Building Collapse: Frequent inspection of old structures, quality material to help – The Indian Express

Written by Anuj Puri |
Published:September 2, 2017 1:11 am

Mumbai building collapse: Members of the NDRF and the Mumbai Fire Brigade carry out rescue operations at the collapse site in Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai. (Express Photo)

In the past few years, there have been continuous incidences of collapsing old constructions in India. According to data from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), more than 14,000 people have died during the 2010-2015 period due to dilapidated building’s collapse. On an average, 2,700 people lose their lives in different structural breakdowns every year. Across all the major cities in India, Mumbai has been witnessing the highest cases of structural collapses. Between 2010 and 2015, there have been about 13,470 incidences of structural collapse in India and Mumbai alone accounted for 1,366, which is above 10 per cent of total incidences. The collapses of buildings, specifically the old constructions, have been continuously increasing in past years.

The life span of any building depends on many factors which includes quality of building materials, external weather condition, structural design and age of the structure. However, it has been noticed in recent past that many collapses happened due to negligence of residents living in these old constructions. Most of the times, these old buildings are left dilapidated and never refurbished, even in many cases where residents had noticed severe cracks begin to appear in the building, just because
there were no actions taken, it resulted in eventual collapse.

The age of construction is one of the most crucial factors related to a building stability. With the time, building materials get deteriorated. Old buildings are prone to dilapidate faster, because usage of old conventional building materials like mud mortar and galvanised pipe’s plumbing system. Houses approaching a construction age of 15 years or more, should be regularly inspected, repaired and if needed redeveloped. Since, cross checking all aspects of construction may not be possible for a resident by himself, the services of an independent auditor can be very beneficial. It will most likely provide a safeguard against unpleasant surprises of collapsing building in India.

There are a few initiatives already being promoted by the Niti Aayog in India, helping in continuous quality certifications and audits with association of Durocrete Construction Quality Rating Agency and the Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC).

Following is the key inspection checklist and its intensity/frequency (based on age of the construction), which residents should regularly inspect or get inspected and if required, should get repaired, redevelop or vacate the place based on severity of dilapidation.

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