A year after the Dockyard Road building collapse that claimed 67 lives, a general recommendation report, drafted by the BMC’s own committee, enlists various measures, including strict prohibition of any alterations to dilapidated buildings that can lead to an additional load on the existing structures.
The recommendation report, accessed by Newsline, comes in the wake of the Dockyard Road building collapse, after which it was concluded that illegal alterations on the ground floor of the 33-year-old structure led to its collapse on September 27 last year. The report says, “If alterations are to be permitted, additional load should be accounted for in the original design or a licensed structural engineer should establish the stability of the entire building to bear the load. False ceiling and cladding to columns is not recommended in old buildings, as the deterioration remains unnoticed and hidden.”
While an earlier structural audit report on the Dockyard Building, conducted by Pentacle Consultants, was termed ‘ambiguous’ by BMC, the new recommendation report emphasises that “the conclusion or recommendation of the structural audits should be unambiguous.” The report by Pentacle Consultants had said the building’s condition was “not bad.”
The report also calls for a review of the existing system of structural audits, where repairs are feasible at an early stage and not only after the structure has been declared dangerous to live in. Apart from this, it recommends immediate spot repairs and propping to be taken on an urgent basis for old buildings. It emphasises on stringent quality control mechanisms and increasing public awareness on the same. It also insists that interior decorators should be allowed to carry out work in old buildings only after the certification and supervision of a licensed structural engineer.
There are more than 160 certified licensed structural engineers empaneled with the civic body.
The report states that early evacuation should be considered in case of structures being “severely stressed” and be stabilised by propping.
It recommends that overhead tank water levels should be restricted at 50 per cent for buildings that are over 30 years old.
“The responsibility of carrying out structural audits for buildings more than 30 years old still remains with the respective owners, but we will take complete cognizance of the recommendation report for its implementation,” said a senior
The report necessitates a proper study of the structural frames even after evacuation to undertake repairs.
“It is also necessary to monitor the building during repairs and after repairs prior to allowing reoccupation,” it says.