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DDA must ensure quality control

Experts speak on home truths in New Delhi.

delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2010 23:34 IST

DDA must ensure quality control

Sudhir Vohra,
Architect and urban law expert

The basic difference between DDA and flats constructed by good construction companies is that the latter separate quality audit from construction audit. The separate overseeing provides a counter check. Reputed construction companies always have a watertight compartment between their design, construction and quality assurance departments because unlike DDA, they are answerable to their customers. They invest in quality assurance dept to make sure their performance is matched with promise. DDA only started third party audit recently.

Undone by building material

Ranjit Mitra,
Director, SPA

Most DDA flats have been made with reinforced concrete, which requires major renovation after 25 years.

Without maintenance, things will just fall apart as material in these flats were not so good. Water plays havoc with reinforced concrete and seepage can the building structurally unsafe. Most DDA flats look like slums after a point of time.

This is because the quality of construction was not supervised during construction.

Things are much better now but in the past, quality of construction of government buildings was pretty poor.

One reason for the bad quality of construction was perhaps due to the massive cement shortage in the 1970’s, when many of these buildings came up. There might have been compromise in the construction quality.

DDA has started quality audits only recently and that too is departmental supervision.

Corruption ate into the houses

Kuldip Singh,
Architect and town planner

Ideally a structure made of reinforced concrete should remain undamaged for at east 50 years, if not 100. But the DDA colonies are not that lucky.

They start developing faults within a few seasons thanks to poor construction quality.

The quality suffers only because there is corruption in the DDA’s process of construction.

I have worked with government agencies including the Delhi Development Authority in the past to know that this is a disease.

The city has numerous example of well-constructed government buildings, which have remained unscarred for decades.

Take for example Usha Niketan in south Delhi, which I built for the DDA in the mid-Sixties.

They still stand tall without cracks and repairs. We can have mechanisms of on-site testing of quality etc, but if the system is corrupt, such mechanisms are rigged.