Cities with population of less than 3 million will not be allowed to build skyscrapers taller than 150 metres while in cities with more than 3 million people, structures cannot be taller than 250 metres.
China has restricted smaller cities from building extremely tall skyscrapers in a bid to crack down on wasteful “vanity projects” by local governments and reduce safety risks.
The country is home to some of the world’s tallest buildings, including the 623 metre-tall Shanghai Tower and 599.1 metre-tall Ping An International Finance Centre.
While China believes high-rise buildings use land resources more efficiently, recent reports have questioned the need for skyscrapers in low-density cities, saying they were built for vanity and not practicality and safety.
Regulators have often criticised these “vanity projects” that pit Chinese cities against each other in the wrong way. Earlier this year, “the construction of ‘ugly’ and ‘weird’ buildings was officially put under strict restriction.
“We’re in a stage where people are too impetuous and anxious to produce something that can actually go down in history,” Zhang Shangwu, the Deputy Head of Tongji University’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post in April.
What are the new rules?
Cities with less than three million people will not be allowed to build skyscrapers taller than 150 metres, while in cities with a population of more than three million, structures cannot be taller than 250 metres, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural development and the Ministry of Emergency Management.
All cities will require special approvals to build skyscrapers taller than the prescribed limits.
Officials approving projects by violating the new rules “will be held accountable for life," the statement said.
Apart from this, local governments have been instructed to conduct inspections of existing skyscrapers and check building plans for details on structure, foundation, power, gas supplies, water, and resistance to earthquakes and fire.
High-rise buildings are also restricted in urban ventilation corridors and ecologically-sensitive areas.
What was allowed?
This is not the first time Chinese regulators have tried to limit the height of tall buildings in the country. In July, China’s top planning agency, the national development and reform commission, banned skyscrapers above 500 metres and restricted those above 250 metres. At the time, the agency had said exemptions would be granted based on building plans, such as its firefighting capabilities.
China also ensured buildings taller than 100 metres included anti-earthquake and fire and rescue capabilities.
Why is it necessary?
In recent years, Chinese authorities have found it difficult to manage skyscrapers, which are turning out to be quite hazardous.
In the city of Shijiazhuang, a high-rise residential building caught fire in March. A similar incident happened in Dalian in August.
People were evacuated from a 72-storey building (nearly 300 metres) in Shenzhen in May, when it mysteriously started shaking. It was later reported that a combination of factors like winds, fluctuating temperatures and underground rail lines caused the building to rock.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)