Quake Makes J-K Rewrite Building Bylaws
5 April 2007
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The latest tremor on Monday may not have caused much damage, but the Jammu and Kashmir Government is aware of the fact that the state falls in Zone V, the highest seismic activity zone. With this in mind, it is changing building bylaws to minimise the loss of life and property in case of a major earthquake. According to officials, the state government is coming out with an amendment in the Master Plan to change the structure code in the state. Following the amendment, the building designs will be passed only after it satisfies the criteria for earthquake-resistant construction design. Chief town planner Mir Naseem said modifications in the Master Plan would be notified in the middle of the year. 'Not just at the designing level, but inspection and certification would be done after completion of construction as well,' said Naseem. According to him, though amendments would be made specifically in the Srinagar Master Plan, the codes of design would be implemented in 72 urban settlements and all housing in rural areas as well. 'The master plans of other areas will also be amended and the codes would apply across the state,' he added. Each of the districts will have a senior engineer or an officer involved with the architecture as the 'certification authority'. Naseem said the state had decided on the structure codes in consultation with disaster management experts from the Home Ministry's Disaster Management Team and National School of Architecture. 'Normally reinforced concrete buildings of proper design are not affected under moderate intensity earthquakes. The most important thing is proper alignment of the buildings and ensure that the structure is homogenous,' Naseem said, adding: 'Designing buildings that can resist earthquakes will include banding in the ground floor and increase in the quantity of reinforcing steel.' He also said the government was ready to offer incentives to people in rural areas who could not afford the extra cost. Cracking the code n Building constructed in urban areas will be approved by a registered professional engineer who will sign all building plans submitted to the city authorities. The proof-checker will also sign the structural drawings. Ground floors should have adequate support at the corners and those balanced on stilts should have sufficient reinforcement.