apartment complexes and 15 of them were found to have an insufficient share of rebars in their columns.

The ministry said remedial work on the 15 poorly-built LH residence buildings built after 2017 will be done by next month.

Earlier, the South Korean government and the ruling People Power Party agreed on plans to provide prospective residents of the poorly-constructed apartments the right to cancel their contracts, as well as receive financial compensation.

The flat-plate concrete floor system does not use beams between columns, and it is usually suited for lightly loaded floors with short spans, typically for residential and hotel buildings. To ensure that the columns can withstand the load, sufficient rebars must be installed.

Based on the overall inspection results, the government said it will come up with comprehensive safety measures on flat-plate structure apartments and announce measures to eradicate all kinds of malpractices or corrupt acts over the construction process in October.

Malpractices include collusion in the purchases of construction parts, unfair selection of design and irregularities in contracts.

This photo taken Aug. 1, 2023, shows jack supports installed for remedial work at an LH apartment's parking lot, which turned out to have an insufficient share of reinforcing bars in the columns in Osan, 44 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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