Ar Manish Kumat, Founder and Chief Designer, Manish Kumat Design Cell, Indore
How important it is to pay attention to structural safety?
Buildings are designed in various geographical regions, where the soil/strata conditions vary from place to place. As the land is becoming more and more expensive, builders are increasingly going for high rise buildings. Such buildings again demand for a specialist structural designer to take care of seismic and wind load conditions. There have been instances in the past, when the buildings have just collapsed because the structure was not designed competitively. For all of the above reasons, structural safety has become very important.
What are the challenges faced by architects in taking the necessary steps?
Architects now are increasingly aware about the structural challenges. They insist the structural designer to give detailed drawings along with design calculations. The moment sealed and signed drawings are received, it indirectly assures the client of the seriousness. The architects have to integrate not only the structural drawings but also the services drawings in totality, with the architectural drawings. To make this integration smooth lots of software are used by design practices.
Low quality raw materials seem to be a major concern in the structural safety. Your views?
Each and every material used to make the building is very important in terms of the durability criteria as specified by the ISI code. Bad sand or improper aggregate can spoil the strength of concrete. Reinforcement from non branded players of inferior quality with no proper test reports can also play with the structural safety of the buildings. Lots of big corporate are now manufacturing cement and steel, which has resulted into a quality improvement. But still sand and aggregates, which are local material, are not yet standardised. This is the grey area, which needs to be addressed.
What role can the government play in ensuring structural safety in buildings?
Government should make it mandatory for all architects to get the structural design done by qualified and experienced structural designer. Structural designer should sign and give certificate of structural safety to the client. A team from structural designers’ office should periodically inspect site at strategic junctures and then take responsibility of the stability of the building. Government should also empanel structural designers of repute. The certificate from the structural designer at the end of the project would be a good measure to ensure the structural safety.
A team from structural designers’ office should periodically inspect site at strategic junctures and then take responsibility of the stability of the building.
Any other thoughts on the issue you would like to share.
I appreciate Surfaces Reporter for raising this important concern and making readers aware about the much ignored structural safety aspect in India. SR may also interview few structural designers and can request them to prepare a check list of Do’s and Dont’s for the fraternity. This check list may be made separately for different types of buildings. The age old knowledge of visual soil inspection by seeing and touching can also be documented. I also feel some research on effect of depleting ground water resource on the bearing capacity of soil should be studied