Safety com­pro­mised in build­ings

In­dia’s struc­tures are built for min­i­mum dam­age con­trol THE FOUR PER­FOR­MANCE LEV­ELS OF BUILD­INGS

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Van­dana Ram­nani Fully op­er­a­tional level: Im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy per­for­mance level Life safety per­for­mance level Col­lapse preven­tion per­for­mance level

It’s a safety stan­dard that’s ‘barely there,’ say hous­ing ex­perts. Most build­ings in In­dia are de­signed at a ‘col­lapse preven­tion level’ – which is a min­i­mum per­for­mance stan­dard. In coun­tries around the world – safety of life is pri­ori­tised.

De­vel­op­ers ad­her­ing to such low stan­dards can take the easy way out and not be held re­spon­si­ble in case there is ex­ten­sive dam­age to their build­ings af­ter a calamity like an earth­quakes. It also costs money to main­tain strin­gent safety stan­dards. The code should clearly state that one is free to de­sign build­ings of a higher grade, ex­perts add.

The Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Guide­lines for en­sur­ing dis­as­ter re­silient con­struc­tion of build­ings and in­fra­struc­ture fi­nanced through banks and other lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions were brought out in 2010. Th­ese clearly spell out the ex­pected per­for­mance of build­ings (8.2.1) and as­sess the safety of build­ings in four cat­e­gories (see box be­low). “The guide­lines men­tion that the build­ing should be de­signed so as to meet the min­i­mum per­for­mance level, but it does not state any­where that peo­ple are free to de­sign for higher stan­dards. Th­ese are some of its ad­min­is­tra­tive flaws,” says a seis­mic ex­pert.

To­day, low safety stan­dards are set de­spite the mod­ern tech­nolo­gies be­ing avail­able to de­sign safe build­ings and main­tain­ing ‘im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy’ (a solid struc­ture which has all chances of sur­viv­ing a quake). In the un­for­tu­nate event of a build­ing col­laps­ing the struc­tural de­signer can claim that he can­not be held ac­count­able as he has fol­lowed the code which re­quires min­i­mum safety stan­dards. He’ll This means the build­ing in the af­ter­math of a quake has ev­ery chance of re­main­ing op­er­a­tional with elec­tric­ity, air con­di­tion­ing, lifts etc all work­ing. No dam­age is likely in the build­ing and its func­tions are not likely to be dis­rupted means a build­ing can re­main in­tact af­ter an earth­quake but its ser­vices are likely to get dam­aged. The func­tion­ing of such build­ings are likely to re­sume im­me­di­ately af­ter a quake sim­ply say that the struc­ture is weak be­cause it con­forms to the min­i­mum re­quire­ment, the ex­pert adds. means the struc­ture can get dam­aged in an earth­quake but such dam­ages are likely to be mi­nor and can be re­pared. There could be sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the build­ing but it would not col­lapsed and could be retro­fit­ted means the build­ing and its util­i­ties can sus­tain ma­jor dam­age in an earth­quake. The struc­ture can also be in the dan­ger of col­laps­ing com­pletely. The build­ing can also be­come un­in­hab­it­able af­ter a quake

The cost of build­ing a struc­ture at an im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy level comes to 300 per sq ft more than col­lapse preven­tion level.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.