EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 25, 2012

Column: China plans world's tallest building

Seemingly not a day goes by when there aren’t recalls, warnings and outright bans on Chinese exports. China, it seems, became the world’s largest exporter by its willingness to export anything. Even when tests on Chinese consumers proved that the products were hazardous, if not downright lethal, Chinese exporters continued to ship their products to unsuspecting countries.

An Internet search turns up dozens of products found to be tainted, poisonous or fake — toothpaste, pet food, fish, cough syrup, powder for baby milk, counterfeit drugs, honey, dog treats, drywall, school supplies and unacceptable levels of lead in children’s toys and apparel.

It’s all because, according to a business website that monitors Chinese products, quality control and food-safety regulations tend to be “lax or nonexistent.”

That’s why the news that China plans to build the tallest skyscraper in the world, to be named “Sky City,” and, moreover, complete it in 90 days, has drawn a lot of skepticism.

Generally, the public gets excited about the planned construction of some huge, new technical marvel, say the Hindenburg or the Titanic, but news of Sky City was greeted with restraint.

The company building Sky City has employed many of the engineers and architects who worked on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 2,717 feet the world’s tallest.

The Burj Khalifa’s 160 floors offer a stunning panorama over some of the world’s least interesting landscapes. The 220 floors of the 2,749-foot Sky City offer equally panoramic views of Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, which never exactly struck us as a tourist mecca.

The Broad Sustainable Building Co. plans a work schedule of five floors a day, a timetable to be achieved by building much of the skyscraper offsite in modular form.

And the company does have a track record of sorts. Using the modular technology, it completed a 30-story hotel in 15 days in China in December 2011, which 11 months later “is still standing ...” Words perhaps not quite as reassuring as they were meant to sound.

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