With a magnitude of 9.0, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011 showed the world how devastating and horrifying natural disasters can be. At the same time, it showcased Japan’s advanced engineering abilities, in which many condominiums suffered minimal damage despite being impacted by one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded.
According to the Condominium Management Companies Association’s 21 September 2011 public record, within the 6 Tohoku prefectures managed by the Association: 0 of 1642 condominiums required complete replacement; 26 towers (1.58%) required major repair and reinforcement; damages to 1024 towers (62.36%) were minor; and 309 towers (18.82%) suffered no damage. These numbers show that nearly 80% of the Association’s buildings had, at most, minimal damage. If we look at the larger Kanto region (which includes Tokyo and 6 prefectures), 37,351 out of 44,723 buildings (i.e. 83.52%) were undamaged. This proves the safety level of Japanese condominiums.
Due to geographical factors, Japan has faced many major earthquakes throughout its long history. The harsh environment calls not only for higher quake resistance, but also for safer urban development overall, e.g. better fire control. For example, only highly fireproof buildings may be constructed in commercial areas.
The Building Standards Act requires adherence to strict earthquake and safety regulations - in which all buildings are subject to a third party review before initial construction is approved - and overall building regulations become stricter by the year. By way of example, condominiums built after the enactment of the 1981 regulation suffered considerably less damage than those constructed prior to 1981 in the wake of 1995’s Hanshin Awaji Earthquake.
A detailed ground survey is always conducted to ensure building safety, with data analysis used to identify the best methods for sustaining building groundwork. For example, many piles may be driven deeply into the ground - and building strength is further guaranteed by increasing the thickness of concrete covering the building’s reinforcement bars.
The heart of Japan’s building safety, which can be seen at any construction site, lies in meticulous quality control. With supervision provided by the construction company, site workers complete their work smoothly through efficient organization, multi-layered checking systems and fastidious clean up. Legally mandated inspections by third parties, which are held midterm and upon building completion, further guarantee safety.
Compared with other countries, Japan’s construction costs may appear high. Yet the value provided by the Japanese professional - a craftsman whose persistence results in quality, whose respect for the law results in safety, and whose adherence to strict schedules allows for projects to be completed according to schedule - cannot be overstated.
Strong after-purchase maintenance is another notable aspect of Japanese condominiums. Previews for inspections are held prior to handover together with inspections held annually are well supported. Strong relationships with maintenance companies allow for quick solutions to any problems. Faulty or malfunctioning equipment is mended in just a short time. Residents are in good hands, 24 hours a day.
Japanese condominiums benefit from a maintenance culture that anticipates future needs and repairs while striving to preserve building beauty and safety: Modern condominiums retain their integrity for years. The architectural value provided by Japanese condominiums is well-recognized.
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Each of us investment team members are expert professionals at property investment advisory, with an acquired know-how of Japanese property investment. We are more than happy to support you by helping you develop your ideas about the properties in the pursuit of your goals. Also, our multinational team welcomes any inquires in English and can provide additional support for speakers of Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu.