Wednesday, March 29, 2023

‘Consultant and owner’ would be held responsible for structural failure of MLC building: MUDA


The Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) granted building permission for the new Assembly building with the clause that “consultant and owner” would be held responsible for structural failure of the building under the Meghalaya Building Bye laws, 2021.
Under the bye laws which were framed in 2021, an owner is defined as “a person who receives the rent for use of land or building, or would be entitled to do so if they were let.” However, consultant is not defined under the bye law.
On Sunday, the steel dome of the under-construction building had apparently collapsed due to its “faulty design”. The construction of the new assembly building on 80 acres land at Mawdiangdiang in the New Shillong Township began in June, 2019 much before the State government notified the building bye laws. The new assembly building was to be completed by August 2022. Incidentally, the State Public Works Department (PWD) received a building permission sanction under the 2021 bye laws on December 6, 2021, when much of the work was completed.
Prior to the notification, sources said, MUDA voiced concerns over the height of the building which was proposed at 62.98metre from the ground to the dome. The PWD department has been supervising the project and two construction companies – Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited (UPRNN) and Badri Rai Limited were engaged to build it.
As per the tender agreement, 60 percent of the work, including construction of the dome was being done by UPRNN. Badri Rai Limited was entrusted with the rest of the work and constructed the left and right wing of the building.
“Initially, MUDA was reluctant to grant permission to such a height as the state falls in the highly seismic zone 5. MUDA granted building permission for the new Assembly building after IIT-Roorkee vetted the design,” sources said.
The 63 meter height meant that the structure would be a 21 storied building from the ground (height of one floor from ground to slab is generally about 3 meters.) “MUDA proposed that the height of the building should not exceed 34 meters or an 11 storied building,” sources said.
Still a building of that height (11storied) would be the tallest in the state and an engineering feat owing to the topography, geographical factors and other technical aspects taken into consideration. As per documents made available, MUDA Secretary issued the building permission to the Chief Engineer of PWD on December 6, 2021 and mentioned that the “total height of the building should not exceed 62.98 metre, including roof and dome the as per the approval of the government in May 25, 2018.”
“The construction will be undertaken as per sanctioned plans only and no deviation from the bye-laws will be permitted without prior sanction. Any deviation against the bye-laws or sanctioned plans is liable to be demolished and the supervising consultant engaged in the job will run the risk of being black listed,” the building permission letter reads. Moreover, “the consultant along with the owner will be held responsible for any kind of structural failure of the building.”
Sources said that the concern raised by MUDA Secretary was overlooked. PWD executive engineer (Buildings), Ransom Sutnga, who has been overseeing the construction, had said that the dome of the under-construction collapsed due to “faulty design”.
The Assembly building design was done by Design Associates Limited from Noida. This firm and also UPRNN were already under the CBI scanner for alleged violation of Central Vigilance Commission norms.

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