It is good to read that the issue of structural audit is gaining importance in concerned circles. Recently, the Chief Secretary in Government of Mumbai highlighted the issue while in a meeting with Municipal Commissioners.
Following issues were emphasized on in the meeting:
Emphasis was laid on strict implementation of the provision of structural audits
Buildings that are over 30 years should undergo compulsory structural audit that assesses their strength.
Lack of awareness on the guidelines of structural audit was pointed out as a an area of concern
Concern was also expressed on the inadequate number of certified structural auditors.
Present ruling governing this issue stipulates compulsory audit for every three years for building older than 30 years and an audit for every five years for buildings older than 15 years.
Municipal Corporations have been asked to appoint structural audit wardens who can ensure adequate training is imparted through institutes such as the National Institute of Disaster Management
The Registrar of Cooperative Societies in Maharashtra will write to every cooperative housing society on the provision about audits and serving notices to owners/occupants of buildings where illegal alterations/modifications are found.
We do come across reports of some colonies being regularized which were constructed without obtaining necessary approvals in the beginning. It would do more good if the laws governing the issue of structural audit is amended and the following should be viewed for consideration while making necessary amendments:
Every housing including housing colony should prominently display the beginning date of completion and for buildings that are older than 15 years, the date of structural audit done.
Whenever structural audit is done, there is a possibility that some recommendations / solutions based on findings would be made by the auditors and for implementing these, money has to be spent for doing the civil work. Therefore, for every building older than 15 years, some sort of corpus fund allocated for doing emergency repairs should be mandated by the law which would make the task easier for carrying out the recommendations of the structural auditors for making the building strong for the future.
More and more recognized institutes should come up in different parts of the country offering good courses on structural audit and the number of vacancies advertised for structural auditors should go up in numbers in future. Needless to mention that day in and day out it is a common sight to see construction activity going on in many parts of the country. With the same pace, there is also a need for structural auditors because basing the present law, in 10 to 15 years times, these buildings would need auditing on their structures and therefore there exists a demand for this role.
The awareness for structural audit for different types of buildings/houses and the like should gain prominence throughout the country.