Bengaluru: Seven-storey building for police develops cracks, tilts | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Buildings tilting or collapsing across the city point to construction shortcuts and poor maintenance.
On Saturday, a seven-storey apartment, built for police personnel, in Magadi Road area, developed a major crack and titled dangerously to one side.
While civil engineering and structural stability experts are examining if the building can be strengthened or would have to be brought down, everyone is shocked that the building is just three years old and had been approved by a committee comprising top-notch geotechnical professionals.
Alarm bells started ringing last week when the fissure was seen last week in Unit-B, home to 32 families, of the quarters located near the erstwhile Binny Mills land.
There are three high-rise units with 192 flats. “Though we’ve been seeing cracks in the wall for the past year, it started increasing following recent heavy rain. We didn’t want to take any chances as several buildings have crashed in the city over the past two weeks. We alerted everyone, including the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation which built it,” said a police personnel, who didn’t want to be identified.
City police commissioner Kamal Pant, who visited the spot, said: “There are technical lapses, it looks like there are problems in the foundation.” He added that families staying in the building for the past two years have been told to evacuate till a solution is found on experts’ recommendations. Arrangements have been made to relocate them to the police quarters in Annapoorneshwari Nagar
A few senior police officials blamed poor construction quality and plan changes. “The apartment was built for the families of police constables by KSPHC and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (IDCL). The project envisaged construction of 128 flats with two blocks of 64 houses. But the structure has 192 flats and three blocks. “The foundation is weak and that’s why the building tilted,” sources said.
Senior BBMP officials said they did not have any role in construction. BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said the contractor is to blame for lapses in construction. “It was built using only cement blocks and there is no beam for support. The lives of police personnel and their family members are at risk. The police must take action against the contractors.”
The widening gap

Experts examining the building feel that adequate groundwork, including extensive studies related to soil strength, should have been done before construction using pre-cast technology.
In the preliminary report submitted to the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation (KSPHC) following complaints of cracks in the building, a panel pointed out that the gap between two blocks was glaring from the fifth floor to the basement. While acknowledging that the building has tilted on its side by 0.008 degrees, the committee said there is no immediate danger though the building is not safe.
An expert in the probe panel told STOI: “The apartment is built on a lake bund and 12.5ft of loose soil had been dumped before construction. Experts from the Indian Institute of Science gave the clearance for construction. The foundation is not deep enough but it survived as pre-cast technology was used.”
Then chairperson of KSPHC’s technical advisory committee and foundation consultant Prof BR Sreenivasa Murthy said: “I did not tell them to construct the building. It’s the committee which gave the nod. Since they used moulded elements, it was fine to proceed.” On damage-control measures, experts are yet to suggest alternative solutions. City police commissioner Kamal Pant said: “We’re discussing them with experts.”
(With inputs from Pavan Kumar Pateel)

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Sagar Biswas

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