Sand Scandal Places China’s Tallest Building on Hold

March 19, 2013 2:19 pm Last Updated: April 2, 2013 3:39 am


Construction of the tallest building in China has been halted while an investigation of local developers is underway to check for corrosive concrete made with sea sand.

The Ping’an International Finance Center (PAIFC) is among many buildings being sampled after an industry-wide investigation was initiated by Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau.

On March 17, a National Business Daily reporter visited the PAIFC construction site, where several workers confirmed that construction has been halted. 

Dongdayang Construction Material Co., Shenzhen’s main concrete supplier, had its qualification certificate revoked, and other companies involved in the scandal have had their businesses suspended.

Using concrete made with sea sand can seriously affect construction quality, because the salt and chloride corrodes steel reinforcements, which may ultimately lead the building to collapse. Experts say that if large amounts of sea sand are incorporated into a building, it can take several decades for it to become condemned, according to the Modern Express newspaper. 

As sea sand is significantly cheaper than river sand, developers stand to make a huge profit if they use substandard concrete. The illegal supply of sea sand to concrete-mixing plants is thought to be common practice in the Pearl River Delta area.

Located in downtown Shenzhen, the PAIFC development covers a total construction area of 459,187 square meters (113.5 acres), and completion is expected in 2015. The 115-storey tall building will stand at a height of 660 meters (2,165 feet) with a further five floors underground. At the time construction was stopped, up to 80 meters (264 feet) had already been built.


Translation by Quincy Yu. Research by Hsin-Yi Lin. Written in English by Cassie Ryan.

Read the original Chinese article. 

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