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28 Jul, 2020

How Retrofitting / Strengthening Leads to Performance Improvement of Old Buildings?

How Strengthening, Retrofitting of Old Buildings Leads to Performance improvement?

Need for Timely and Expert Health Assessment of Decaying Structures

In a city that is home to many old buildings, incidents of collapsing of deteriorating buildings leading to death, injury and financial damage are not new.

Only last week there was a report that two old buildings in Mumbai had collapsed, taking the precious lives of several citizens. This mishap also highlighted the grim reality that there are hundreds of high-risk buildings in Mumbai that need urgent redevelopment; whereas there are thousands of buildings in Mumbai itself that would need immediate structural assessment and subsequent strengthening/retrofitting.

Deterioration of structures is rampant in places like Mumbai where there is high humidity and heavy rainfall owing to the tropical climate. Moreover, a majority of concrete structures built prior to the 80's are approaching the end of their design service life. This calls for an urgent health assessment of not only the deteriorated structures but also all the old structures dotting the city-scape. The analogy of aged automobiles illustrates the point: Upon expiry of service life of a vehicle, it is mandatory to get the permit renewed through the Regional Transport Office after proper assessment through them. Similarly, suitable norms must be applied and regulations effectively implemented in the civil engineering industry as well. Generally, maintenance of a structure is misconstrued as only cosmetic repairs like changing plaster and/or paint and touch-up jobs. The focus is on the exterior aesthetic appearance only whereas the root of the problem beneath the surface is often overlooked and concealed in such cosmetic repairs.

There could be major issues such as cracks, carbonation of concrete, rusting of reinforcements, etc. in the main structural elements. Though these problems are not visible, they are nevertheless crucial in ensuring the performance and utilitarian value of the building. Hence such problems must be attended on priority. Cosmetic repairs are equally important to protect the main structural elements beneath. However, cosmetic repair works should be undertaken only upon ensuring that the main structural elements are free from any underlying defects. This is possible only through proper health assessment i.e., an in-depth structural audit carried out by qualified consulting engineers/agency. However, the structural audit reports invariably provide the details of defects in the structure and some very generic recommendations on strengthening/retrofitting. So the owners/end users, who are usually non-technical people, hardly understand such reports and so are unable to effectively implement any recommendations unless they hire another qualified agency. The second agency should not only be in a position to understand the report but also be capable enough to implement the strengthening/retrofitting scheme with necessary practical modifications in it.

Thus, the entire process involves:
a) Hiring a qualified agency to perform structural health assessment
b) Obtaining a structural audit report from this agency
c) Hiring repair contractors who are qualified enough to implement the recommended strengthening/repairing scheme
d) Co-ordinating between the structural audit agency and repair contractor
e) Getting the repaired/retrofitted work vetted through an independent, third-party certifying agency/the same structural audit agency

This multi-vendor dependency makes the entire process tedious and challenging for the owners/end users. It also turns out to be uneconomical...
At Hexacure, we understand the concerns of building owners and end users; to maximize their convenience and optimize cost, we thus offer a turnkey innovative solution in the field of repairs, retrofitting and strengthening of structures using advanced material systems. We offer services right from health assessment, structural assessment, design of strengthening/retrofitting schemes, material design, manufacturing of bespoke specialty construction materials, project monitoring during execution at site and commissioning with suitable validation tests at site.

With Hexacure, your building revitalization project is in reliable and capable hands. Whether it is a residential, commercial, institutional or industrial building structures, we provide superior Structural Strengthening and Protection services that bring best value for money. Contact Hexacure to effectively resolve the issues related to your aged/deteriorated structures. Talk to our experts, today.

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