Rush job on projects may lead to mishaps
Hurried attempts at finishing projects before elections or events can lead to serious lapses in construction and design quality
The por t i on of t he Kolkata flyover that caved in last week killing 24 people was described as an “act of god” by an official of the construction company, H yd e r ab a d - b a s e d I V RC L . Experts later claimed that it was a design flaw and the pressure to complete the structure before polls that led to the disaster.
There have been several “technical f ailures” in our country, most of them to do with meeting timelines before elections or major events such as the Commonwealth Games held in 2010. Structural engineers point out t hat t hey are often under pressure to complete a project at the last minute to meet deadlines and that there are serious lapses in quality control both with regard to the materials used, t he st r ucture and l ack of continuous monitoring and checking.
“There i s a big question mark on the quality of concrete used,” says Abhay Gupta, Skeleton Escom Consultants Pvt Ltd. Every project should have a quality inspector, who is independent of the project manager, to report on quality issues as peoples’ lives are involved, he says. For infrastructure projects such as bridges and elevated roads, it is very important to follow a construction sequence and to test soil conditions to ensure there is no liquefaction.
Though some governments are t rying t o simplify t he approval procedure required for completing structures, what is lacking in our system is the fact that engineers who clear the design and the structural aspects of a building are not licensed engineers, say experts.
Manoj Mittal, structural consultant and vice president, Indian Association of Structural Engineers, says, “Quality checks are necessary for all structures. In India, the certification system is lacking and this is because engineering as a profession is not regulated by an Act of Parliament. There is no system by way of which one can verify whether a person is a competent professional or not. Often there are no quality checks on part of the authorities involved in executing the project. Any private engineer can issue a certificate and the authority cannot be held accountable for any disasters or mishaps.”
As f ar as construction is concerned, there is need for an