Date
24 July 2017
Mushroom sprouting out of cracked surfaces is among the 'unforgettable' sights, says a Hong Kong buildings inspector. Photos: HKEJ, Bloomberg
Mushroom sprouting out of cracked surfaces is among the 'unforgettable' sights, says a Hong Kong buildings inspector. Photos: HKEJ, Bloomberg

Wild mushroom, dead rat: A buildings inspector recounts his work

Wild mushrooms on outer surfaces of walls, dead mice behind air-conditioner units, insect infestation inside flats!

Well, these are among the things that a well-known Hong Kong buildings inspector says he has encountered in the city in the past year.

Tsim Chai-nam, chairman of consultancy firm The Hong Kong Building Inspection & Structural Diagnostic Ltd., says construction problems go beyond the typical cases of damp walls and improper water pipe fittings.

While water dripping on walls and poorly fitted water pipes could be considered some of the more common problems faced by buyers of new residential flats, one has also seen mushrooms growing out of the corner of two walls, said the expert who is commonly referred to as “Tsim Sir”.

According to him, the mushrooms could be the result of wood sheets left over by construction workers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The lapse provides an environment for a fungus to flourish to a size like a Lingzhi mushroom, he said, joking that it would have been a pleasant surprise if it was really a Lingzhi mushroom, which is often very expensive.

Tsim also recalled another instance last year where he was greeted by a very bad smell upon opening the door into a new flat.

Soon he traced the source of the unpleasant odor — a dead mouse behind an air-conditioner platform, with mouse droppings on the side.

At the same residential project, several other flats were said to have had large numbers of dead insects.

While there were very “unforgettable” events as a building inspector last year, Tsim said he was happy that the quality of new flats has improved overall.

He said he would give them an average of 70 marks out of a hundred.

The lead-water scandal in the first half of 2015 has had an impact on the quality of new flats released during the second half of the year, the expert said.

In other comments, he said the water contamination problem has led to many plumbers being assigned to problematic buildings, creating a shortage of qualified personnel for other new flats.

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