National

Tilting-condo companies slapped with malpractice penalties

Kyodo

Contractors of a tilting condominium in Yokohama were given business suspension orders and other administrative dispositions on Wednesday for malpractices at the site, the land ministry said.

As the condo’s subcontractor Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. was found to have handed the main part of the construction work to its subcontractor Asahi Kasei Construction Materials Corp. in violation of the construction industry act, both companies were ordered to suspend business for 15 days and improve operations, the ministry said.

The two also failed to have full-time chief engineers at the construction site, and engineers were rarely present at the site as they were also working on other projects at the same time.

The prime contractor Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., responsible for overlooking the subcontractors, will also be banned from receiving orders from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for one month as it failed to instruct the subcontractors to correct such practices or report them to the authorities, the ministry said.

After one of the buildings at the Yokohama condominium complex was found to be tilting in October, Asahi Kasei Construction Materials admitted to data fabrication in 360 out of the 3,052 projects it worked on over the past decade, including in piling works for the condo, sparking public concern over the safety of buildings in general.

The scandal prompted an industry-wide probe, and eight other constructors have been found to have falsified piling work data in other projects. The ministry will also order the companies to prevent a recurrence.

The Yokohama condominium is still under investigation for possible violation of the building standards act.

The scandal over piling work data for building foundation projects has been spreading industrywide.

In November, Japan Pile Corp. became the first found to have engaged in piling data manipulation since the scandal involving Asahi Kasei Construction Materials.