What role does structural auditing play in construction sector?

In India there are many old buildings which have reduced strength in due course of time. If further use of such deteriorated structure is continued it may endanger the lives of the occupants and surrounding habitation. Appropriate actions should then be implemented to improve the performance of structures and restore the desired function of structures. Thus, it is utmost important to perform structural audit of existing buildings and to implement maintenance/ repair work timely which will lead to prolonged life of the building and safety of the occupant.

The purpose of a structural audit is also to understand the possible solutions for the damage that may have been observed in the building. The eventual outcome of the audit should be an understanding on the future safety of the building based on current loading parameters and durability conditions. A report prescribing methods to achieve habitable and safe building is the desired outcome.

In India, there are many old buildings that have completed their lifespan of more than 100 years without any maintenance. It is very necessary to do the structural Audit of such buildings to ensure the safety of Occupants. Hence, for a sustainable and safe community of mindful residents, Structural Audit is essential.

Importance of Structural Audit

  • Structural audit is an important technique to understand the condition / distress level of any existing building / structure.
  • It is advisable to carry out a structural audit of your building every ten years or so. It is a must, especially if the building is more than 30 years old.
  • It is basically a health and performance check-up of the Buildings done by a structural engineer like a doctor who examines a patient. It is a highly technical and specialized process.
  • Structural Audit should be periodically done in order to prevent any damages of the Buildings and loss of human life.
  • The structures get deteriorate with time due to which it is necessary to periodically examine the structures and do necessary modifications in the component parts of the structure.

Purpose of Structural Audit

  • To understand the present condition of the Buildings.
  • To Identify the Critical areas of Buildings and to rectify it.
  • To ensure the safety of Human Life and Buildings.
  • To suggest necessary Repairs and modifications in the buildings.
  • To improve the lifespan and efficiency of Buildings.
  • It helps to prevent any sudden collapse or disaster.

Steps involved

  1. Collection of general data related to buildings.
    • Name of User.
    • Year of Construction.
    • Exposure conditions of structures etc.
  2. Visual inspection of the structure.
    • Is there any settlement in the foundation?
    • Inspection of defects.
    • Whether reinforcement is corroded.
  3. Non-Destructive Testing
    • Rebound hammer test -To measure surface hardness of concrete.
    • Ultrasonic Pulse velocity test -To assess the homogeneity of the concrete.
    • Half-cell potential test – To assess the probability of corrosion of steel.
  4. Chemical Tests
    • This is used to identify various properties of concrete
    • Carbonation Test- To assess the depth of carbonation and pH of concrete.
    • Chloride Test- To assess total water/acid-soluble chloride content of concrete.
    • Sulphate Test – To assess the total water-soluble sulphate content of concrete.
  5. Core Testing
    • It is a method used to measure strength, permeability, and density of concrete by taking core samples.
  6. Destructive/ Overloading Test
    • In this test, the load is applied to components parts in order to check whether there any variation. It is generally not recommended and done in special cases.

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