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Should Balcony Remodelers Wait Two Months?

Posted October. 24, 2005 03:03,   


People moving into apartments under construction are demanding that construction companies remodel the balconies of the houses in advance, since balcony expansion will be legal soon.

“I want my balcony to be extended because the government has legalized balcony extensions,” said one new apartment tenant.

“It is not legitimate yet, since balcony extensions will only be permitted starting January 2006,” said a construction company.

After the government decided to allow balcony remodeling starting January 2006, such complaints are increasingly being made around apartment construction sites.

But construction companies are reluctant to answer the demand, since balcony remodeling will not be lawful until the end of this year. If construction companies unlawfully remodel balconies openly, municipalities will not approve the use of the apartment houses or will fine the companies up to 50 million won.

About 3,000 people who are moving into an apartment building located in Dongtan New Town in Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province early next year recently held a representative meeting to submit construction companies an official letter urging balcony remodeling before the move-in stage.

The representatives argued that “there is no reason to reject our request in that around 2,030,000 apartment houses have already had their balconies extended nationwide.”

However, the company building the apartments there has kept firm on its position, saying, “We want to comply with their request, but we cannot take the risk. Some apartment houses are currently undergoing balcony structural work, making remodeling difficult.”

Other regions are in a similar situation.

Some friction has arisen at an apartment site in Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, which will be completed by next June. Redevelopment committee members requested the construction company to temporarily stop the construction and to allow them to choose whether to extend their own balconies, but the construction company rejected their request.

Some redevelopment apartment sites in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, and in Gangdong-gu, which will be completed by mid 2006, show signs of conflict between “the reality” and “the law.” Some construction companies are considering putting off construction to perform balcony work after next January.

The government is keeping its position that remodeling is unlawful, but it seems concerned that the prohibition of remodeling can be blamed, since remodeling has already been typical.

Lee Jae-hong, the Urban Environment Planning officer of the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, said, “We would like people moving into apartment houses to wait because the enforcement decree of the Building Act may be revised before next January ahead of schedule.”

Meanwhile, some construction companies are promoting sales of their apartments by insisting balconies, which will be under construction by late December 2005 or early 2006, will be remodeled, since they may get around government restrictions around the end of this year.

One company building 30 and 40 pyeong apartment houses to be completed by the first half of the year has put up a placard that reads “free balcony extensions” and “14 pyeong increase in net floor area”, around its site since last weekend.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com