Government urges public to participate in old building inspection subsidy programs

  • Date: 2018-02-09
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The Executive Yuan held on Friday a press conference addressing residential safety and aged buildings in the wake of a powerful earthquake that toppled several buildings in Hualien last week. 

Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio and Spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung, who hosted the conference alongside Construction and Planning Agency Acting Director-General Wang Rong-jin, said approximately 4 million households, nearly half of all households in Taiwan, live in buildings over 30 years old. To ensure building safety and living quality, the government has been pushing urban renewal laws and old building inspection programs and urges the public to join the effort to speed up urban renewal.

The Tainan earthquake of February 2016 prompted a nationwide awareness of the need for tougher seismic resistance measures and retrofitting of aging structures—particularly for elementary and junior high school buildings. After President Tsai Ing-wen took office, the government immediately implemented a range of seismic resistance and building improvement programs. Former Premier Lin Chuan also proposed three urban renewal laws designed to protect lives and property, Minister Hsu said.

The first law, the Statute for Expediting Reconstruction of Urban Unsafe and Old Buildings, was approved by the Legislature on May 10, 2017, and in the half year since its implementation has proven to be very effective. The second, an act for the establishment of a national residential and urban renewal center, was approved recently at an extraordinary session of the Legislature to enable greater efficiency and speed for urban renewal projects.

The third, proposed amendments to the Urban Renewal Act, may be applied to urban renewal projects that fail to obtain unanimous consent from the property owners involved. This proposal was approved by the Executive Yuan on November 13 last year, and has been sent as a priority bill to the Legislature where it will hopefully find swift approval after the review process begins February 27. It is intended to accelerate urban renewal projects and ensure residential safety, while also promoting the development of domestic industries, Minster Hsu said.

When President Tsai came into office months after the Tainan quake, the government launched a plan to improve the safety of residential buildings around Taiwan by providing residents with funding to evaluate the seismic resistance of old structures. This and other building strengthening measures will not only protect people’s property and assets but also ensure their personal safety. The government has already earmarked a budget for this purpose and encourages people to participate in the programs to ensure safety for all residents, the minister said.