Sea sand scandal halts building of China supertall

Work stops on Ping'An Financial Centre until concrete sources verified

Ping An International Financial Centre (Image: Kohn Pederson Fox)
Ping An International Financial Centre (Image: Kohn Pederson Fox)

Construction of the world's second-tallest building - behind Dubai's Burj Khalifa - has been temporarily halted due to a growing scandal in China over the use of corrosive sea sand in buildings.

According to the China Daily Mail, work on the 660m-high Ping'An International Financial Centre has been halted after government officials in Shenzen found that sea sand had been used to create substandard concrete for the supertall tower and 15 other buildings in the city. The danger of using cheaper sea sand over river sand is that it contains salt and chloride which can corrode steel reinforcements.

The Ping'An International Financial Centre has been designed by architects Kohn Pederson Fox and construction has been ongoing since 2009. It is expected to complete in 2015.

According to Bloomberg, a Chinese TV station published a report earlier this month investigating the use of sea sand in buildings. Following the report, several construction firms - including China State Construction Engineering, which is building the Ping'An Centre - have sought to distance themselves from the scandal.

The company's vice-president, Kong Qingping, said: “I’m not quite familiar with the incident of the Ping An Finance Center, but we put quality and safety as priority in all our projects in 40 cities, including Shenzhen,” he said.

The building's owner, insurance group Ping An, has ordered an investigation into the sources of concrete used in the building.


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