- Water condensation on some of the bedroom windows. I am not referring to the misty layer we see on glass when it meets cold air. This is water-droplets-rolling-down-the-window-on-to-the-floor condensation. Enough to cause the beginning of fungal growth on the curtains. Apparently this is not unique to our house. Others in the neighbourhood have been similarly affected. The contractor has tried replacing the double-glazed windows in vain. Those who have studied physics can probably surmise that the problem lies with poor insulation between the outer & inner surface of the exterior layer of glass resulting in the great temperature difference resulting in the water condensing on the warmer surface (i.e. inside surface of the window). But the contractor is waiting for warmer weather before commencing corrective work on this problem. Meantime, we live with towels perpetually placed on the window sills to absorb the water; otherwise we may end up with warped wooden floors.
- One particular toilet that always gets blocked. The maintenence guys say that this particular model has narrow & curved pipes leading out. Problem with this explanation is that the other two toilets have the exact same model of toilet bowl, but do not get clogged at all. Solutions they have offered include a) use less paper b) use paper but don't throw it down the loo...throw it in the trash basket instead.....EEEEWWWWW!!!!!
- Hot water (think sauna-steaming hot) that comes out the cold water faucet. We have to let it run for a few minutes before the water turns cold enough to not cook your flesh. Two contractors & two estate management guys were here yesterday trying to figure out the reason why. They held a long philosophical discussion on the workings of hot & cold water piping. After 2 hours, they were still at a loss as to what may be the problem. One guy suggested turning off the hot water supply for a day & see whether the same thing happens (duh). Next step: ask the boiler guy for his opinion.
- Heat rises (at least that's what I was taught in Science in Primary school). We have floor heating; however the coldest part of the house is on the top level. I think that during construction, the contractor must have tried to save on insulation & neglected to include the roof when putting in the insulating layer.
Speaking with long time residents of Beijing (& probably this applies to the rest of China as well),many contractors take short cuts to save cost & time. On the exterior, everything may look fine & dandy. But over time, faults start to show due to poor quality of material used, or due to replacement of original imported parts by sub-standard ones (they can then sell off the originals for a profit).
Due to this lack of quality control & standards, the "Made In China" label will take some time to be recognised as world class...