"A sand scandal is brewing in China, with concerns that low-quality concrete has been used in the construction of many of the country’s largest buildings — putting them at risk of collapse," reports Ian Steadman. "Inspections by state officials have found raw, unprocessed sea sand in at least 15 buildings under construction in Shenzhen, including a building which, when finished, was set to become China’s tallest.'
"The Ping’an Finance Center is planned to top out at 660m, making it not only China’s tallest building but the second-tallest building in the world after the Burj Dubai. 80m has been built so far, but construction has been halted in the wake of the revelation from Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau that substandard sea sand concrete had been used in its construction."
Untreated sea sand, which is far cheaper than river sand, and illegal to use, "is unsuitable for construction because it still contains chlorine and salt, which corrodes steel," explains Steadman. "It can take only a few decades for a building to become dangerously unsafe if untreated sea sand is used in its concrete — including the possibility of collapse."