Structural audit is an examination of the overall health of a building to ensure that it is safe, risk-free and habitable. The purpose of a structural audit is to correctly identify parts or sections of a building that may be in need of immediate repair, renovation or replacement. Structural audits are performed by licensed consultants who have the required expertise in civil construction and are empanelled with the government authorities.
Any Structural engineer licensed with Municipal Corporation can provide structural audit and issue stability certificate post restoration of old structures.
A structural audit is government mandated. For buildings that are between 15 to 30 years old, the statutory requirement is to conduct a structural audit once in 5 years. For buildings over 30 years, a structural audit must be conducted once every 3 years. The said durations begin from the date the completion certificate/occupation certificate was issued or since at least 50% of the occupation of the built-up area, whichever comes first. And as per Factory Inspector, every 5 years the structural audit is mandatory.
To enhance the overall lifecycle of the building, its components need to be periodically examined so that there is no danger to its inhabitants. Areas in need of crucial repairs need to be identified to employ corrective measures so that the day-to-day life of the residents is not inconvenienced on account of unexpected leakages or breakages.
In the probable scenario that the builder has cut corners and left any sections of a building prone to collapse or faster dilapidation, a structural audit is your best bet to avert any disasters. Even if the building is relatively sound in its basic framework, it is likely that during a preceding repair or renovation, less than ideal quality materials were used that have led to further damage or leakage. In cases where continuous neglect from the stakeholders persists, it may happen that a massive redevelopment project needs to be undertaken, costing the residents exorbitant amount of money. A structural audit is a highly recommended preventive measure to avoid any calamitous eventualities altogether.
To begin with, the society needs to hire a Project Consultant/Agency after inviting tenders from prospective service providers. The estimated repairs or preventive actions need to be approved in a general body meeting. Once an agency is appointed, it is the responsibility of the society’s committee to provide them with all the pertinent details, plans and designs of the building including information on any previous reparations and maintenance history.
The first stage of a structural audit consists of a visual inspection that should lead to the identification of defects, material degradation, deformation of any sections or interior components. If alterations, additions or replacements are needed, they should be identified during the visual inspection too.
All the elements of the building are examined, including but not limited to, columns, beams, slabs, balconies, false ceilings, roofs, parapets, railings, rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, lofts, mezzanine floors, stairways, water tanks, storage, plumbing lines, drainage lines. These inspections are carried out in order to ascertain cracks/deflections in retaining walls, leakages, and concrete durability. Dampness in the walls is also inspected along with varying loads on the structure that may have occurred. Additionally, soil bearing capacity is determined through pit trials or from soil data of the vicinity.
A structural audit report is presented to the society by the consultant which entails the following:
The consultant provides the inclusive cost considering labour, materials, equipment and overall services to the society in the audit report, and offers expertise on future maintenance and cost-effective measures to slow down future deterioration.
It is no secret that a number of structurally unsound buildings collapse during monsoons or due to ill-maintenance. Buildings older than 20 or 30 years are often found lacking in integrity as per modern standards. If the repairs are not done carefully, the loss of human lives in addition to property can be devastating. As the age goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. The only way to avoid such mishaps is to conduct your structural audit with utmost sincerity and apply remedial actions immediately.
The managing committee should hire a reliable and recommended structural audit agency, which stands in good stead with customers. It is easy to fall into the trap of hiring a less-than-honest auditor who may offer his services at affordable prices and eventually do a half-baked job of misidentifying or overlooking critical repairs. At the same time, there is the possibility of someone overcharging and siphoning your money. Incompetent auditors who do their job poorly can leave your building open to damages and burn the society’s pocket holes in the long run.
The most vigilant approach to a structural audit is staying involved and alert from the start to the end. Engage the services of a certified, empanelled audit agency that has a proven track record in the field. Do not hesitate to seek expert opinion from Red Cedar. Compare the list of services offered by each provider and select the one that best suits your requirements.
Red Cedar’s Structural repairs restoration Consultants & Engineers near Societies enables the Managing committee to focus on estimation, the output of repairs, Tendering, Contracting is carried under one roof for all retrofit engineering works in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
Red Cedar Engineers and Associates provides Structural audit report for Housing Societies, Commercial complexes, Fabricated Steel structures, Storage facilities and Industries, as per guidelines laid by Municipal corporations.
Red Cedar also extends PMC services for repair / restoration of structure to stability certification for the same.