Structural auditors for Residential Cooperative Housing Societies

Structural audit and repair maintenance cost is derived after Structural evaluation / inspection as per norms laid by Municipal corporations like BMC (MCGM), TMC and NMMC in Mumbai / Thane / Navi Mumbai.

Earlier days, most Housing and Commercial Societies, used to call Contractor to provide estimate for repairs, without analyzing the structures and its defects in details. Only casual external observations were carried with approx measurements. Therefore, while undertaking the repairs, most of the committee / Owners faced with cost escalations without any justified reason.

That the time, when Municipal Corporation appointed Structural Engineers and approved, Licensed them to undertake Structural Auditing of their behalf. Red Cedar being among the few to practice and support the Industry.

Today, since 15 years, we are privileged having served 500 plus Clients for auditing of Old and New constructed structures to maintain and restore their life expectancy. Be it Residential, Commercial, Infrastructure projects, Metro Projects, Industrial Factories or simply Godowns.

Your residential building is typically constructed to last for about 80 to 90 years. It is not too different from a living and breathing organism that is programmed to live a full and healthy life, if all goes well. However, with the passage of time, the structural sanctity of a building may be compromised due to rainfall, extreme weather conditions, natural calamities, wear and tear or sheer neglect. Enter Structural Audit… the vaccine your building needs in order to fight off the viruses of decay and ageing

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.

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. Below are the phases and techniques of a structural audit.

Visual Inspection

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.

Analysis Report

A structural audit report is presented to the society by the consultant which entails the following:

  • Recommendations for repairs based on the assessment of deterioration, breakage, and faulty materials
  • Retrofitting, and restoration measures to bring the damaged components up to the required standard
  • Strengthening the current components of the building to make it more resistant to collapse and increase its load bearing capacity

The consultant provides the cost of 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.

Why should a housing society conduct a structural audit correctly?

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 adage 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 opinions online or offline. Compare the list of services offered by each provider and select the one that best suits your requirements.

Published by redcedarconsultant

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.

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