Chinese Homebuyer Discovers Bamboo Used Instead of Steel Rebar

Moso bamboo, photo for illustration only.

Moso bamboo, photo for illustration only.

From NetEase:

Jiangsu Building Uses Bamboo Instead of Steel Rebar, Developer Claims It Is Playing a Prank on the Homeowner

Moso bamboo and steel reinforced bars are two things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, but, sometimes, these two things have still been equated by people, such as just recently in a new building being constructed in Taizhou city Jiangyan district, where some homebuyers discovered that sheets of moso bamboo have been suspected of being used in the place of steel rebar during construction.

A wall torn down in a newly constructed apartment building in Jiangsu, China, where bamboo was found in the place of steel rebar.

Those familiar with the situation exposed it saying a homeowner who just received his [newly constructed] apartment and immediately began interior decorations had tore down an air-conditioning partitioning wall on the balcony only to discover there wasn’t a single steel reinforcing bar inside, but in their place were two flat pieces of moso bamboo approximately one meter long and 10+ centimeters wide. At first, the developer explained that this was a prank by construction workers, with the intent of playing a joke with the homeowner. However, after continued questioning by this reporter, the developer then alleged that it was the homeowner and construction workers conspiring together with the intent of extorting the developer.

At present, the local public security organs have already opened a case and begun investigating. As for whether or not the building has construction quality issues, that must wait until after the supervising regulatory department has completed its evaluation to be determined.

Comments from NetEase:

数风流人物看今朝 [网易上海市网友]:

Also, just how did it past inspection during construction? This must be thoroughly investigated!!

巴神非八神 [网易江苏省南京市网友]:

So in the future we’ll just buy houses with hell money. We’re also just joking with you.

我拆我拆我拆拆拆 [网易广东省东莞市网友]:

“the developer explained that this was a prank by construction workers, with the intent of playing a joke with the homeowner. However, after continued questioning by this reporter, the developer then alleged that it was the homeowner and construction workers conspiring together with the intent of extorting the developer.”
Whether or not it was extortion depends on the developer’s capabilities.
70 years is simply a joke!

无人相伴 [网易浙江省湖州市网友]:

I’ll give you the housing payment by burning it for you next Qingming Festival, and I’m not joking with you.

空亦空 [网易广西桂林市网友]:

China’s construction and engineering inspectors can be all be put to death.

网易浙江省温州市平阳县网友 ip:60.12.*.*

People’s hearts have fallen into the pit of money. This kind of unscrupulous developer should be charged with murder.

lelelelehehehehe [网易河南省郑州市网友]:

Shameless to the extreme!

网易北京市海淀区网友 ip:101.254.*.*

The homebuyer should pay for the home with hell money — not joking.

37025 [网易山东省滨州市邹平县网友]:

Who handled the inspections? Come out and explain yourself! Whoever supervised, you also come out and explain yourself!

军位煮食 [网易广东省广州市天河区网友]:

Could a second fallen building incident occur?
If those who purchased an apartment there don’t fight for an explanation, then you’re on your own.
When the fallen building incident happened in Shanghai, no one had moved in yet, but now/this…
Amen, may God protect the innocent then.

Moso bamboo, photo for illustration only.

Moso bamboo, photo for illustration only.

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  • Poodle Tooth

    Was this just on interior walls or were the building’s load-bearing walls like this? How tall was it? Because holy fucking shit.

    And you could probably use a steel studfinder to tell if there’s any actual rebar anywhere. If it’s all bamboo throughout, well, that’s a hell of a joke.

    • A studfinder in China measures how thick a wallet is.

      • Poodle Tooth

        You’d need a micrometer for mine. :(

    • Kai

      Partioning wall doesn’t sound like a load-bearing wall.

      • Poodle Tooth

        That’s all they talk about him tearing into; they don’t mention if he checked any further, and that’s what I would want to know if I were him.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Send the developer to jail. It’ll be hilaaaaaarious, trust me.

  • This guy has probably already taken his money and run to Singapore or Canada
    He thought he was being clever in putting the bamboo scaffolding to good use, saving several dollars an apartment…

    • Yes. Thank goodness there are any insidious property funding schemes. So glad all the banks in China turn on all their lights in order to get rid of “shadow banking”.

      • Yes, it goes to the very top and since the banks have been deemed too big to jail (i mean fail), they now plunder without any fear of reprisal. They own everyone who has the “authority” to do something about it.
        Unfortunately, there is only one solution for all this corruption and it won’t be pleasant. (it does not involve fines or time served at a country club facility).
        Bring out the Guillotines!

  • Surfeit

    Jesus titty-fucking Christ! Next level unscrupulous shizznit!

  • mr.wiener

    First theory:A joke by the construction workers.
    Second theory: A conspiracy by the construction workers and home owners to extort the developer.
    …anyone else got any good theories?

    I will not be accepting it was the Japanese.

    • Jahar

      I think the standard reaction here to accusations is to accuse the accuser of doing something wrong.

    • Some guy

      Environmentally friendly organic houses made of tofu and bamboo are the newest thing in Europe you know…

    • David

      I blame gnomes for everything.

      • Easy, there. Some of my best friends are gnomes.

    • Rick in China

      Obviously the company who sold their steel piping lied to them and told them it was in fact steel, but now they realize it was only Bamboo.

    • IsurvivedChina


    • Chinese buildings now must live up to the same standards as their human occupants and bear so much bitterness that they will bend before they break.

      You need bamboo for that.

    • Surfeit


      • ClausRasmussen

        >> Juden!

        Not in China. While Jews were loathed in the West for their involvement in banking and finance and often used as scapegoats, their money making abilities paradoxically earned them much admiration in Chinese culture

        Even today you can find titles like “Learn the money making secrets of the Talmud” or similar in Chinese bookstores

        I find it very amusing that based on the same prejudice and misconceptions the practical minded Chinese arrive at exactly the opposite conclusion than the West

        • Surfeit

          I thought my jest was blazing through the cracks of factuality like a great sun, scorning the irises of all those exposed to its incandescent fiery brightness.

          Obviously I was wrong, have been wrong before, and will be wrong in the future. Sorry for the misunderstanding, CLAUS!

          • Surfeit

            Sorry man I’m being a total douche.

          • ClausRasmussen

            Don’t worry, it was just your vivid “my jest was blazing…” that cracked me up

          • Surfeit

            I like you.

          • ClausRasmussen


        • Amused

          Honestly some Chinese can out Hebe the Jews, hands down. And I mean that as a compliment.

          • ClausRasmussen

            It is beyond me how China could ever go Communist, they’re natural born capitalists

          • Amused

            They didn’t go Communist. Just their last Emperor(Mao) was a commie. Now they have an oligarchy pretending to have the commie ethos. Much better for making money :)

    • JayJay

      Most buildings in China are concrete structures rather than steel structures. It is generally a cost saving measure as labour is cheap in China. In the west, you see more steel structure buildings as labour costs are higher. Steel structures are easy to spot on the outset, but reinforced concrete is not so easy.

    • Foreign Devil

      It was Western influence conspiring to disrupt harmony in China.

    • DC

      it’s nice that you are able to make light of the Chinese hatred for the Japanese and their war crimes….

      how about you try making a Nazi/Jew joke on a US site and see the reaction you get..

      • mr.wiener

        Well, I could make a Nazi/Jew joke on a US site…but it would probably pass unnoticed in amongst all the Nazi/Jew jokes that are already there.

        • Surfeit

          BAM! Right in the kisser!

      • Surfeit

        I once set up a Facebook page for Chinese Nazis, but it only got three Reichs.

    • lonetrey / Dan

      The house naturally grew around the bamboo. It wasn’t meant to be in the structure, you can’t blame the developers for something out of their control!

    • ancient chinese construction secret.

  • David

    This where some people say “you can’t expect things to be better in China, it is a developing country. It is not fair to judge it by the same standards as a first world country.” Well, I think the crooks are pretty well developed. lol

    • Poodle Tooth

      China is perfectly capable of building things to last, even modern China. The structures are usually fine; I’ve seen a lot more horrifying structures in Korea than in China. The FIXTURES are usually garbage, but the structures are usually not obviously shit, and are in some cases really damn good. This story is pretty egregious even for China.

      • Surfeit

        I duno, man. I wasn’t the least bit shocked or surprised by this.

        • Poodle Tooth

          I didn’t say it was shocking…I mean the bamboo reinforced concrete thing has been done before, if you recall the manhole cover scandals. It’s still pretty bad, else no one would be talking about it.

          • Surfeit

            Seems I misunderstood your tone in “This story is pretty egregious even for China.”

      • Just_Banlas

        I think that remains to be seen. “Modern” China, in this respect only began with Reform and Opening in 1979, and the building boom didn’t get going until the Nineties. Twenty years is not long enough to judge whether China’s commercial and residential infrastructure is sound. Odds are against it. I think you will find that the really good quality construction in China comes about primarly when foreign architects and engineers and project management is involved to control things. That said, construction can be great, but if a building is not maintained properly, it’ll go to hell very quickly. And if there is one thing China has perfected, it’s lousy maintenance of buildings. That’s why a new building in China looks ten years old after just a year. Very, very high end buildings are typically maintained well, but the remaining 99% are cleaned and maintained about as well as Chinese kitchen……

        • Ken Morgan

          The thing is a lot of western construction is also trash. New build homes in the UK for instance. A friend bought a new build recently. The manual said that you shouldn’t have more than 3 people in an upstairs room at any one time. The fittings and internal plaster all feel off within 12 months and the roof began to leak and wash away within 12 months as well.

          This link too

          Does not bode well for western construction!

          • Just_Banlas

            What’s your point? This is an article about Chinese construction, and this strand is a debate over whether Chinese construction is really that bad or not. Did you think you were on the Americasmack website, or you just bored?

          • Ken Morgan

            Bored mostly. It’s reading week where I work which means I’m spending all day grading assignments submitted by students. I have to take time out now and again.

      • ClausRasmussen

        You may also want to take a look at the toppled building referenced in the comments

        It’s beyond me how it came down in one piece without crumbling, even the windows are intact! There’s some impressive sturdy construction work there. The foundation however….

      • David

        It is true that the fixtures in apartments are crap. In my new apartment the lights, locks (on multiple doors) and windows have all failed in the first 6 months of living here. When the light was removed to replace, it looked like the wiring was done by a monkey. I have yet to see a building even 10 years old that does not look 50. The building I live in is only 1 year old (I am the first occupant) and looks 10. My friend lives in an apartment that is 11 years old. All the metal railings are rusted out to the point where they have just FALLEN off (which means he does not go out on his 11th floor balcony. I have no doubt the Chinese are CAPABLE of building things that last but they seem to go with the cheapest possible quality materials (I mean the ones where they actually use the right materials, not this article), do no inspection upon completion of the work (as long as it looks good, it is good)and then do no maintenance whatsoever to even keep what they have working. This has been my experience in the two years I have lived here. I could not imagine spending money on a house here.

  • Rose

    Even the houses are 山寨! Everything in China is not what you think. Eggs? Fake. Milk? Fake. Cars? Fake. Walls? Fake.

    • Irvin

      Public hair? REAL! Arm pit hair? REAL!

      • Probotector

        Can’t believe you made THAT typo.

        • Surfeit


      • Boris

        Public hair?

        Oh, you meant pubic hair….

        • Irvin

          easy mistake

          • Boris

            I’m guessing you like it clean down there.

    • Just_Banlas

      Toxic Soil? Real.
      Toxic Air? Real.
      Toxic Water? Real.
      Halitosis? Real.

  • AbC

    The developer should probably accept all the payments in ‘hell’ money considering he’s definitely going to end up there.

  • hailexiao

    Bamboo actually has excellent tensile strength so bamboo-reinforced concrete isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you do it right. Chances are it wasn’t done right here, and the client paid for steel anyway.

    • Poodle Tooth

      Strips of bamboo don’t have the roughened texture of rebar; they’ll slip more. And that’s assuming they don’t rot (which I assume is where your “doing it right” comes in).

      • Ken Morgan

        I’d note that steel inside concrete does not last forever either

        The corrosion process can turn it into something which accelerates the wear of the concrete as it turns into a conductor.

      • hailexiao

        Bamboo doesn’t have the roughened texture, but it does have ridges at regular intervals to grip the concrete. They can also be easily tied at intersections to reduce slip. Of course, that’s if the contractor bothered to do so. As for rot, newly poured concrete is hygroscopic and absorbs water as it cures, and concrete should have a basic environment that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, so rot wouldn’t be a problem.

    • ClausRasmussen

      You don’t want tensile strength (pulling strength) in constructions like this but flexible strength (bending strength) and stiffness to prevent the concrete from crumbling

      For example human hair have tensile strength comparable to both steel and bamboo but virtually zero stiffness

      • hailexiao

        Flexible stress is simply a combination of tensile stress on the outside of the bend and compressive strength on the inside. True, bamboo has weak compressive strength and stiffness perpendicular to its grain, and that is why we don’t see many pure-bamboo structures anymore; however, in bamboo-reinforced concrete structures the concrete provides the compressive strength.

        As for human hair, fiber-reinforced concrete is a thing, so if you can collect enough of it you can make a fairly strong structure out of hair-reinforced concrete.

    • Concrete produces heat as it dries. This would greatly expand the water in the bamboo at a stage where the water cannot be absorbed into the concrete, causing pockets.

      Internal pockets in concrete can result in fracture lines, which can cause the concrete to crumble.

  • phiota

    Having lived in around ten different high rise apartments in China I find that those build in the 1990-early 2000’s were of much better quality then those built now. Probably the same worldwide as the real estate markets boom the construction standards become lax but both the boom and lax construction standards never were as extreme as it has been in china.

  • Amused


  • Foreign Devil

    I saw in a documentary that if a developer bribes an official. . under the current campaign the government official could face severe punishment. . but the developers themselves are like Teflon. . or like Western bank CEO’s they have all the money and will not be punished because the Chinese government wants their multi-billion investments. China and USA become more similar everyday.

  • commander

    Bamboo reminds me that students-led pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong installed bamboo structures on a street in a bid to prevent Hong Kong police from dispersing protesters, when necessary using tear gas, pepper spray and etc.

  • BigBadBoy

    Question of the day: What is a ‘local public security organ’?

    Is il like a giant sphincter?

  • And how long will the investigation take?

    All it needs is one guy with a couple of free hours and a metal detector, so expect it to take 39 government workers seven months or so.

  • must touch brain

    “Just slap some cement on there and no one will ever know.”

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