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By Nithin Sridhar
Two buildings have collapsed in the last one week in Thane district of Maharashtra. The first incident occurred on the night of 28-July in Thakurli town, when a two-storey building- MatruKrupa- collapsed. At least 6 people were killed and around 20 families were feared to be trapped.
In the second incidence within a week, a three-storey building “Krishna Nivas” collapsed on the early morning of 4-August in Naupada locality, Thane West. At least 12 people including six women and one child have died and seven others were injured.
Both the buildings were in a shabby condition and the Thane Municipal Corporation had declared Krishna Nivas, dangerous. But, these are not the only cases of building collapses in the Thane region.
In April 2013, a seven-storied under construction building, which was being illegally erected in Mumbra, Thane, collapsed killing 74 people including 23 women and 18 children and injuring more than 100 people.
The lower floors of the building were allowed to be occupied, even though the construction of upper floors were incomplete. The eye witness accounts had said that a section of the building collapsed, causing the entire building to come down.
Urbanization and building collapse
According to the document “Disaster Management in India”, 2,833 people died due to building collapse in 2008. The number of people who died in 2009 stood at 2,847. The collapse of buildings, especially the multi-storey ones have been continuously increasing in last few years.
Due to real estate boom, new high-rise buildings are coming up everywhere, and there is a huge competition in this sector. In order to stay in this competition, the builders are hard-pressed to complete these buildings as early as possible.
This has resulted in flouting of various building norms by the builders.
Many also employ unskilled workmen and use poor building materials without any proper structural design that ultimately lead to the collapse of the buildings.
For example, in 2013 Thane incident, the seven-story building was finished within 7 months, and the lower floors were allowed to be occupied by construction workers and their families without getting occupancy certificates. Further, it was found that sub-standard construction materials were used by the builder in order to increase the profit margin.
Commenting on the 2013 incident, the “India Disaster Report 2013” released by National Institute of Disaster Management said:
“Unfortunately the events like the Thane building collapse are a regular phenomenon in rapidly urbanizing cities of India. Such accidents often involve buildings in low-income, semi-formal and informal housing sectors. There are indeed gaps in the system that lead to poor construction which need to be addressed at various levels. Most of the illegally constructed buildings are more often than not, likely to be substandard and dangerous. The buildings which are constructed without professional engineering protocols and usually with untrained construction workers are most vulnerable.”
Another major reason for building collapse is that the owners of buildings are irresponsible and have no concern for the condition of their buildings.
The old buildings are left in dilapidated conditions and are never repaired. Even when structural cracks begin to appear, no actions are taken, resulting in eventual collapse, as happened in Matru Krupa.
Even before the building collapsed, portions of inner slabs had begun collapsing. But the owners apparently did not make any effort at getting them repaired.
A building is a vertical load carrying RCC member
A building is basically a vertical load bearing reinforced concrete (RCC) member which is designed to take on various loads and pressure applied on it without breaking, bending, overturning, or collapsing.
The buildings and their foundations are usually designed to carry dead loads, live loads and sometimes even resist horizontal forces due to wind or earthquakes.
The dead loads are nothing but the self-weight of the buildings and the weight of the other immovable objects that may be kept inside the building. The live loads are the movable loads that are imposed for a short duration at a particular position. For example, weight of the moving cars on a bridge is the live load applied on a bridge.
Similarly, in buildings, people and various other objects which are not stationary constitute live loads.
A margin of safety called “factor of safety” is taken into consideration during the design of any building so that a building is designed to resist a higher range of loads than what it is going to be exposed to in practice.
Therefore, a properly designed structure which is executed according to those designs should not collapse or show deep structural faults until its design life ends. But, many of the modern day buildings are undergoing failure on both the counts of durability and serviceability.
Stability of a building
The stability of a building is understood with respect to its ability to resist various stresses, displacement, and deflections that may lead to the collapse of the buildings.
The stability depends on various factors like, type and distribution of loads on the building; the shape, size and materials used in the building etc. A building may collapse when a local failure at one structural member leads to failure at adjacent members which will in-turn lead to failure of the whole building.
Sometimes, a shear wall may fail causing a side-sway failure. An overstressing of the sub-soil below the foundation may result in settlement of sub soil which in-turn will lead to overturning failure of the building.
Causes of building collapse
According to “Study of Recent Building Failures in the United States” report:
“The principal causes of building failures are categorized as deficiencies in design,detailing, construction, maintenance, use of materials, and inadequate consideration of external events. Deficiency in design constitutes errors, mistakes, oversight, omission, or conceptual flaw that could have taken place during the design process of the building. Detailing is a ‘‘transition’’ process between design and construction periods, in which the details of the structural design are prepared for their implementation through shop drawings. Detailing deficiency includes errors, mistakes,omissions, and discontinuity/loss of design concept. Construction deficiency occurs as problems with workmanship and deviation of results from the specifications.”
The India Disaster Report 2013 points out the following causes of building collapse:
- The structure is not strong enough to support the load and hence it fails when it reaches a critical stress level. The structure may be weak due to its shape, size, or choice of its material.
- The instability due to geometry, design, or material choice, will cause the structure to fail from fatigue or corrosion.
- Failure may also occur due to improper selection of materials, incorrect sizing, improper heat treating, or shoddy workmanship.
- Failure may also occur from use of defective materials. The material may have been improperly manufactured, or may have been damaged from prior use.
- Vandalism, sabotage, and natural disasters can overstress a structure to the point of failure. Improper training of those who use and maintain the construction can also overstress it, leading to potential failures.
Remedies against building collapse:
First and foremost remedy will be to curb illegal constructions.
The municipal corporations should also carry out a survey of the health of the various buildings to ensure the safety of its residents. Strict action should be implemented against those who subvert the law and build illegal buildings or add extra floors than permissible according to local building codes.
At a technical level, no construction should ever be started without a proper structural design by a structural engineer.
The builders must employ quality materials and good workmanship in the execution of a structure. Soil tests must be compulsorily conducted before the construction of any building. Strict supervision as well as third party assessment must be implemented to assess the quality of work at a construction site.
Prabhakar, in his 1998 paper “Building collapses and remedies” lists various remedies to be adopted. Some of them are:
- The structural designs prepared by the engineer appointed by a builder must be cross-checked by another structural engineer appointed by the municipal corporation. The municipal corporation may hire external structural consultants for the purpose. This will prevent faulty structural designs that may result in building failure.
- The site execution of construction work, especially with respect to RCC work must be supervised by an external licensed supervising engineer appointed by Municipal Corporation.
- Soil investigation report of the site must be made mandatory and must be conducted by a reputed institute or a laboratory. This will reduce the risk of building collapse by foundation failure.
- The final copies of design and drawings must be given to the owners of the building for safe keeping which will become useful when any structural repairs are to be done in future.
- Any structural repairs work or addition of new floors must be done only after consulting structural engineers.
- For buildings which are old and which are showing signs of deterioration, immediate health check must be carried out and proper repairs must be implemented after consulting a structural engineer.
These measures, if properly implemented by both the local authorities and the builders, will prevent incidents of building collapses and will effectively save hundreds of lives.
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord