‘Onus on safety of buildings on government’
Following the demolition of a 11-storey building in Moulivakkam on Wednesday, after an adjacent building collapsed in 2014, leaving 61 dead, players in the realty sector have reiterated that the supervision of buildings during the critical stages of construction, needs to be carried out in a planned and documented fashion.
Realtors in the city believe serious government intervention is needed, in the form of certifying committees to future-proof the safety of buildings in the country. According to K Chandrasekar, President, NAR-CREAA (Chennai Real Estate Agents Association), “To my knowledge, after the untoward incident in Moulivakkam, no high rise buildings had been sanctioned in that particular location. Only buildings of ground plus four storeys have been sanctioned, as the authorities need more clarity on the way forward in this matter. The government needs to be seriously involved in the process of certifying buildings. We need norms to certify buildings and pull up builders who are not adhering to norms.” N Nandakumar, MD, Devinarayan Housing, Past President of CREDAI, Tamil Nadu says, “Currently in India, we do not have any accredited agency which has got the competence and capability to supervise and clear a realty project at every stage of criticality. Such aspects of a project have to be looked into, during the execution stage, when the structure is coming up. Today we have a completion certificate methodology, which only gives a certificate that the building has been completed as per norms, on a cosmetic perspective. There is no wherewithal from the agencies as to providing the technical knowhow and the knowledge to certify the project from time to time.”
He adds, “Most countries have a mechanism whereby a government-aided agency can provide this certification. In Singapore, there is the Building Construction Authority which has to certify every pore of concrete in every building. Bringing in a proper licensing mechanism to certify developers is also the need of the hour.”
T Chitty Babu, Chairman & Managing Director, Akshaya Homes says, “Post the Moulivakkam incident, the state government has taken measures, such as requiring stability and structural certificates from the builders. It has to be approved by the Public Works Department (PWD) or Anna University. You also need to produce a report, every three months, on the progress of construction. We have a process driven system that involves structural consultants and peer reviews as well.”
Sanjay Chugh, the Founder of Skylines Property Consultants says home buyers on their part can seek the assistance of a qualified architect or engineer during any stage of construction for an independent verification of the strength of a structure.