Shanghai Committee members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) urged local government bodies to consider capping the number of "glass walls" used around the city, after more than 10 cases of explosions involving tempered glass occurred at high-rises over the summer.
The comments were made on Tuesday, after CPPCC members carried out inspections at high-rise buildings with glass walls over the past month, and a day after they suggested that local authorities tighten supervision at construction sites.
"Shanghai now has 2,633 buildings with glass walls, among which 1,500 are more than eight floors tall, which means that serious damage could be caused if the glass walls explode," Zheng Shao, a CPPCC member told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the explosion rate of glass walls in the city rests at a high 0.3 percent.
Therefore, the city should rethink the approach adopted in 1984, when brick walls were substituted with glass to speed development, CPPCC member Tu Haiming, said on Tuesday.
"The glass walls are only a twelfth as heavy as brick ones and save up to 75 percent time spent on construction, but many of the walls do not hold up well for their 25-year lifetime," he told reporters on Tuesday. "What's worse is that property developers and building owners are unwilling to have the glass walls checked regularly, which means they are a ticking time bomb."
Over 50 vehicles parked below the 57-storey office building One Lujiazui, constructed in 2008, were damaged in May after a glass wall exploded, shattering pieces from the 46th floor. Such an instance highlights the danger of using this kind of material, added CPPCC member Huang Ming.
"Even newly installed glass walls that are checked regularly and are of high quality are no guarantee," he told the Global Times on Tuesday. "It's difficult to predict when the danger will come, leaving little time for passersby to dodge falling shards of glass."
Huang Yongping, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Housing Support and Building Administration Bureau, meanwhile, responded to the urging on Tuesday, saying that authorities are aware of the risks involved and are working on plans to strengthen regulations for management on the use of glass walls in the city.