Obviously, the city or county building department do not provide any warranty or accept any liability, even though they have signed off on the plans and later let it pass the inspections.
Think about it. The permit cost for a SFR house is maybe $25k (excluding school fees etc), but there is a liability of up to a few million Dollars.. that's just not going to work.
Most new houses have some defects that anyone with basic knowledge can see right away, but they did pass the final building inspection.
In a perfect world, the building inspector would be present during the entire construction, and monitor everything.
It's another issue that plans/ designs were accepted that seem to have failed.
Typically, in the beginning, a soils report is done and the soils engineer prescribes how the soil has to be prepared, what kind of foundation shall be done, etc.
I have done a project where the soils engineer was present during the beginning of the project for about 20 hours a week.. he oversaw that everything was done according to his soils report's prescriptions. I've done another project where the soils report was reviewed by the builder, but the engineer never came back to witness construction practices.
What I'm saying is, we don't know that it was built 100% according to the plans. The city would probably not have verified this.
The article says that the building leans to the North-West, but that underground project appears to be south of the highrise. I'm not a soils engineer, but it appears that... wait... I guess I figured it out.
Before they excavated for the tunnel, they "pumped more than $58 million into an underground buttressing system to shore up the Millennium"..
So they added support on the southern side, but not on the northern side. As a result it's leaning to the North now??
Well, I'm glad this is not my headache.