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The rapid pace of urbanisation in India is bringing denser mega-cities which in turn need higher & bigger buildings to cater to the requirements of residential & office buildings, in addition to, educational institutes, hospitals, and modern commercial hubs.
With this transformation, the enhanced emphasis on the safety of the built environment is very obvious. Not only during construction but post construction structural audits at regular intervals are needed in this era to ensure the safety of a huge population residing & working in cities.
Seismic activity and resultant earthquakes are a real challenge for our society to keep our people safe from such natural calamities.
A society like ours, always sitting at the Verge of a major earthquake, must take it seriously to avoid loss of life and property on a huge scale.
In such a scenario, structural audits of buildings are crucial to assess their safety, integrity, and overall structural health and capacity to withstand huge loads arising out of earthquakes.
Such structural audits help identify potential defects, deterioration, or weaknesses in the building's structure, ensuring preventive measures can be taken to avoid accidents or failures.
Regular audits contribute to public safety by addressing issues before they become serious, promoting the longevity of structures, and preventing unexpected collapses or accidents.
Needless to say, it is the job of expert professional structural engineers rather than a normal civil engineer.
In a structural audit for earthquake safety, below is the brief of activities to be typically conducted:
Assess the overall condition of the building, looking for signs of cracks, deformations, or structural damage.
Examine construction drawings and historical records to understand the building's design and construction details.
Conduct tests on building materials to determine their strength and integrity, especially if the construction occurred a long time ago.
Evaluate the building's response to seismic forces using computer models and seismic analysis techniques.
Perform dynamic testing to understand the natural frequency and dynamic characteristics of the building.
Assessment of Retrofitting Needs:
Identify areas where retrofitting or strengthening is required to enhance the building's seismic resistance.
Review as per Local Codes and Standards:
Ensure that the building complies with the latest seismic design codes and standards.
Recommendations and Mitigation Measures:
Provide recommendations for structural improvements or retrofitting measures to enhance the building's seismic performance.
These activities collectively help in deciding whether a building is safe against earthquake forces or whether rehabilitation/retrofitting is needed to meet safety standards.