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Tall Buildings and correct planning in high seismic zones

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:16 am    Post subject: Tall Buildings and correct planning in high seismic zones Reply with quote

Dear friends

Please refer Page 1 of the Foreword where it mentions that Irregular Buildings shall be deemed as Code exceeding and Performance Based Analysis shall be carried out for them. I would like to draw your attention to the almost absolute lack of focus on correct planning of buildings, in terms of geometry, both in plan and elevation, as well as the level of Irregularity (refer 1893 part-I-2016 for exact definitions and limits prescribed therein). In fact, I’ve seen a mail recently on SEFI where it was suggested that Architects should be removed from bearing any responsibility towards defect liability, which is interesting for two reasons firstly the Architects/Planners always go scot free whenever Structural Engineers are being blamed for poor building performance , and have never paid any penalties. Secondly, they have actually everything to blame as in their quest for aesthetics and iconic buildings, they sometimes create irregularities which are far more than prescribed permissible limits. In areas susceptible to high seismicity, this makes the structure inefficient, and often leads to poor long term performance against lateral loads and increased cost of concrete and steel reinforcements, extra expansion joints etc putting the Structural Design Engineer in an unenviable situation.(It’s a dog’s life still, for most structural engineers in India, as they may have been hired by the Architects and their voice against his designs, even if raised, may not reach the Client.

So we end up seeing Flat Plate Residential buildings on stilts in NCR and Flat Slabs and Inverted U Shaped mega towers(which clearly defy gravity and any sense of structural logic) and extremely slender long and Tall buildings everywhere. Not to forget at least a thousand Flat Slab Commercial Complexes built without Shear Walls for a Lateral Load Resisting system.

My question here to the Code makers is “what is the Way forward,for the existing and under construction buildings” what about the thousands of Moment Frame Buildings, now not allowed in Zones IV and V at all?
And why has the Code forgotten to repeat the NBC provisions for a compulsory Building Audit every 3-5 years, to ensure compliance with Latest Building Codes? Is this done on purpose to help our Sleeping Government Bodies?
Why is checking of Structural Analysis, design and all GFC drawings not made mandatory before the Approva lto Construct is granted?

And for God’s sake, why has the NDMA Guidelines for Hospitals completely forgotten? It’s an extremely well drafted document, and it’s inclusion in the realm of relevant BIS Codes is absolutely critical, unless we want to see our Hospitals going even before the other structures, in any serious earthquake, as unfortunately witnessed in Nepal.

Best Regards
Sangeeta Wij
President,WISE India
Managing Partner
SD Engineering Consultants LLP
Vice President(North),Indian Association of Structural Engineers,
Fellow and Chartered Engineer, Institution of Engineers
H333 New Rajinder Nagar(Lower Ground Floor),
New Delhi-110060

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