Safety issues bogged down constructionSafety concerns have been front and center in the six years it’s taken to construct Lotte World Tower.
Mysterious sinkholes emerged around the construction site and the water level of the adjacent Seokchon Lake shrank for unknown reasons.
More than one leakage problem was reported at the aquarium inside Lotte World Mall and cracks were spotted at other stores inside. Once, a severe trembling caused an evacuation at the mall’s theater.
Lotte World Mall finished construction earlier than the tower next door and opened in 2014.
In an attempt to curb anxiety surrounding the tower, Shin Dong-bin launched a safety inspection committee in January 2015, which included an advisory team from the Seoul government and an independent inspection team. A separate monitoring team of civilians was launched.
The tower construction was completed and was approved for operation by the city in February, but Lotte Corporation said it will maintain the two safety inspection teams for an additional year.
Lotte World Tower houses six safety blocks inside the tower every 20 floors. The walls are made of inflammable material and installed with a smoke-extracting system.
To guard itself from earthquakes, Lotte Corporation implemented a cutting-edge structure called outrigger and belt truss which helps the tower to withstand earthquakes measuring up to nine on the Richter scale, according to the company.
Lotte World Tower also has established a counterterrorism team for the first time as a private company. Comprising some 400 terrorism specialists from the nation’s special forces and sniffing dogs, the company said the team will conduct training regularly with police and fire stations.
During one of its pre-openings on Feb. 19, an elevator rising to the observatory with 39 passengers stopped for more than 25 minutes. Lotte Corporation delayed the observatory’s opening from March 31 until today.
“The elevator stopped because sensors on the outside of the elevator door malfunctioned but it didn’t have anything to do with the safety of the passengers,” said a Lotte Corporation spokesman. “The elevator is up and ready now and is ready to greet visitors.”
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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