Building Safety Obligation; structural consultants

Building safety- Constrofacilitator

Building Safety Obligation is a major concern for the Structural engineers. Renovation and rehabilitation of old structure has been a point of discussion. The popular opinion has been that it is more simple, beneficial and cheaper to build new buildings instead of preserving the old ones. Demolish the crumbling shack and construct a shiny skyscraper. Regarding this, in a significant ruling to govern how dilapidated buildings are certified by experts.

 The Bombay high court said it would now demand that consultants “stand by their report and accept responsibility for it”.

In the ruling that will impact the buildings older than 30 years, Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel believes that the conclusions in many such reports are mostly given despite an easily discerned inconsistency between the conclusion and the observations and test results. They further elaborate that if the consultants believe that no building is ruinous and demolition not required, then they should buckle up and take responsibility for this.

This court will not, in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction risk the lives and property of occupants year after year,” said the bench, while dismissing a petition by Khalil Ahmed Hamdulay and 14 other members of a Mazgaon society that is over 40 years old.

The bench ruled that they find matter after matter, the consultants are signing on such reports without no consideration of the liability. It said that if any petitioner wants an order for repair of the building rather than demolition and reconstruction, we will demand a personal undertaking from the structural consultant to accept full responsibility, including the loss of life and property.

The members had challenged a BMC notice issued to the building under sections 353B (for a structural stability certificate) and 354 (for the demolition of a building found to be in a dilapidated or ruinous condition in C1 category) of the BMC Act.

Any building older than 30 years requires its owner or occupants to submit a structural stability report under Section 353B. “If not, the BMC may issue a notice demanding one. That, in itself, does not mean that the building is not ruinous,” said the HC bench.

R M Vanoo, counsel for the petitioner, argued that a structural audit in 2017-18 showed that the Mazgaon building required “urgent repairs but not demolition”. The society members had then agreed to opt for redevelopment. But later, claimed the petitioners, the society obtained stage-managed structural audit report in June 2019 to show that the building was…so dilapidated and ruinous as to warrant its being pulled down”. he HC, after hearing BMC counsel Rupali Adhate, noted that the can be reconstructed.

Info- Times of India