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While construction failures are not uncommon in inland China, they are relatively unheard of in major cities such as Shanghai, where this disaster unfolded. Photo courtesy of NK Media Productions.

The High Cost of Cutting Corners

Catastrophe was narrowly eluded in China when a newly constructed 13 story building collapsed just before completion, killing one worker but avoiding triggering a domino effect among neighboring apartments. The photo has to be seen to be believed (here's another view). Chinese authorities have detained nine in connection with the collapse, including the developer, construction contractor and project supervisor after reports surfaced that the company's construction license had expired in 2004. The disaster draws attention to lax construction standards (and loose enforcement) and their high cost to homeowners, investors and society. As much as they can sometimes seem a hassle, this is the reason we have building codes.

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