Earthquake and the fear of staying in high rises

It was around noon today that the heavy jolts sent many of my neighbors out of their homes.
Few were semi dressed, others were giving an unbearable impression as if experiencing sunlight for the first time.
“It was horrible” one murmured, others were busy calling their relatives and friends to know about their well being.
The thought of many of my near and dear ones staying in high rises was driving my blood pressure north.
It was not long when people started going back to their homes. After reaching back home, I first called up my relatives staying in high rises and then followed it up by calling others. Very soon the news of a major earthquake started flashing on news channel.
We knew it was a strong one, the one with the capacity of shocking the world.
It was one of those days that you mourn for people you never saw, never spoke to.

With sanity and emotions restored, I started researching on what guidelines a builder needs to follow to ensure an earthquake resistant structure, something that I had left in the middle few months back.
The building requirements in different seismic zones may differ but the model building bye laws are the same.
The guidelines range from structure to provisions (and alternate evacuation points) catering to emergencies and each builder needs to submit assessment of building safety from a recognized body at the time of i) laying first level of columns and then ii) at the time of applying for occupation certificate.
The foundation and laying of columns forms the basis for structural safety. Hence, every builder is supposed to get an approval from recognized body like IITs indicating patronage of norms.
While issuance of occupation certificate from concerned authority should imply the safety measures are being followed, skepticism does run heavy given the corrupt elements in the system.
It is however to be believed that since 1983s, the minimum safety requirements have only gone stricter to the extent that few builders in Mumbai have also been asked to re-construct their base structure.

Given the situation, authorities are the best judge.
As a buyer, we should check with the builder whether they possess the desired certificate i) at the time of basement work and ii) after tower completion. That’s all we can do and could just hope that the authorities do the rest.

We wish the almighty gives the souls the strength and courage to stand the loss of their loved ones.

Comments/Feedback invited.

Last updated: April 25, 2015 at 22:39 pm

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