From getting scans of the building to know its structural stability to testing samples for making a solution to clean it up, a variety of tests are being done at the Secretariat building in the Capitol Complex these days as part of a process to restore the building that has suffered from weathering over the years.
As Chandigarh vies for the UNESCO heritage status for the Capitol Complex, the three buildings which constitute it, namely the Secretariat, the Assembly and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, are to be spruced up. In the first phase, work has started on the Secretariat building. The second phase will involve the Assembly and in the third phase the high court building will be taken up.
Experts from the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, are doing the preliminary work, after which a detailed project report will be prepared. Based on this, the restoration work will start.
One of the major problems is the blackening of the concrete over a period of time. Experts from CBRI took samples of algae and other matter that has affected the building. These were tested in the lab, samples of two solutions prepared, and these were put on the building. After a month, the samples were removed to see the effect. The effort is to ensure that after the restoration of the building, algae cannot affect it in future.
A variety of non-disruptive tests have been done at the Secretariat. One of these involves scanning of the building, which comprises six eight-storeyed blocks. The scanning of four storeys has been done. After the scan, computer images of the structure will be made. This will help in knowing the structural strength of the building.
The administration does not have the original structural plans of the buildings of the Capitol Complex. Through scanning, the plans will be made. This will also enable knowing the strength of the material used. Another aspect tested will be the earthquake resistance of the buildings.
An official of the administration says that at the time the Capitol Complex was constructed, there were no techniques to ascertain whether a building was earthquake-resistant. The stability will be tested now. In case, the structure is found to be weak, measures will be taken to strengthen it. The effect of the internal changes on the strength of the structures will also be ascertained.
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