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[Editorial] The “Balcony Confusion” Exposes Poor Level of Administrative Services

[Editorial] The “Balcony Confusion” Exposes Poor Level of Administrative Services

Posted October. 25, 2005 07:25,   


The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) initially announced that it would legalize balcony expansion constructions for houses from next January, but it advanced the legalization to the end of this November, succumbing to demand for early action. The scraping of an obsolete regulation that rendered most apartment residents as criminals and caused huge costs should be welcomed. However, government administration directly related to everyday life is still not meeting public demands and remains distanced from the convenience of the public.

The legalization revealed that an unnecessary regulation has long been maintained. The MOCT said that since load standards have been strengthened since 1992, expansion constructions wouldn’t pose a threat to safety. This means that excessive regulation has persisted for more than 10 years. The construction sector and scholars have demanded deregulation, saying, “Thanks to the designing and construction technology development, expanding balconies into living rooms or bedrooms will not compromise structural safety.” The government has ignored this, and the construction sector believes that the government then played it as a card to revive the construction business which has been frozen since the August 31 Real Estate Comprehensive Policy.

The “zig-zagging” regulation was typical of a regulation that does not take into account the convenience of the public. It was only a few months ago that thousands of apartment flats in Songdo New City in Incheon and Haeundae and Dongrae in Busan were ordered to undo their balcony expansion constructions after a crackdown. Later, deregulation came as if no crackdown had ever taken place, causing financial loss to residents who undid their construction, intimidated by the crackdown and possible forced implementation fees.

The MOCT planned to legalize balcony expansion starting from next January initially, but in the end advanced that at the strong protest from future residents who plan to move in to apartment flats at the end of the year. Seventy eight thousand households planning to move in this December are now able to avoid “post-residence” expansion constructions amid the noise, dust, and other inconveniencies. It has also been confirmed that the government can finish everything without delay from legislation announcement to publishing of the official gazette.

The MOCT is not the only government organization that infuriated and annoyed the public. The government should have dealt with the Chinese kimchi issue from the public’s perspective of food insecurity caused by kimchi served in restaurants. An administrative service requires more than just a public official in charge. It stands on the basis of meeting the needs of the public.