Millennium Post

Govt mulls roping in structural engineers to clear building plans

With <g data-gr-id="31">majority</g> of buildings ill-equipped to withstand a major earthquake in the national Capital, the Delhi government is planning to involve structural engineers in the process of building plan approval.

According to government records, there are 31 lakh units in Delhi, which are at medium risk of being 
affected by an earthquake. "This status sounds very scary, but the question is what can be done about this. Since 7-8 years, a decision was taken to retrofit some key buildings in Delhi.  So in case of a disaster like <g data-gr-id="37">earthquake</g>, these buildings can be used for housing government offices and key operations,” said KK Sharma, Chief Secretary, Delhi government.

He added: "As of now, only 2-3 buildings can be retrofitted. It is complex to retrofit an existing building, but structural engineers know that it can still be done." 

Sharma was speaking at a joint conference on ‘Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in India’ organised by the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).

According to officials, many buildings that house government offices are unsafe. Thousands of three-four storey buildings in unauthorised colonies, housing lakhs of people, are prone to earthquake.

Sharma said the government is planning to rope in structural engineers to get building plans approved. "I think we need to bring in structural engineers and they, along with the architect, must also verify and sign building plans at the time of getting permission from Municipal Corporations," he said.

Certification of structural engineers is being done by a few states such as UP and Haryana. "We have got a copy of <g data-gr-id="36">notification</g> from UP and have spoken to organisations of structural engineers to guide the government as to how to interface standard operating procedure that all new buildings are certified by structural engineers. If we can have 1,000-1,500 structural engineers to certify buildings, we can have self-certification schemes on the part of people living in unauthorised colonies and 
encourage them to get their buildings audited," Sharma said. 

Sharma emphasised that as the process is expensive but <g data-gr-id="27">government</g> can keep its fee nominal. 


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