In a bid to shift the onus of structural stability of a building on developers, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte has made building proposal approvals more stringent. Builders will now have to ensure that precautionary measures are in place during designing, construction and maintenance of a proposed building.
“Building proposals will be approved if all underground structural members are designed considering the effect of chlorinated water, sulphur water, seepage water… Due care while constructing the same should be taken and a completion certificate shall be insisted on before granting further certificate of commencement (CC) beyond the plinth from the licensed structural engineers,” says a February 4, 2014, circular issued by the office of municipal commissioner.
Civic officials said the “chances of building collapses often increase as the foundation of a structure is not as per the required structural stability measures. Underground water from drains might corrode the reinforced cement concrete (RCC) beams, which is the foundation of a building”.
Developers and architects, however, argue that such a directive is not foolproof.
“Various civic infrastructure such as storm water drains and sewage lines are damaged due to infrastructure work, causing seepage, which can affect a particular building. Also, while a building can ensure structural stability at the underground level, this exercise is useless if the neighbouring building has seepage problems,” said Shirish Sukhatme, president of the Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA).
A spate of recent building collapses has thrown light on the lack of structural stability of buildings in the city. In the Aftab Manzil collapse in June last year, which claimed 10 lives, the builder had made illegal alterations on the ground floor, including removal of beams and columns. In yet another case, an illegal building in Mumbra, which was constructed without any structural stability design, collapsed like a pack of cards killing 61 people in April last year.