Mumbai, is your building quake resistant?

  • Naresh Kamath and Sanjana Bhalerao, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 27, 2015 23:16 IST

With high-rises dotting the skyline and little open space to escape, will Mumbai be able to withstand a quake like the one that hit Nepal on Saturday or will the country’s financial capital collapse like a pack of cards?

While experts say yes, builders claim the structures are safe.

The Bureau of Indian Standards does not have a code that governs high-rises with regards to earthquake resistant structures.

According to Sandeep Shah, country head, Miyamoto International, who had filed a PIL on the issue, skyscrapers are at the highest risk. “We have a code [IS 1893] that governs only up to 9-storey buildings,” said Shah.

The current code in IS 1893, which was revised in 2002 after the Bhuj earthquake, seems to be inadequate as the city is growing vertically.

Mumbai falls under seismic zone 4 — the high-risk zone.

According to Baba Dalvi, an architect, most structures are designed to withstand mild tremors. “But there is nothing one can do about high-intensity disasters.”

So does this mean that buildings will come crashing down in case of a major quake? No say builders, stressing that safety of homebuyers is paramount to them.

A spokesperson from Tata Housing said they research the area and the site before starting construction. “All Tata Housing structures are complaint with the necessary requirements for earthquake proofing,” the spokesperson said.

Subodh Runwal, director, Runwal Group said, “We use more steel than required and adopt stringent measures. Our buildings are all earthquake resistant.” Experts say while the big builders take precautions to ensure the buildings can withstand earthquakes to a certain extent, the smaller developers ignore norms.

Despite the high level of risk, the BMC has not carried out any survey to check the resistance of existing structures.

Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said, “When the building plans are submitted for approval, the structural engineers take into consideration the seismic resistance of the building. As for dilapidated structures, we carry out inspection .”

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