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Shenzhen aims to cut building waste
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A draft regulation to reduce construction waste in Shenzhen city requires all real estate developers to provide new residential homes with toilets, kitchens and tiled floors.

The standing committee of Shenzhen People's Congress discussed the draft regulation on the reduction and utilization of construction waste during its second reading on Monday.

The regulation stipulates that "developers of ordinary residential houses must provide the necessary fittings and fixtures".

Government agencies in charge must also provide a detailed list of an apartment's fittings and fixtures within 12 months of the regulation taking effect.

Currently, apartments which cannot be used immediately by homebuyers still dominate China's housing market.

"Decoration work has been a major source of construction waste in Shenzhen," Mei Aimin, deputy director of the economic commission of the Shenzhen People's Congress, said.

Mei said the new regulation will cut pollution, construction waste, noise, and lower living costs.

In China, apartments are usually sold without well painted walls, tiled floors, toilets, kitchens, doors, convenient indoor power cables or water pipes.

It becomes a waste as apartment owners need to tear down walls for cables and pipes, pave floors, and install toilets and kitchens.

The China Interior Decoration Association said last year decoration waste amounted to about 30 billion yuan ($4.41 billion) a year, as owners often changed everything in their apartments except for the basic structure.

Some legislators, however, have expressed concerns that it would be difficult to implement the one-off decoration.

"Buyers now prefer to decorate their own apartments, as that offered by developers might not satisfy their demands," Wang Lingling, a member of the standing committee, said.

She said new apartments can now enter the secondary market quickly, which could lead to more redecorations.

Home-buyers said they focus more on the quality of the decoration.

"Some developers are irresponsible. I can't trust them. I won't buy an apartment without checking the finished decoration myself," Li Jianyong, a lawyer, said.

Vanke Group, China's largest listed property developer, said it supports the idea of new apartments completed with the necessary fittings and fixtures.

About half of the company's new projects across the nation are completed with fittings and fixtures. This will be raised to more than 90 percent in 2010.

Official surveys show the city will produce nearly 10 million tons of construction waste annually from 2006 to 2010. It will require about 66.7 hectares of land to bury it.

(China Daily July 23, 2008)

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