Structural audit of residential buildings on cards

The need for structural auditing of buildings and their re-development has been highlighted in draft Master Plan.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published:May 14, 2013 3:03 am

The need for structural auditing of buildings and their re-development has been highlighted in draft Master Plan.

With Chandigarh falling in Seismic Zone IV which makes it more prone to earthquakes,the UT Administration will get structural auditing of the residential buildings done. Certain areas have been identified where the auditing is recommended. A plan will then be drawn up on how these could be re-developed.

While the city is considered to be among the most planned ones,there are some areas where construction has taken place without the requisite clearances. Provisions have not been followed. The need for structural auditing of buildings and their re-development has also been highlighted in the draft of the Master Plan. A survey of some areas was conducted during the preparation of the Master Plan.

There are a large number of buildings in the city that were allotted as single-storeyed initially but have been constructed with additional floors without following structural safety norms. Such buildings will also be structurally audited. Most such houses are present in the rehabilitation colonies.

UT Chief Architect Sumit Kaur says since Chandigarh falls in a high seismic zone,there is a need for auditing the buildings. “Some areas have been identified where there is a need for structural auditing. Once auditing is done,plans will be drawn up for making these structures safe,” she said.

During the survey,certain problems were identified in the sectors. Some of the observations are that the brickwork is not of good quality and the mortar between bricks is not adequate. The majority of the walls are without plaster which makes them vulnerable to salt attack (rusting,peeling off of paint etc is the result of salt attack) and less durable. The clear space between the buildings on either side of the lane is not adequate due to cantilever projections on both sides.

The committee that conducted the survey has observed that four-storeyed non-engineered buildings are unsafe during earthquakes. Due to the height of the structures,large bending movements and sheer forces are developed at the base which a non-engineered building is unable to bear. It has been observed that staircases in some areas are resting on cantilever slabs which is not desirable.

Chandigarh in Seismic Zone IV

This region is in close proximity to the Himalayas. Near Chandigarh,the Himalayan Frontal Fault is quite adjacent to Ghaggar river,Patiala Ki Rao and contiguous to Mansa Devi temple. Tremors were experienced several times in the beginning of this month. Experts believe that a major earthquake may occur in the region in this century due to the presence of active strike faults and continuity in slip movements.

A project is being undertaken at Geology Department of Panjab University. IIIT Hyderabad,IIT Kanpur,NGRI Hyderabad and University of Tokyo have placed their relevant equipment at the department related to the DISANET project. The aim is to understand which zones can be marked as safe or unsafe. The study would help in looking at safe designs of buildings.

Dr R S Loyal,the chairman of Department of Geology,says that the Himalayas are the most seismically active zones in the world. Some models have been developed through which geologists can monitor change in certain element and rock properties,prior to occurrence of an earthquake. However,an accurate warning system is still not in place. He stressed the importance of constructing structurally safe buildings.

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