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Better Safe Than Sorry

People start to fear something only when they openly see the effects of it. The need for building codes have also been recently realised after the Nepal earthquake. There are a lot of migrants who want to buy flats in Chennai but they should be careful before doing so and note if the property follows the Indian building codes as Chennai is a moderate seismic zone.


People may wonder if earthquake resistant buildings are plausible, if so then the advancement in seismic engineering has proved that this is definitely possible. Certain concepts and factors based on the belief of structural design need to be embodied in the planning of structures right from their conceptualisation so that the structures are stable, robust and durable and at the same time inherently elastic to bend under seismic activity and absorb the shocks. They must conform to the strength and the serviceability criteria. Geotechnical Investigations are essential and also the soil-structure interaction study so that an appropriate foundation system is provided - the sine qua non for a stable, robust and durable structure.


 The Building Envelope serves to provide a safe and secure enclosure unaffected by the vagaries of nature.


•    Cladding, internal walls and partitions, false ceilings, etc., that go to make a place habitable and functional must be isolated from seismic motion but at the same time be restrained from deforming beyond permissible limits.
•    The cladding has to withstand the diurnal and seasonal changes, the beating from rainfall and hailstorms.
•    The design and detailing of this requires as much care as that for the structural load bearing members.
•    Buildings are considered as lifeless, stationary bodies. That’s not so. They are “living” entities in the sense that they respond to the environment – they breathe “in and out” depending on external and internal temperatures.


Time and again it has been stressed that structures must be designed and monitored by qualified, competent and experienced structural engineers. The team for building a project should also comprise of engineers from these disciplines. Only then can the building be properly designed and be fit for the intended purpose. The complete planning and designing should be holistic and integrated as per the National Building Code of India 2005.

 

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