01/24/2012 06:23 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

Excavator Perched On 12-Story Building In Taiyuan, China (PHOTOS)

An excavator sits perched on the roof of a 12-story building in Taiyuan, China, as its operator stands by, apparently unconcerned by the fact that his excavator is perched on the roof of a 12-story building.

"Safety regulations? What safety regulations?" This excavator operator must be a man who scoffs at the notion of safety harnesses. He must be a thrill-seeker or daredevil.

More likely, he is a man that must work to feed his family no matter what the potential hazards of the job. Life in construction/demolition in China is a dangerous, poorly regulated game. Often, it takes a monumental disaster or tragedy for there to be a chance at changing the way things are done. Excavators will continue to operate on building tops until one falls off onto a passing bus.

If there is one thing China does not lack, however, it is manpower. The Chinese government encourages the use of manual labor as much as possible as it supplies the nation's 1.3 billion people with more jobs. So assuming disaster doesn't strike, these kinds of projects provide more opportunities for Chinese labor to work over a longer period of time.

From a commenter on Chinasmack:

Trying to import some automated machines for a government project, they blocked the shipment and send the machines back to Europe. They usually just give you a certain target they would like to achieve, but with the requirement that everything is done in china by Chinese labour. Space and manpower was never the problem.

I was always asked: how many thousand people you need? We have many! how much space? We will build it!

That this method of demolition can work is not in doubt, and the "hoist the excavator to the building top with a crane" is not uncommon in China. Last year, an 18-story residential tower in Taizhou, China, was torn apart by excavators crane-lifted to the top.

In a country where 30-story buildings can be completed in just 15 days, it becomes less surprising to see them taken down by such dubious means.

For more photos, head over to

China Rooftop Excavator Photos