Dangerous Buildings

Once upon a time in Hong Kong, the building code was quite lax.  Given the small living areas in most apartments, residents came up with the idea of expanding horizontally.  The photo below is a view from my back window to the apartment building across.  The caged extensions can be used for storage and hanging out the laundry to dry.  It was estimated that there was as many as 500,000 such structures in Hong Kong.

These improvised structures were safety hazards because of their flimsy construction which can disintegrate during typhoons.  Besides, they are unsightly contraptions that represent negative equity for the entire neighborhood.  In time, the Hong Kong government mandated that these were illegal structures that must be removed forthwith.  So if you don't like the sight of such a structure outside your window, you can just call up the Dangerous Buildings Department (yes, such an entity actually exists) at 2629-1270 to lodge a complaint.

Removing such a structure requires some skill.  First of all, external scaffolding will be required while the structure is being dismantled.  Hong Kong is unique in that the scaffolds are made of bamboo poles lashed together.  These scaffolds may look flimsy, but have historically proven to be robust and durable.  The photos below show the eventual removal of the structure over several days.


So here is the new and improved view from my window.

Now, if only they can have a law against people hanging their unsightly laundry out to dry ...