Building code: Time for a quality check

Jul 05 2014, 08:15 IST
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The structural design is one area that is mostly self-regulatory. The structural design is one area that is mostly self-regulatory.
SummaryWhile there are rules for building design, there is none to check if the construction quality matches with those designs. It is mostly a self-regulatory process across the country

buildings coming up. While established developers follow the norms and give the names of their designers, structural engineers, consultants upfront, many smaller companies do not follow that," said Mishra.

Codes require that the quality of construction is in conformity with the standards as laid out by the Public Works Department and relevant Indian standard specifications and codes as included in the National Building Code of India. There is no explicit and effective mechanism to monitor this aspect, says Anil Sawhney, Associate Dean and Director, School of Construction, RICS School of Built Environment.

The primary focus, however, is given to code compliance and design vetting. We need to start considering the quality of construction as an important aspect. Both are intertwined issues and are of extreme importance as they have implications on public safety, adds Sawhney.

The Bill as introduced in the Rajya Sabha has sought to address this by introducing two important clauses. The first is that all developers have to upfront declare the name of their structural engineer and second, that if there is a structural defect in the building within two years of handing over the possession, the developer will have to rectify it, added Mishra.

Structural quality assurance of a construction is still a largely self-regulatory process in India. In high profile projects, the builder engages the services of reputed project managers and consultants while the less organised builder rarely follows any regulation which is not mandatory or which comes at a cost, says Sanjay Dutt, Executive Managing Director South Asia, Cushman and Wakefield, a real estate consultancy.

The extent of monitoring too varies across municipal bodies. For example, in Mumbai, a high-rise structure is given commencement certificates at several stages of the project. It could mean permission for the first few floors. The municipal authorities then inspect the building under development to see if rules have been followed. Only then is permission given for the next set of floors. There are several cases of high-rise developments in Mumbai that have been stalled as authorities discovered violations and unauthorised alterations and did not give the green signal for building additional floors.

When contacted, Getambar Anand, President-Elect, Credai, told The Indian Express that there is no regulatory gap and said, citing the case of Noida, that all developers in that market get the structural certification from IIT Delhi as has been mandated by the Noida Authority.

"While the developers get the structural design

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