Building collapsed as renovations increased pressure on beams: BMC

Interim report on Aftab Manzil blames it on dead load,residents may face action

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 2, 2013 2:42 am

BMC’s interim report on the Mahim building collapse last month suggests that increasing dead load pressure on the structure’s beams over the years led to the incident. If the final report corroborates this,the civic body may take action against residents found responsible.

Aftab Manzil partially collapsed on June 10,killing 10 persons and injuring seven. The residents had claimed that illegal alterations carried out by the owner of the ground-floor car showroom led to the incident. However,the civic body’s report does not say this yet.

“According to the interim report,the collapse may have happened due to dead load pressure. If the final report concludes the same,we will prosecute the residents of the building responsible for this,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani.

“The dead load may have been created during renovations. Instead of removing damaged flooring,new tiles were laid over old ones,increasing the pressure on the building’s beams,” Adtani said.

He added that the final report with the chemical analysis of 30 debris samples would be submitted in three weeks.

Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte last week said a structural audit of the building had been carried out by residents in 2012. Architect Chetan Raikar had been appointed for the audit. The audit report had said the building was in a dangerous condition and required immediate repairs worth Rs 30 lakh. “For some reason,the residents could not gather the funds. However,they were aware that the building was not safe,” said Kunte.

About a fortnight ago,Rizwan Merchant,who lost three family members in the collapse,met Kunte to submit proof of complaints made against illegal alterations / additions to the building that could have led to the collapse.

After the BMC’s prima facie report stated that the collapse was due to poor construction material,Kunte ordered the administration to check old files again and conduct a fresh probe. Three civic officials from the G-North ward’s Building & Factories (B&F) department were suspended. An inquiry was instituted against them and two retired officials,including former ward officer Narayan Pai.

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