On April 4, a 20-year old residential building in a city in Zhejiang Province suddenly collapsed. The incident draws attention to the many buildings that were built en masse
in the 1980’s in China. Now that these buildings are reaching the age of 20 to 30 years, there have been quite a few accidents:
On August 4, 2009, a two-story building in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, that had been built in the 1980s, collapsed in a rainstorm. On September 5, a five-story residential building in Ningbo, Zhejiang suddenly collapsed. Several other incidents took place in 2012 and 2013, resulting in deaths or injuries.
In 2010, a Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development expert said at a conference, "Our country is the country with the largest number of new buildings constructed each year, but the buildings last only 25 to 30 years." In contrast, the average life expectancy of U.K. construction is 132 years and in the U.S. it is 74 years.
Source: Xinhua, reprinted on People’s Daily Online, April 7, 2014