Are Indian Buildings Safe from Earthquakes
As spoken to The Blue Circle, Vishal Kakkar, stresses on the need for an extensive survey to ascertain the soil quality in Delhi to determine whether the ground foundations are strong enough. He also stressed on the need for older buildings to undergo a structural audit. “If you go to parts of central and north Delhi, constructions there are very old, some even going back 100 or even 200 years. This problem isn’t that acute as far as newer buildings are concerned, because care is being taken to ensure they follow the codes as strictly as possible. Also 25 years ago the codes were different. So a lot of buildings are built on outdated codes,” he shared with The Blue Circle.
He also called for the need to retrofit older and existing structures. “When I mentioned the issue of structural audit, what do we exactly do? In a structural audit we assess the resilience of buildings, we see older codes and newer codes and accordingly there will be a retrofitting to ensure buildings constructed as per older codes are updated,” he said.
Kakkar gave an example to illustrate how it works.
“Architects and urban planners are now of the opinion that to make buildings safer it is important to use reinforced cement concrete to make the base of the building stronger. It’s called a plinth beam, which is nothing but a reinforced cement concrete put between the wall of the building and its foundation. This ensures that when cracks develop in the building – which will happen in the wake of an earthquake – these cracks do not extend all the way down,” he said.