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Buildings & Its Engineering

Early Deterioration in New Buildings In Mumbai, it is common to come across old buildings needing major repair. Occasionally we also find buildings, which are in a dilapidated condition and unfit for occupation. When a building has given you about 25 to 30 years of service without much maintenance or repair, it is reasonable to expect that it would need major repair sooner or later. The main causes for this are ageing and inadequate maintenance and care. However, occasionally we come across relatively new buildings needing major structural repair. With an age of less than 15 years (in some cases even less than 8 years) such buildings are found to be in a very bad structural and general health. This premature deterioration is largely due to the poor quality of construction rather than ageing and maintenance. Let us understand the probable causes for this. Materials: Bad quality of the materials used for construction can lead to early deterioration. The most common suspect is the sand, which is used in almost all works. If the sand used had excessive silt, organic materials or chlorides (such as the creek sand), it can adversely affect the basic skeleton of the building consisting of RCC, masonry and plaster. Chlorides lead to early and faster corrosion of reinforcement. If the external walls of the building are made of 6" thick concrete block walls cast with such sand, the situation can become worse. Use of high grade cement for masonry and plaster can lead to cracking due to the high heat of hydration released during mixing. Bad quality of other materials also cannot be ruled out. Workmanship: Substandard workmanship during construction can also affect the structure adversely. In RCC, this can be in the form of honeycombing of concrete (porous concrete) or inadequate concrete cover to reinforcement, or both. Honeycombing is due to insufficient compaction of concrete, whereas inadequate cover is due to improper placement of bars. These lead to early corrosion of reinforcement especially in thin structural members. In masonry and plaster, bad workmanship may be in the form of loosely filled joints (within walls or between external walls and beams/ columns) and hollow plaster respectively, both of which lead to early and excessive seepage. If your external walls are made up of 6" thick concrete blocks, the situation can become worse. Some of these deficiencies may become evident only after the first 5 to 7 years. Lapses in workmanship may also exist in plumbing, waterproofing (toilets and terrace) and other works. Proximity to sea/ creek: Many of the relatively new but severely distressed buildings in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are found in the locations, which are close to sea or creek. The corrosion of reinforcement observed in the structural members (columns, beams, slabs) in some of them can be alarming. It is mainly because of the high concentration of chlorides and sulphates in the ground water and saline weather, aggravated by substandard materials and workmanship. The high and low tides of the sea can cause severe structural distress, especially on the ground floor. Dampness can rise from soil also and an

absence of a damp proof course at the bottom of the walls can allow the dampness to rise quite high. Other causes: In some cases it is found that during its construction, the work was stopped, probably due to lack of permissions or due to a dispute, and the structural frame was exposed to sun, rain and misuse for a long duration. Such prolonged exposure to weather can reduce the strength and durability of the building frame. Rampant alterations can lead to destabilization of external walls, especially if they are concrete block walls; and this can cause excessive seepage during monsoon. Imposing elevations, excessive facades, narrow ducts etc create inaccessible areas, which can be difficult to attend to during routine maintenance. The causes of premature deterioration in relatively new buildings are different from those for old buildings and therefore the approach for the repair (or rather restoration) of such buildings should be quite different from the repair of old buildings. The process should start with a thorough visual survey by your consultant followed by non-destructive testing of the structural frame and chemical tests on concrete, reinforcement and ground water. Repair/ restoration of the main structural frame should be accorded highest priority while allocating funds for the work. If the foregoing discussion applies to your building, you need to act quickly. RCC Framed Buildings Most of the multistoried buildings found in the urban landscape of Mumbai are RCC Framed Structures. RCC stands for "Reinforced Cement Concrete", wherein reinforcement in the form of steel bars is embedded in concrete for required strength. RCC enables construction of tall buildings, buildings with complex shapes and building with stilts. Such a building consists of various structural elements connected to one another as a framework so that it behaves as one unit. Walls in such structures are constructed after the frame is ready and are not meant to support any load. Structural Elements: RCC frame consists of the following elements: 1. Flat ceiling of a room called a 'Slab'. 2. Horizontal members supporting a slab called 'Beams'. 3. Vertical members supporting the beams called 'Columns'. A specially designed long column is called a 'Shear Wall'. 4. The underground system transferring the load of the building to the soil called 'Foundation'. Also, there are other RCC elements such as chajjas, lofts, staircase, lift wall, water tanks, features provided for general aesthetics etc. Loads on Buildings: There are basically two types of loads, which a structure must support.

1. Gravity load: These act vertically downward and can be further divided into 'Dead Load' and 'Live Load'. Dead load consists of the weight of the structure itself including the frame, walls, plaster, flooring, waterproofing, fixed furniture etc. Live load constitutes the transient loads such as the weight of people, movable furniture, furnishings, domestic equipment etc. 2. Lateral loads: These act horizontally on the building. The most common lateral loads are wind load and earthquake load. These are occasional loads and may act in any direction. They may also cause a building to move back and forth or even to vibrate. Load Transfer: Load transfer means to support the loads acting on the building and to safely carry them down to the soil below. In a framed building, the loads are transferred by 'Frame Action'. First the loads are transferred from slabs to beams. Beams then transfer them to columns immediately below them. These columns transfer the loads to lower columns. While a beam carries the load for that floor only, a column carries the load for all the floors above it. The lowermost columns transfer the loads to the foundation, which, in turn, transfers them to the soil. Common Types of Foundations: The common types of foundations adopted for RCC framed buildings are: 1. Footings: In these, sufficient area of contact with soil is provided around each column when good soil is available at a shallow depth. 2. Raft foundation: This is used when basement is to be provided and good soil is not available at a shallow depth. In this case the entire base slab of the basement transfers the load to the soil. 3. Pile foundation: This type is used when the loads to be supported are large and firm soil is not available at a shallow depth. In this case, loads are transferred to the deep rock by using vertical piles. Understanding Structural Audit Need The general health and performance of a building depends on its quality of maintenance. As a building grows old, it becomes more vulnerable due to ageing, use (or misuse) and exposure to the environment. This can affect the health of the building significantly. Therefore, as the building becomes older, it is advisable to monitor its health periodically by taking a professional opinion. This is similar to the periodic health checkup recommended for older people. What is Structural Audit? Structural Audit is a preliminary technical survey of a building to assess its general health as a civil engineering structure. It is based on visual survey by a competent consultant who lists his observations and recommendations in form of a Structural

Audit Report. It is usually initiated as the first step for repair. A methodology for Structural Audit was first presented by the Indian Society of Structural Engineers. Provisions in Bye-Law: Model bye-law no. 77 specifies Structural Audit as a mandatory (necessary and binding) requirement. It stipulates that if the age of a building is 15 to 30 years, Structural Audit must be carried out once in 5 years and for buildings older than 30 years it should be carried out once in 3 years. You may, however, go for it even earlier if you suspect the condition of your building to be bad. Who can carry out Structural Audit? In major cities like Mumbai, the municipal corporations maintain a panel of civil/ structural engineers who are licensed as consultants to carry out structural design of new buildings. Such engineers can carry out Structural Audit. There is no separate panel prepared for Structural Audit. In less urban areas, engineers who are registered with local authorities may carry out Structural Audit. In other areas where there is no system of registration, engineers who are members of the Institution of Engineers or Indian Society of Structural Engineers may carry out Structural Audit. Scope of Structural Audit: Structural Audit broadly consists of two types of surveys. The External Survey covers building faces, common areas (stilts, staircase, terrace, projections etc), surroundings and ancillary structures (pump room, compound wall, water tanks etc). The Internal Survey covers individually owned units such as apartments, shops etc. All units must be surveyed, except those, which are inaccessible. Members can also brief the Consultant about their specific observations/ experiences. The Managing Committee should provide the Consultant with information about the building's repair history. Common instruments used are a light tapping hammer, damp detector, spirit level, magnifying glass etc. The Consultant must have adequate experience and good engineering judgment to correlate his observations to draft unambiguous and useful recommendations concerning the general health of the building. Further action by the CHS would depend on the recommendations of the Report. More About Structural Audit Structural Audit is a preliminary technical survey of a building to assess its general health as a civil engineering structure. Let us understand some of its finer aspects. Scope & exclusions: Quite often the word structural refers to the building frame, which supports loads and which is often in RCC. However, structural audit not only covers such frame but also masonry, plaster, painting, plumbing, waterproofing etc which can affect the strength or durability of the building if not maintained properly. Following exclusions from the scope are also noteworthy: * Tools such as a tapping hammer, damp detector etc should be used, but nondestructive testing is excluded.

* Visible effects of internal alterations should be documented, but not consumption of FSI. * Type of repair required should be specified, but not its cost estimate. * Remarks on general health of the building should be given, but assessment of foundation and structural stability are excluded. Observations/ data: Auditors report is based on: * Visual survey of building * Feedback from the members * Repair history of building * Drawings, if available Structural auditor should maintain a comprehensive checklist of observations. He should also correlate the observations before giving his remarks & recommendations. Difficulties during survey: Due to the following constraints, some distress may not be visible: * Newly plastered/ painted building * Locked flats/ inaccessible areas * Wall cladding/ false ceiling * Heavy/ fixed furniture Maximum possible data should be collected using member feedback forms. Contents of report: The Report should cover: * Information about Society * Description of buildings * Info supplied by Society * Dates & mode of survey * List of areas, flats surveyed * General observations * Critical observations * Probable causes of distress * Remarks on structural health * Recommendations for further investigations, repair, strengthening * Suggestions on immediate measures, if necessary * Type of repair required, urgency & repair items Responsibilities: Commissioning structural audit and implementing the recommendations of the report are the responsibilities of the managing committee of each cooperative housing society (CHS). Submission of the report to the Society marks the end of the auditor's

scope of work. The structural auditor is responsible only to the extent of the correctness of his observations listed in the report and the soundness of his remarks and recommendations. Beyond the byelaws: Structural audit is mandatory for CHS and its provisions are as given in byelaw no. 77. However, broadly it should be seen as a periodic assessment of a building and is advisable for other buildings also. Structural audit is inexpensive and gives useful information to the owners of buildings or managing committee of CHS so that they can take necessary steps for better upkeep of their buildings. More concerned people may carry out structural audit earlier and more frequently than provided for in the byelaws. Self survey of your building Byelaw no. 156 of the Cooperative Housing Societies (CHS) states that "It shall be the responsibility of the Managing Committee to maintain the property of the Society in good condition at all times". It is, therefore, important that the committee members keep track of the condition of the building regularly. Further, Byelaw no. 157 requires that "the Secretary, on receipt of any complaints from any members about maintenance of the property, or on his own motion, shall inspect the property of the Society from time to time and make a report to the Committee, stating the need of repairs, if any, considered necessary". Such an inspection may be called "Self Survey". Let us understand the basic aspects of Self Survey. When to survey? The byelaws say nothing about when and how often such inspections should be carried out. Nevertheless, it is advisable that they should be carried out at least once a year, preferably after the first month of monsoon (say in July). An additional inspection sometime in March is also recommended especially for the building faces and common areas. A critical situation may also warrant an urgent inspection. How to survey? The intended mode of such an inspection is visual. The Secretary should go around in the building and flats and note down the distress/ deficiencies he observes. He may also take photographs of important observations. The Secretary may not have a technical background or experience. Therefore, if another member with some technical knowledge or experience accompanies him, the quality of inspection may be better. Before visiting the flats, the Committee may distribute a questionnaire and collect feedback from the members. Where to survey? Experience suggests that the following areas exhibit more distress than others and their condition can be treated as a barometer for the building's health. Therefore they should be inspected more carefully. External/ Common areas:

* Terrace * Staircase cabin * Lift room, pump room * West and south sides * Walls without windows * External side of staircase * Chowks and ducts * Water tanks * Porch, chajjas, balconies * Stilts/ parking area Apartments: * Top floor apartments * Ground floor apartments * Toilets, lofts, kitchen What to look for? Depending on the part being inspected, you should look for the following distress: RCC: Cracks, bulges, corrosion, sagging, dampness Walls: Cracks, seepage, sinking, loss of plaster, fungus Tiles: Cracks, hollowness, looseness Other: Leaking pipes, overloading, alterations, termites, rodents, absence of chajjas, weathered painting, paving Limitations: The self survey is preliminary and can only establish the need for repair of the building so that a repair consultant can be hired. It cannot substitute for a professional survey/ structural audit and should not be treated as adequate for carrying out repair work. Beyond the byelaws: While the byelaw talks about inspection by the Secretary, it also provides for "complaints from the members about maintenance". Therefore, the individual members of the CHS can also apply the above-mentioned criteria to their flats and common areas and send their observations to the managing committee. After all it is through such concern and participation only that you can maintain your building better. How healthy is your building? As per Byelaw No. 157 of the Co-operative Housing Societies (CHS), the Secretary should inspect the property of the Society from time to time so that the Managing Committee can decide whether repairs are necessary. This inspection or "self survey" is an ideal starting point for repairs. Following ready to use form may be used to carry out such a self survey.

Self Survey Form: The suggested self survey form below lists 29 parameters (points) grouped under various areas of the building. A list of commonly associated distress observations (such as cracks, seepage etc) is also given for most parameters as guideline. A) External building faces & stilts: 1) Columns & Beams Cracks, Bulging, Corrosion in RCC 2) Walls & Plaster (especially West & South) Cracks, Hollowness, Dampness 3) Chajjas, Porch, Balconies Cracks, Bulging, Corrosion in RCC 4) Drainage & Rainwater Pipes Leaking, Broken 5) Water Supply Pipes Corrosion, Low Pressure 6) Paint Weathering, Fading, Absence B) Staircase, Lobby & Passage: 7) Columns, Beams, Slabs, Parapets Cracks, Bulging, Corrosion in RCC 8) Walls & Plaster Cracks, Hollowness, Dampness, Vegetation 9) RCC Jali Cracks, Broken 10) Flooring Looseness, Cracks 11) Paint Weathering, Fading, Absence C) Terrace: 12) Terrace Slab Seepage into flats below 13) Waterproofing Cracks, Roughness, Absence 14) Staircase Cabin, Lift Room Cracks, Corrosion, Dampness in RCC & Walls 15) RCC Water Tank Cracks, Corrosion, Leaking 16) Parapet Wall & Plaster Cracks, Hollowness, Dampness, Vegetation 17)Loading Overloading D) Flats: (especially ground & top floor) 18) Columns, Beams Cracks, Bulging, Corrosion in RCC 19) Slabs, Lofts Cracks, Bulging, Corrosion in RCC 20) Walls & Plaster Cracks, Hollowness, Dampness, Seepage 21) Toilets & kitchen Seepage from above E) Other: 22) Termites (white ants) 23) Rodents (rats) 24) Water logging during monsoon 25) Choking of drainage 26) Cracks in compound wall 27) Cracks in Paving 28) Seepage, Cracks from Underground Tank 29) Cracks, Dampness in Pump room Who can use? While self survey is the responsibility of the Secretary (or the Managing Committee), it is also the duty of members to report important observations, pertaining to maintenance, to the Managing Committee. The self survey form is, therefore, useful to everyone who is concerned about the health of his/ her building. How to use? With a copy of the survey form in your hand, go around in your building visiting the area indicated. For each area, inspect the associated parameters. Using the associated

distress observations as guidelines, grade the health condition of the parameter on the scale Very bad/ Bad/ Fair/ Good/ Very good. Health Rating: Using simple arithmetic, you can calculate a numerical Health Rating Index (HRI) for your building. First assign a score for each observation as follows: Very bad= 2, Bad= 4, Fair= 6, Good= 8 and Very good= 10. Then add up the scores for all the parameters and divide by 29. The result would be your buildings HRI on a scale of 0 to 10. Conclusion: Depending on its HRI, on a consistent scale the general health of your building may be described as follows: Very bad= HRI upto 3.6, Bad= HRI upto 5.2, Fair= HRI upto 6.8, Good= HRI upto 8.4 and Very good= HRI greater than 8.4. If the general health is Fair or less than that, you should consult a repair consultant. Alterations within Flats Joint ownership of premises and sharing of common facilities are two very important aspects of Cooperative Housing Societies (CHS). Therefore, each member of the society should treat the structural stability of the building to be of paramount importance. Due to scarcity of space and an urge to renovate ones home, alterations within flats are very common. Sadly, many times, such alterations are carried out in a casual or reckless manner thereby compromising on the stability of the building. Before trying to find out a solution to this problem, let us first understand its nature. Common alterations: These may be as follows: * Modifying internal layout (e.g. removing walls, rearranging toilets) * Enclosing external areas by constructing walls (e.g. balcony, attached terrace) * Changing the mode of use (e.g. converting a large balcony or bath into kitchen, a kitchen into bedroom, or using the flat as an office or a store) * Creating fixed storage (e.g. lofts, niches, water storage tanks) * Providing or relocating utilities (e.g. a wash basin, bath tub, air conditioner) * Concealing or relocating electrical or plumbing pipes * Renovating flat (e.g. changing tiles, creating levels, stone furniture, false ceiling) Major alterations: A few examples of structurally intensive alterations are: * Extending balconies * Constructing a mezzanine * Combining adjacent flats with major alterations * Constructing internal staircase to connect upper and lower flats * Lowering the floor level in a ground floor flat Concerns:

Following are the main concerns here: * Structural damage * Damage to walls, plaster, waterproofing, plumbing etc * Overloading * Violation of municipal regulations * Change in the elevation (appearance) of building * Unsupervised work * Inconvenience to other members * Misuse of building premises or common facilities * Responsibility Common lapses: Following lapses/ problems are commonly observed for works of alteration: * A description & drawing of the intended work is not submitted to managing committee for approval. * A structural engineer is not consulted. * Work is carried out without permission of the managing committee. * The work actually carried out may be different from the proposed work. * Structural engineers certificate, if submitted, may be too general or vague and may not be accompanied by an approved drawing. * Permissions from the municipal corporation/ authorities are not obtained. * There is no provision for addressing problems likely to be faced by the neighbouring flats during or after such work. * An indecisive managing committee delays or disallows, without valid reasons, a safe proposal, which has been approved by a structural engineer. Control: Some alterations may be need based and reasonable whereas some other may be potentially risky for the building. It is, therefore, necessary to regulate them on a caseby-case basis. We can identify the following people (or entities), who can regulate alterations: 1. Owner of the flat concerned 2. Structural Consultant who checks the structural feasibility of the proposed work 3. Municipal Corporation or such other body in charge of the laws of development 4. Managing Committee of the CHS, which lays down the procedure for approving a proposal of alterations, monitors compliance by the owner, sets guidelines and conditions for the execution of the work and finally regularizes it. The role of the Managing Committee would be to control such proposals through a checklist.

Regulating Alterations within Flats Last week we discussed the nature of the problem of alterations in a Cooperative Housing Society (CHS). While it is not practical to disallow alterations as a policy, it is certainly possible and necessary to regulate them to ensure that they are safe and acceptable. The regulators: The people who can regulate alterations are: 1. Owner of the flat 2. Structural Consultant 3. Municipal Corporation or such Authority 4. Managing Committee of the CHS The Managing Committee (MC) can regulate the alterations by adopting the following step-by-step procedure: Steps: 1. First the owner prepares a description of the intended alterations and a plan depicting them. 2. Owner appoints a Structural Consultant at his cost, who inspects the flat and also the neighbouring flats, if necessary, and prepares a structural feasibility report covering: * Effect on structural stability of the building * Seepage into neighbouring flats * Internal structural repair necessary * List of precautions to be taken He should also sign the plan after marking remarks, if any. 3. If the alterations contain works for which permission from the municipal corporation/ such Authority is necessary, the owner obtains the same at his cost. 4. Owner applies to MC for permission, enclosing a copy of the feasibility report, approved plan and a copy of the permission from Authority (if applicable). He should also state the approximate cost and duration for the work. 5. MC studies the proposal and may seek a second opinion from another structural engineer, if necessary, at the owner's cost. Then it informs the owner in writing, within a reasonable time, about its acceptance, partial acceptance (wherein some items are rejected) or rejection of the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, MC may specify certain conditions such as * Security Deposit and the conditions for its refund/ forfeiture * Duration of execution of work and Defect Liability Period * Working days and hours * Any other conditions dealing with the probable damage to society's property and inconvenience to its members Security Deposit (a certain percentage of the approximate cost of alterations) is the amount the Society would hold as a security, to be used if the alterations give rise

to problems of cracks, seepage etc to the neighbouring flats or the Society's property and if the owner does not rectify them at his cost. The period within which such problems are to be reported is the Defect Liability Period. In case of partial acceptance or rejection, MC should give reasons for the same. 6. After accepting the conditions in writing and paying the security deposit, the owner may start the work. During the work MC may raise an objection or may stop the work if the conditions for proper execution of work are violated. 7. After the work is over, the Structural Consultant inspects the flat and issues a compliance certificate confirming that the work carried out is in accordance with the approved plan and specifications. 8. The owner submits the compliance certificate and the final certified plan to MC. 9. During the defect liability period, MC may direct the owner to repair or make good, at his cost, any distress observed in the neighbouring flats, building structure or common areas, which can be attributable to the work concerned. If the owner does not act within a reasonable period, MC may use the security deposit for that purpose. 10. On completion of the defect liability period, MC regularizes the work and refunds the balance security deposit to the owner. Beyond CHS: The procedure discussed above can also be used by commercial and industrial societies. Understanding Earthquakes Earthquakes are unpredictable natural disasters with a low probability of occurrence, but with unparalleled destruction. India has a long history of earthquakes. Let us understand this phenomenon. Anatomy of earth: Broadly earth consists of four layers. * Outermost "Crust" which is solid in nature exists up to a depth of 100 km from the surface of earth * "Mantle" which is liquid extends from 100 km to 2900 km * "Outer Core" is also liquid and lies from 2900 km to 5100 km * "Inner Core" which is solid extends from 5100 km to the center of earth which is 6378 km Earthquake: Earth's crust consists of several plates (disjointed pieces) of solid rock. There are 12 major plates in the world. These plates slowly but continuously slide over, under or past each other. Due to their movement and the resulting deformations, enormous amount of stresses go on getting accumulated within the rocks. When these stresses exceed the capacity of the rocks, they rupture, with a sudden violent motion of earth, releasing the accumulated energy. This is called an earthquake.

Common terms: * The plane along which the rocks rupture is called a fault plane. * The place where an earthquake originates deep inside the earth is called its focus. * The place right above the focus, on the surface of the earth, is called its epicenter. * Earthquakes are recorded using instruments called seismographs. * The recurring shocks are experienced after earthquakes are called aftershocks. The severity of an earthquake is described by its magnitude and intensity. Magnitude: The magnitude of an earthquake is a measure of the energy released during the earthquake. It depends on the extent of shaking of earth. It is measured on the Richter scale which is a logarithmic scale. An increase of unity in the Richter magnitude amounts to a tenfold increase in the energy released. For example, an earthquake with Richter magnitude 7 releases energy, which is ten times that released for magnitude 6; and 100 times that released for magnitude 5. The magnitude of the Bhuj earthquake was around 7.7 and that of the Latur earthquake was 6.3. Intensity: The destructive potential of an earthquake not only depends on its magnitude, but also on the depth of its focus, the nature of earthquake waves, geological and topological conditions of the area and such other factors. It is usually highest close to the epicenter and diminishes away from it. It is expressed as its intensity. The intensity is expressed on the MSK scale. Seismic Zones: Due to the varying geology at different locations in our country the likelihood and probable severity of earthquakes at different locations is different. Depending on the perceived risk, India is divided into 4 seismic zones (zone II, III, IV & V). Nearly 65 % of Indian land falls under moderate (zone III) to severe (zone V) risk zones. Closer home, Gujarat and parts of Maharashtra are very prone to earthquakes. Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad fall in zone III whereas Bhuj falls in zone V. Natural disaster: Earthquake can cause collapse of buildings, bridges, dams etc, fissures in ground, disruption of power, transport and communication and colossal loss of life and property. It can also lead to fires, floods, epidemics and a huge setback to the affected people. The collapse of buildings can be sudden and people get very little time to react. For the city of Mumbai, which can expect an earthquake of Richter magnitude 6.5, dense population, old/ tall buildings and construction on reclaimed areas can aggravate the situation. In the event of such a calamity, it is the awareness of the common people and their quick action at the local community level that can help the city immensely, rather than entire dependence on the governments disaster management plan. Earthquakes and Buildings In Mumbai Let us understand how earthquakes can affect our buildings.

Risk for Mumbai There are three major earthquake fault lines around Mumbai. They lie under the Thane, Panvel and Dharamtar creeks. Mumbai falls in seismic risk zone III, which represents "moderate risk". Mumbai can experience earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter scale. There are some more minor fault lines near the eastern suburbs, which make them more vulnerable than the western suburbs. The island city, however, needs more attention due to a twofold problem: reclaimed land and high rise buildings. Should an earthquake of magnitude 6 or more strike Mumbai, the stability of many high rise buildings and even multistoried buildings may emerge as a very serious concern. Earthquake Loads Conventionally buildings in Mumbai have been designed for gravity loads such as dead loads (weight of the building itself) and live loads (load due to the occupants, furniture etc.). However, earthquake loads are very different from gravity loads. * They are primarily lateral loads, which shake the building back and forth. * They depend on the mass of building. Heavier the building, more the earthquake loads. * In case of gravity loads, structural failure is gradual and with sufficient warning, whereas in case of an earthquake, failure may be sudden. Structural damage Failure of an RCC framed building may occur as follows: 1. Cracks in walls 2. Cracks in structural components 3. Crushing of concrete 4. Buckling of reinforcement bars & columns 5. Collapse of doors and windows 6. Excessive cracking and distortion 7. Collapse The actual damage to a building would depend on the amount and duration of shaking of ground and the structural capacity of the building to withstand it. Even if the building does not collapse, its distortion may be so much that it may become uninhabitable. Liquefaction of Soil If a building is constructed on loose and sandy soil saturated with water, during an earthquake, such a soil behaves like a jelly leading to sinking, tilting or collapse of structure. This is called liquefaction of soil. Earthquake Resistant Buildings It is not possible to construct "earthquake proof" buildings. However, it is certainly possible to construct "earthquake resistant" buildings, which can withstand earthquakes corresponding to the earthquake zone of their locations. To a large extent, the earthquake resistance of a building is the result of its structural system and

structural design. However, its basic configuration, architectural planning, quality control during construction and maintenance during its service life are also important. Constructing an earthquake resistant building costs a little more. Nevertheless it is a very small price for long-term peace of mind. For many years, buildings have been constructed to resist only gravity loads and not earthquake loads. Therefore, a very large number of buildings in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane may be deficient for the severity of earthquake that can be expected here. Seismic Retrofitting It is possible to make existing buildings safe for the earthquakes of the expected severity, even if they were originally not designed for that. This is called seismic retrofitting and it is a highly specialized task. The cost of seismic retrofitting can be very high. Nevertheless, seismic retrofitting should be taken up on priority for assembly buildings such as schools, hospitals, theatres, markets, malls, government buildings and prayer halls and also for buildings from where important and emergency services such as electricity, telephone and basic food supplies are provided. Preparedness Earthquakes do not kill; it is the unsafe buildings which do. True, earthquakes are unpredictable and have a low probability of occurrence. But if we remain careless and complacent, we are only making ourselves vulnerable to the possibility of huge destruction and loss of life and property. And this is something which Mumbai just cannot afford. Know the Earthquake Risk in Your Building Generally the earthquake risk for a building depends on the magnitude of the earthquake that can be expected at that location, its topography and soil conditions and the structural capacity of the building to withstand the shaking. Out of these, it is only the third, structural capacity, which is in our hands. This means that we can minimize risk to our life and property only by reducing the seismic (earthquake) vulnerability of our buildings. Seismic Vulnerability: Structural assessment of buildings for earthquake risk is a highly specialized task and falls into the purview of advanced structural engineering. Nevertheless, based on the study of collapses during the past earthquakes, experts have been able to identify some risk factors, which can be treated as indicators of probable risk for earthquakes. Risk Factors: Some important risk factors and preferences for RCC framed structures, which are easy to understand, are listed below: 1. Seismic Zone Higher the zone, higher the risk. Mumbai is in Seismic Zone III. Delhi is in Zone IV and Bhuj is in Zone V.

2. Soil Softer the soil, higher the risk. If the soil is sandy and is saturated with ground water, there is a possibility if liquefaction during earthquake when the soil looses its firmness and behaves as a jelly. 3. Importance of Structure Higher the importance, higher the criticality of damage. Emergency buildings such as hospitals, power & communication buildings, and fire stations are more critical than the assembly buildings such as prayer halls, malls. The assembly buildings are more critical than the residential and commercial buildings. 4. Height of Building Taller the building, higher the risk. Further, if the height of each floor is large, the risk is more. 5. Floor Plans & Symmetry The plan of building should be fairly symmetric. A square or rectangular plan is preferred over L-shape, T-shape and irregular shapes. Preferably, floors should not have large openings such as chowks. Plans should not vary much from floor to floor. Preferably, lifts and staircases should be located symmetrically in the plan. The width of the building should not be too narrow as compared with its length. 6. Stilts (open floors) If a building has stilts (for car parking etc) the risk is more. 7. Cantilevers Large cantilevers (projections supported only on one side) especially at upper floors are undesirable. 8. Floating Columns These are columns, which do not have their own foundations; but are supported on some intermediate beams in an indirect manner. These are sometimes provided especially when the building plans vary from floor to floor. These can prove to be very risky during earthquakes. 9. Mass of Structure Sometimes we find a lot of external features such as double walls, dummy columns etc. This is undesirable since heavy mass would attract larger earthquake forces. 10. Heavy Loads If there is a swimming pool or garden at the upper floors, the risk is more. 11. Overhead water tanks Heavy tanks should be supported so that their load is directly carried down to the foundation. 12. Connection between buildings As far as possible, buildings should not be physically connected with each other. Also, there should be adequate gap between buildings to avoid pounding on each other during an earthquake. 13. Extensions/ Alterations If the building has suffered extensions or alterations, the risk is more. 14. Age & Maintenance If the present condition of the building is bad, the risk is more. Seismic Resistance: The Risk Factors given above are rather easy to apply and can give you an idea about the earthquake risk to your building. They can also be applied to new buildings while buying a flat. However, it should be remembered that earthquake resistance of a building is a highly technical matter and the evaluation of a building based on the above factors should not be treated as conclusive. Moreover, there is a large amount of important technical data, which can be collected and interpreted only by structural

engineers. Nevertheless, such a study would help you to understand the probable weaknesses in your building (so that you can consult a structural engineer, if necessary) and should not be a cause of panic. Concrete and RCC Most of the multistoried buildings in Mumbai are constructed using concrete and RCC. Let us discuss some basics about these materials today. What is concrete? Concrete is a widely used material for construction of various civil engineering structures. It is a composite material mainly used for structural applications. Sometimes concrete is also used for non-structural applications. One of the main advantages of concrete is that it can be molded into required shapes. Concrete is relatively less expensive than other structural materials such as steel. How is it made? Concrete is obtained by mixing cement, fine aggregate (sand) and coarse aggregate (stone pieces) in required proportions. Water is added in the required measure and the mixture is mixed in a mechanical mixer to achieve concrete. Concrete is poured into the formwork (mould made up of plywood, timber or steel plates) to get the desired shape. It is then vibrated to achieve proper compaction (uniform denseness). In this process, high temperature is generated through a chemical reaction. Curing with water is essential to control this temperature. Once concrete has gained sufficient strength, its formwork is removed. Strength Concrete gains strength progressively with time. The strength achieved at the end of 28 days is called the Characteristic Compressive Strength of concrete and is designated as the "Grade" of concrete. About 67% of this strength is achieved at the end of 7 days from the date of casting. Concrete continues to gain strength even beyond 28 days, albeit marginally. At the time of casting of concrete, sample cubes are also cast. These cubes are tested in a laboratory to verify the strength of concrete. Durability Durability is the ability of concrete to perform well over a long period of time without much deterioration. Useful structural life of a building depends on the durability of the concrete used in it. Denser the concrete, more durable it is. Quality The strength and durability together represent the "quality" of concrete. Being a material molded at site, the quality of concrete not only depends on the quality of its ingredients but also on the process of mixing, placement, vibration and curing which together contribute to its 'workmanship'. To a large extent, the quality of concrete depends also on the amount of water added to it. Too much or too little water can adversely affect its quality. Nowadays additives such as special chemicals and fibers are used to enhance its quality. Grades

Depending on the requirements, different grades of concrete can be obtained by mixing its ingredients in different proportions. These grades are designated as the letter "M" followed by a number, which represents its strength. For example, grade M25 represents concrete, which has a compressive strength of 25 N/Sq.mm. Grades M15 and M20 were common in Mumbai until year 2000. Present standards and the requirements of earthquake resistant structures indicate that for Mumbai, the grade should be preferably M25 or higher. What is RCC? RCC stands for Reinforced Cement Concrete. RCC helps in transferring the loads of a building safely to the soil below through the structural members of its frame. Since concrete is weak in tension, to enhance its load carrying capacity it is reinforced with steel reinforcement bars called "Rebars". Such concrete is called Reinforced Concrete. These rebars are provided in the required number and diameters and in an appropriate manner as per the requirements of structural design. The rebars are embedded in concrete at a certain depth from its surface. This layer, which provides protection to the rebars, is called the "cover concrete". Deterioration of RCC The main cause of deterioration of RCC is corrosion of rebars. The corrosion of rebars is caused by the following factors: * Porous concrete which allows seepage * Saline environment * Attack by adverse chemicals * Pollution * Inadequate cover * Inadequate grade of concrete When a rebar corrodes, the volume of the corroded part increases several times. This increase in volume exerts strong pressure on the concrete from inside, which leads to its cracking, spalling (separation) and disintegration. This causes further exposure, additional ingress of water and additional corrosion leading to further deterioration and so on. Sometimes the bars may become very thin and may eventually break. Overloading, misuse and neglect can accelerate this unhealthy process. Good maintenance and proper and timely action are, therefore, necessary for good performance of RCC structures. Watch Points for Flats & Buildings Performance of our homes and buildings depends on how well we maintain them. A sign of deterioration (crack, corrosion, dampness etc) observed in a flat or in a building is called a "distress". If we are watchful, we can take necessary action on such distresses before they become worse. Let us see some commonly encountered types of distress so that you can understand them when you come across them in your flat or your building.

Concrete & RCC These are predominantly the structural components of the building such as columns, beams and slabs. Any distress observed in such components may indicate loss of strength and durability of the building structure and, therefore, call for Structural Repair. This is a common checklist in this category: * Cracks/ hollowness/ dampness in concrete * Spalling (local internal separation of concrete) * Falling of cover concrete (surface layer) * Corrosion of bars * Thinned/ broken bars * Deflection/ sagging of beam and slab * Sinking of column Walls & Plaster Distress caused by seepage primarily spreads through walls. Watchful occupants can easily locate many from the following list of distress: * Dampness or seepage * Salty deposits/ efflorescence * Fungus/ plants growing on wall * Holes in walls * Termites * Separation cracks found at the junction of RCC and wall * Diagonal (inclined) cracks near the junction of column & beam * Hollow/ loose plaster * Local absence of plaster * Disintegration of mortar between bricks/ blocks * Sinking of walls on ground floor Doors & Windows The checklist in this category commonly covers the following: * Decay/ cracks and disintegration * Termites * Distortion of door/ window frame * Absence of chajja for window * Cranky movement of sliding windows Flooring, Skirting, Dado This is a common list in this category: * Cracks in tiles * Looseness/ heaving of tiles * Growth of fungus

* Rough surface (excessive scrubbing) * Seepage through flooring joints * Sinking of flooring on ground floor Plumbing & Drainage Distress in plumbing and drainage is closely related to the sources of seepage of water. Watchful occupants can easily locate many of the observations in the following list: * Cracks/ loss of joints in the pipes causing leaks * Broken/ absence of rainwater pipes * Absence of vent pipes for toilets * Pipes running too close to walls & accumulating laitance * Backflow from kitchen/ toilet * Corroded water supply pipes * Broken/ uncovered chambers Toilets & Kitchen Seepage though a toilet or kitchen above can be very annoying. Nevertheless, it is pretty common too. Many of the points mentioned above apply to this category also. Additionally, the following points may also be noted: * Leaking flush tank * Rotting of door frame * Exposure of tile joints * Improper sealing of fixtures * Distress in RCC loft Terrace Waterproofing Bad quality of the terrace waterproofing system can cause considerable agony for the occupants of the top floor, year after year. Once seepage from terrace starts, it progressively becomes worse and locating the source of seepage can be extremely difficult. In fact the sources may be many. Local treatment may not prove to be effective and complete re-waterproofing is expensive. Members should, therefore, look for the early signs of the following points and take an early action on them: * Cracks on surface associated with hollowness * Excessive roughness of surface * Inadequate surface slope * Obstructions to flow of rainwater * Cracks/ holes/ blocks at the mouth of rainwater pipe * Pipes running too close to parapet walls & accumulating laitance * Too few rainwater pipes for a zigzag shaped terrace * Improper watta/ drip mould at the junction of slab & walls * No protective cover on the parapet wall

* Water tank directly touching the slab. Miscellaneous Some of the other watch points are as follows: * Leaking water tanks * Sagging lift room slabs * No paving or rough/ cracked paving * Cracked/ tilted compound wall * Broken RCC jail for staircase * Corroded electrical conduits * Non-functional fire fighting system * Rodents (rats) in premises Applications You can apply these watch points to the external and common areas (building faces, stilts, staircase, terrace etc) as well as to apartments. In some cases you can even identify the cause of distress by proper correlation of your observations. Observations concerning structural distress and distress in the common areas should be brought to the notice of the Managing Committee of your Co-op. Housing Society and action on other observations should be taken by the members themselves. Byelaws Concerning Building Maintenance & Repair Cooperative Housing Societies are governed by their Managing Committees. It is the responsibility of the Committee to maintain the Society building in good condition at all times. This involves establishing the need for the repair/ maintenance works, raising and allocating funds and undertaking the works in a proper ad transparent manner. For this purpose, it is necessary to understand the model byelaws concerning building maintenance and repair, which are listed below. Creation of Funds (Clause 13) The Society shall create and establish the following funds by collecting contributions from its members at the rates mentioned hereunder: Repairs and Maintenance Fund The Repairs and Maintenance Fund, at the rate fixed at the General Body from time to time, subject to the minimum of 0.75 percent per annum of the construction cost of each flat for meeting expenses of normal recurring repairs Major Repairs Fund Major Repairs Funds, as and when required and decided by the General Body, at the rate fixed on area basis Sinking Fund

The Sinking Fund at the rate decided at the meeting of the General Body, subject to the minimum of 0.25 percent per annum of the construction cost of each flat, excluding the proportionate cost of the land Utilization of Funds (Clause 14) The Society may utilize its funds in the manner indicated below: Reserve Fund The Reserve Fund of the Society may be utilized for the expenditure on repairs, maintenance and renewals of the Society's property. Repairs and Maintenance Fund The Repairs and Maintenance Fund may be utilized by the Committee for meeting the expenditure on maintenance of the Society's property and repairs and renewals thereof. Major Repairs Fund Utilization of major repairs fund with the prior permission of General Body Sinking Fund On the resolution passed at the meeting of General Body of the Society and with the prior permission of the Registering Authority, the Sinking Fund may be used by the Society for reconstruction of its building/ buildings or for carrying out such structural additions or alteration to the building/ buildings, as in the opinion of the Society's Consultant, would be necessary to strengthen it/ them or for carrying out such heavy repairs as may be certified by the Consultant and on approval of General Body. Structural Audit (Clause 77) The Society shall cause the STRUCTURAL AUDIT of the Building of the Society as follows: For the building ageing between 15 to 30 years - Once in 5 years For the building ageing above 30 years - Once in 3 years Such STRUCTURAL AUDIT shall be conducted by the Structural Engineers from the panel of the Municipal Corporations in case of the societies, which are in the limits of Municipal Corporations. In case of other societies, such structural audit shall be carried out by the Government Approved Structural Engineers. Responsibility of the Committee (Clause 156) It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to maintain the property of the Society in good condition at all times. Inspection for Need of Repairs (Clause 157) The Secretary of the Society, on receipt of any complaints about maintenance of the property of the Society from any members of the Society or on his own motion, shall inspect the property of the Society from time to time and make the report to the Committee, stating the need of the repairs, if any, considered necessary. The Committee shall consider the report made by the Secretary of the Society and decide as to which of the repairs should be carried out. Limits on Expenditure (Clause 158)

(a) The Committee shall be competent to incur expenditure on the repairs and maintenance of Society's property, if the one time expenditure does not exceed: Upto 25 members Rs. 25,000/26 to 50 members Rs. 50,000/51 and above Upto Rs. 1,00,000/(b) If one time expenditure on repairs and maintenance of the Society's property exceeds the limits as mentioned under byelaw No. 158(a), prior sanction of the meeting of the General Body of the Society shall be necessary. (c) The meeting of the General Body of the Society shall decide: The limit up to which the expenditure on repairs and maintenance of the property of the Society could be incurred by the Committee without calling for tenders for the work. In respect of the work, the cost of which exceeds the limit, so fixed, the Committee shall follow the procedure of inviting tenders, placing them before the General Body meeting for approval and entering into contract with the Consultant (if appointed) and the contractor. Work of repairs and maintenance (Clause 159) Subject to the provisions of the byelaw No. 158(a), (b) and (c) the Committee shall proceed to carry out the repairs and maintenance of the property of the Society. It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to see that the repairs are carried out as per the contract. Sharing of Costs (Clause 160) Depending on the nature and location of repair/ maintenance work, the costs shall be shared in the following manner: (a) Work at Society's Cost The following repairs and maintenance of the property of the Society shall be carried out by the Society at its cost: (i) All internal roads, (ii) Compound walls, (iii) External water pipe lines, (iv) Water pumps, (v) Water storage tanks, (vi) Drainage lines, (vii) Septic tanks, (viii) Stair cases, (ix) Terrace and parapet walls, (x) Structural repairs of roofs of all flats, (xi) Stair-case lights, (xii) Street lights, (xiii) Outside walls of the building/ buildings, (xiv) All leakages of water including leakages due to rain water, and leakages due to external common pipe line and drainage line, (xv) Electric lines up to main switches in the flats, (xvi) Lifts, (xvii) The damaged ceiling and plaster thereon in the top floor flats, on account of the leakage of the rain water through the terrace. (b) Work at Members' Cost All the repairs, not covered by the byelaw No. 160 (a) shall be carried out by the members at their cost. Insurance of the building (Clause 161) The Society shall insure its building/ buildings necessarily against risk of fire and earthquake.

The Right Season for Building Repair Lack of adequate funds, initiative and cooperation among members are the main impediments to proper maintenance and repair of cooperative housing society (CHS) buildings. As a result, scheduling of building repair is a major task by itself. Broadly, the following steps are necessary before actually starting a repair work: * Deciding the scope of work * Cost estimation * Provision of funds * Tendering By the time these steps are followed properly, you find that monsoon is knocking at your door. Under the last minute pressures from the members and circumstances, many repair works are started in summer resulting into tremendous disadvantages and loss of control. On the contrary, if repair works are planned in advance and implemented in a fair season, which is between November and March, you get many strategic benefits, which are discussed below: * Repair works invariably involve cement and repair chemicals, which perform better in a cool season. Some of the chemicals require special weather conditions to perform as desired. Low temperatures of the fair season offer longer pot life, better bonding with subsequent applications and faster curing. This results in better quality especially for works such as structural repair, waterproofing and plaster. In most common terms this would mean that there would be fewer cracks in plaster etc. * In the fair season, construction materials are available more easily. Since harvesting is over, labourers are also available more easily. Due to cool weather the labourers get less tired and their output also improves. This offers two benefits: lower project cost (due to cheaper rates) and faster progress of work. * A lot of water is required for repair works. Normally there is no shortage of water in this season. * By their very nature, most repair works can be completed within 5 months (November to March). Thus, if the work is delayed for some reason, you have a buffer of 2 months before rains to ensure that you are still in control and do not become vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances. These two months can also be used to implement additional works especially for the renovation or beautification of the building. * If you plan your repair work for the fair season, the seepage and flooding recently observed during the previous monsoon can be addressed appropriately in the work being planned. Similarly the effectiveness of the repair work carried out can be verified in the next monsoon. * Normally a repair period is a period of great discomfort for the members of the Society. This is because of the presence of materials, equipment, dust and debris, removal of window grills and air conditioners etc. Plywood covers provided to

windows and gunny cloth covering building faces cause poor ventilation. However, during the fair season the pleasant weather makes these less annoying. Good quality, time bound progress, controlled costs and overall convenience are the important aspects of a repair work. The fair season (November to March) offers conditions, which are conducive to these aspects. It also provides a buffer of two months (April and May) to handle any delay or loss of control caused by unforeseen circumstances. This fair season offers benefits not only to the Society but it offers many operational benefits to the contractor also. Your members would also find it appropriate to start the work just after Diwali. We have experienced these benefits in several of our projects. Well begun is half done. With the nature on your side, works executed during the fair season offer you good overall control; whereas those, which are started much later, often slip out of control and can lead to questionable quality, delays, higher costs and anguish to the members. The next time you want to take up the repair of your building, make sure that you appoint a consultant well in advance so that he can guide you appropriately. If you are scheduling the building repair before the coming monsoon, you must plan to derive the maximum benefit from the season, which has already begun. Early Deterioration in New Buildings In Mumbai, it is common to come across old buildings needing major repair. Occasionally we also find buildings, which are in a dilapidated condition and unfit for occupation. When a building has given you about 25 to 30 years of service without much maintenance or repair, it is reasonable to expect that it would need major repair sooner or later. The main causes for this are ageing and inadequate maintenance and care. However, occasionally we come across relatively new buildings needing major structural repair. With an age of less than 15 years (in some cases even less than 8 years) such buildings are found to be in a very bad structural and general health. This premature deterioration is largely due to the poor quality of construction rather than ageing and maintenance. Let us understand the probable causes for this. Materials: Bad quality of the materials used for construction can lead to early deterioration. The most common suspect is the sand, which is used in almost all works. If the sand used had excessive silt, organic materials or chlorides (such as the creek sand), it can adversely affect the basic skeleton of the building consisting of RCC, masonry and plaster. Chlorides lead to early and faster corrosion of reinforcement. If the external walls of the building are made of 6" thick concrete block walls cast with such sand, the situation can become worse. Use of high grade cement for masonry and plaster can lead to cracking due to the high heat of hydration released during mixing. Bad quality of other materials also cannot be ruled out.

Workmanship: Substandard workmanship during construction can also affect the structure adversely. In RCC, this can be in the form of honeycombing of concrete (porous concrete) or inadequate concrete cover to reinforcement, or both. Honeycombing is due to insufficient compaction of concrete, whereas inadequate cover is due to improper placement of bars. These lead to early corrosion of reinforcement especially in thin structural members. In masonry and plaster, bad workmanship may be in the form of loosely filled joints (within walls or between external walls and beams/ columns) and hollow plaster respectively, both of which lead to early and excessive seepage. If your external walls are made up of 6" thick concrete blocks, the situation can become worse. Some of these deficiencies may become evident only after the first 5 to 7 years. Lapses in workmanship may also exist in plumbing, waterproofing (toilets and terrace) and other works. Proximity to sea/ creek: Many of the relatively new but severely distressed buildings in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are found in the locations, which are close to sea or creek. The corrosion of reinforcement observed in the structural members (columns, beams, slabs) in some of them can be alarming. It is mainly because of the high concentration of chlorides and sulphates in the ground water and saline weather, aggravated by substandard materials and workmanship. The high and low tides of the sea can cause severe structural distress, especially on the ground floor. Dampness can rise from soil also and an absence of a damp proof course at the bottom of the walls can allow the dampness to rise quite high. Other causes: In some cases it is found that during its construction, the work was stopped, probably due to lack of permissions or due to a dispute, and the structural frame was exposed to sun, rain and misuse for a long duration. Such prolonged exposure to weather can reduce the strength and durability of the building frame. Rampant alterations can lead to destabilization of external walls, especially if they are concrete block walls; and this can cause excessive seepage during monsoon. Imposing elevations, excessive facades, narrow ducts etc create inaccessible areas, which can be difficult to attend to during routine maintenance. The causes of premature deterioration in relatively new buildings are different from those for old buildings and therefore the approach for the repair (or rather restoration) of such buildings should be quite different from the repair of old buildings. The process should start with a thorough visual survey by your consultant followed by non-destructive testing of the structural frame and chemical tests on concrete, reinforcement and ground water. Repair/ restoration of the main structural frame should be accorded highest priority while allocating funds for the work. If the foregoing discussion applies to your building, you need to act quickly.