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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

424 of 593 'dangerous' bldgs in city still occupied

Mumbai: As many as 424 buildings in the city declared dilapidated and considered very dangerous by the BMC continue to be inhabited. 
    In the wake of the recent building collapse at Vakola, the civic body has classified 593 buildings under the C1 category, which means they are in a very dangerous condition and need to be demolished. Of these, only 41 municipal buildings, 125 private buildings and three government buildings have been vacated so far. 
    The civic body’s efforts to get these unsafe buildings demolished and prevent further deaths from building collapses have been stymied by the refusal of the inhabitants to vacate them. The BMC has so far disconnected water supply to such 26 civic and 85 private buildings in its efforts to get them vacated. 
CIVIC BODY TO MEET RESIDENTS Societies reluctant to carry out building audits 
Mumbai: A total of 817 buildings in the city are classified C2, meaning they require major structural repairs; 267 have been given permission for repairs. 
    The civic body has classified106 buildings as C3, or needing minor repairs. 
    Buildings are classified based on a two-step inspection process by the civic body’s engineers and a structural audit report. The engineers look for cracks in 
the columns and beams, condition of the concrete and slabs, shrinkages or foundation settlement. Diagonal cracks are considered most dangerous to the structural integrity of a building. 
    There are 32,429 buildings older than 30 years in the city and the BMC has sent notices to 13,779 of these under section 353 (B) of the MMC Act to conduct structural audits. The notice states that if the building is more than 30 years old, it is the responsibility of the 
owner to carry out structural audits. “We issued notices to buildings which are more than 30 years old. The public response was very poor. Only 12% of society residents are responding. They are 
submitting a visual report. It is visually audited which is not acceptable to us. What is required is a visual report and a non-destructive test,” said a senior civic official. A 
non-destructive test includes taking some portions, such as the core from columns and beams, and sending them for lab testing. 
    “So, we write back to them to submit a proper report. Some societies complain about the cost factor. It costs approximately between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh to conduct these audits. There is reluctance on part of societies to spend so much,” said the civic official. Other reasons for delay in audits include disputes 
between owners and tenants. “Nobody wants to shell out money. The owner wants tenants to come forward and vice-versa. Also, all the buildings constructed between 1980 and 1983 used adulterated cement and are prone to dilapidation and collapse. So our prime focus is also on such buildings,” said the official. 
    Due to poor response from societies, D Jain, assistant commissioner P (north) ward, has called for a meeting of all societies this week.


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