The purpose of a structural audits of buildings is to evaluate the general health of an old structure, whether it is occupied or not. It is crucial to assess a building’s performance and make the public aware of any weaknesses since some structures have decreased in durability as a result of climatic changes and structural flaws, which might be very harmful to the occupants and their lives. With the aid of destructive testing and NDT, it is relatively simple to determine the health performance of a structure, which is why audits of buildings play a crucial part in safety audit and is thus even more critical.
NDT’s main goals are to comprehend, detect, safeguard, and analyze stress and formulations while also providing solutions for repairs. An ancient building is given a rebound hammer and UPV test to determine its current state, and after that, the results of evaluating the average compressive strength of concrete based on the rebound hammer reveal that the structure is critical and questionable.
Here are 5 important facts about structural audits of Buildings;
1. Structure Audit is Mandatory
The local civic body (BMC) amended the MMC Act by inserting section 353-B, which ostensibly makes it mandatory for the building owners (Society) to conduct a “Structural Audit” for ALL those buildings which are over 30 years old.
This was done in consideration of all the aforementioned and other annoyance factors. The age of the structure is established either by default or using the “Completion Certificate” that BMC issued at the time the structure was finished.
2. Building Collapse Occurs As a Consequence of Inadequate Structural Audits of Buildings
Due to poor maintenance and/or repairs of these structures over time, as well as a severe lack of funding and/or blatant disregard by the occupants for their own homes, there have been repeated incidents of these buildings collapsing. Even simple maintenance tasks like painting and plastering building walls as well as fixing rusted and leaky sewage pipes go unattended, which shortens the lifespan of these structures. According to a statistics analysis by the National Crime Records Bureau, there have been 448 building collapses in Maharashtra in the last 10 years, resulting in the deaths of over 425 people and the injuries of countless more.
3. Failure to Conduct a Structural Audits of Buildings is Punishable
ONLY a structural engineer appointed by the BMC may undertake a structural audit.
Failure to carry out the specified structural audit would result in BMC prosecution, a fine, and REVOCATION of the building’s “Occupancy Certificate,” which would result in a doubling of water rates under Section 92 of the MMC Act and an increase in property tax.
4. What a Structural Audit Entails
The term Structural Audit refers to a building’s whole structure, including the strength of the building’s columns, beams, pillars, iron bars, and plaster, as well as its sewage and water pipeline systems, electrical wiring, lifts, and podiums. a) There are different structural audit criteria for residential, commercial, and industrial structures. b) With the complicity of the complacent Society office holders, some “quack” type structural auditors conduct a cursory examination and provide the Society with a modified report of structural audits of buildings.
The following would be reflected by a “prudent” structural engineer in his report of structural audits of buildings, stressing the pertinent municipal law infractions while leaving the building’s approved plans in plain view:
- Any modifications to and violations of sanctioned plans and approved plans. Whether the building was constructed in accordance with the approved building plans
- Access to authorized and sanctioned building plans, IOD, CC, OC
- Modifications to the structures’ Columns, Beams, and Pillars
- Replacement of restroom, kitchen, and installation water tanks in the loft
- Extending the balcony or covering it
- knocking down internal walls separating rooms
- Internally combining (connecting) two apartments by knocking down partition walls and doors
- Installing overhanging grills, sheds, and chajjas
- Basement conversions OR stilt/podium parking for any other use (such as offices, shops, etc.)
- The presence of unpermitted lofts and mezzanine floors in the structure
- Any other encroachment on common spaces, refuge areas, and society property
- The installation of unpermitted mobile towers and hoardings, and the detrimental effects of the same on the structure
- Common Electrical Wiring System
- Changes in Internal /External Drainage /Sewage lines
- Ground and Overhead Water Tanks, Water Meters, and supply pipelines
- Water logging around the periphery of the Building and reverse incline level of the ground
- Detailed report on the repair
5. Structural Auditing Methods
The structural engineer must by law be a NEUTRAL authority, especially because any manipulations or falsified or false structural audits of buildings report would result in the structural engineer being prosecuted on criminal charges. A skilled structural engineer would perform a number of tests to ascertain the degree of corrosion, distress, and loss of strength in steel and concrete. Some of the tests include
- Concrete Core Cutting and Compression Testing for Columns, Beams, and Slabs for Concrete Strength Assessment
- The possibility of corrosion in the implanted steel is assessed using the half cell potential test (optional)
- Steel carbonation test for measuring steel carbonation depth
- Concrete strength evaluation using the ultrasonic pulse velocity test (UPV)
- Integrity tests and other testing procedures for pile foundations
Note that the tests listed above must be carried out by an experienced structural engineer and NOT by junior assistants or trainees since they are very sophisticated examinations.