The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has been asked by the Bombay High Court to conduct a fresh structural audit of Gautam Niwas, the building in Andheri, which lies next to the construction site of the second Metro line.
The building suffered cracks in February 2009.
A division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice U.D. Salvi, on Monday, asked the IIT to determine whether the cracks developed because of the use of a vibrohammer used for building the foundation of the elevated route of the Metro line, or whether they are age-related cracks.
Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), a venture between Reliance Infrastructure, MMRDA and French firm Veolia, was given the contract for the construction of phase one of the Metro rail between Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar.
The court has directed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to initially bear the cost for the structural audit.
After the IIT submits its report, the high court will fix liability on either MMOPL or the residents of Gautam Niwas.
Varshna Co-Operative Housing Society, which houses Gautam Niwas and some other buildings, had moved the high court in June seeking that an independent agency be appointed to conduct the structural audit, since the earlier firm — Structwel Designers & Consultants — was blacklisted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on February 5.
Structwel had submitted a report in April saying that the building had suffered cracks because of “original poor quality construction” and “not due to use of a vibrohammer”.
In a petition filed by the housing society, Structwel’s right to conduct and audit was questioned because it had already been blacklisted when the audit was conducted.
The petition also alleges that since Structwel is conducting a pre-construction survey for the second Metro line, which will be built by Reliance Infra.
Therefore, the firm was most likely to give a biased report.
The petition BMC had also issued a notice to the residents in June saying that building is in ruinous condition, which is contrary to the stability certificate given by Structwel.