Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China Rises as Her Buildings Crumble

Posted by w_thames_the_d on May 22, 2012

Here is a snippet that I Got from a Brew link. After reading about how witty Chinese construction is, I am happy I will die of black lung before this whole place tumbles….
From BrewMan link
Excerpt from here http://www.pekingduck.org/2005/08/the-collapse-of-china/

Having worked in construction for several years let me just say that the way they construct buildings here scares the living hell out of me.
Several months back a lady from New Zealand bought a new ‘apartment’ in a nearby city and she wanted me to supervise the electrical work since I used to be an electrician. So, I took a bus out to have a look at her place.
Since she had just bought the place it was nothing more than a grey concrete cave. Some of the basic electrical stuff had already been roughed in and ‘roughed in’ takes on a whole new meaning in this case.
As with just about all buildings in China, the walls were constructed of poorly laid bricks that are held together with a shoddy mortar mixture which is also smeared over the surface of the bricks to give an appearance of a poured concrete wall. If an earthquake of any magnitude over a 6 on the Richter scale ever hit most of these places they would be reduced to sand in a heart beat.
Anyway, I started looking at the electrical work that had already been roughed in and I just couldn’t believe the lack of quality and total disregard for safety that these knuckle heads had put on display. I mean, we’re talking about electrical lines running under water pipes, nothing was set for grounding, no wire nuts were used to make joint connections, no junction boxes and my favorite was the switch legs. Apparently the forgot to run a piece of conduit up the wall for light so they just took a chisel and chipped out a small trench to lay the wire in. Then they covered the wire over with mortar. This was done in multiple places.
At any rate, the lady didn’t want to pay me what I was asking for the job so it continued on as it started. I only hope she doesn’t end up getting electrocuted while taking a shower.
As for my own apartment, damn. I can’t wait to get out of this death trap and not just because of the rats either (which I think I have successfully gotten rid of).
A couple of months after we moved in I noticed the lights would grow slightly dimmer for a few moments and then return to their normal brilliance. Usually this happens when you activate another appliance that draws a considerable amount of power, but since that wasn’t the case here I became suspicious. Then one day I smelled hot wiring and I called the office. They came up and told me it was my imagination. Then a couple of weeks later the power went out and they had to come up check the breakers since the box can only be accessed by management. The ‘electrician’ shows up, takes a look in the panel and resets the breaker, but in the meantime I have taken notice of the charred plastic around the main breaker and the melted wires where the lines feed in. I pointed this out to the man and told him it must be the reason for the lights dimming in our apartment at times, but he assumed that I didn’t know what I was talking about and continued closing the box. I stopped him and took his screw driver to check the connection and upon doing so I discovered that the main lugs were loose which was causing an arch between the breaker and the wire which was also causing the wire and the plastic moulding around the breaker to melt which was the reason I had been smelling hot wiring. I told the man that the main service breaker should be replaced because it had been damaged from the loose connection and the arching. He told me it was because I had been using too much electricity.
It was all I could do to keep from laughing in his face. That surely surely qualified for stupidest comment of the year because there is no way in hell that you can use more electricity than is available. Besides, I don’t use anything in my apartment that requires high voltage or amperage.
Anyway, he left and when I told my wife about it she said “oh then we shouldn’t use so much energy”. Somebody please fucking shoot me. Bless her heart, she’s just naive and accustomed to believing everything authorities tell her. Thankfully she came around after I explained everything to her in a long and tiring discussion.
All went well for a couple of weeks and then the power went out. I call down to the office and sparky comes back up to have a look. Opens the box, looks around and says “you need to have that main service breaker replaced, it’s gone bad. I figured it wouldn’t do me any good to remind the little genius that I pointed that out a couple of fucking weeks ago. Then of course he told me the cause of the problem – I had been using too much electricity. I just looked at him and nodded my head.
So, they replaced the main service breaker and ever since our electric bill has been running suspiciously higher.
Also, we can’t seem to keep a freaking light bulb longer than a week. Sometimes when I hit the switch to turn on the lights in the bathroom, one of the bulbs blows and throws the main circuit breaker to the entire apartment. You’d think sparky would get suspicious as to why the breaker keeps tripping, but noooope. He’s clueless as the day he was born.
I just replaced the light bulb above the stove yesterday and when I opened the door to the refrigerator, the light inside blew out.
August 26, 2005 @ 3:37 am |

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