AFTER living in structurally weak buildings, the residents cry out only after they have been affected by cracks in them or after they collapse. Their neighbours are weary as they do not know what will happen to them next.
The solution that works is to have a team of good structural engineers to monitor the construction of all buildings. No one can trust the building construction committee in Karachi, or in other cities. Most people employed by the government might be corrupt and there are too many buildings being constructed all over Pakistan.
Qualified structural engineers should come to the site as and when each stage is to be built. When the engineer comes to the site and for some reason the builder delays the fixing of steel or pouring concrete, the builder should be fined and until he pays the fine, construction should be stopped. The builder will pay a small fee to the engineer for this job.
Last month, we saw in Karachi buildings where medical goods were stored in basement and rainwater entered in these buildings. This spoiled the things stored there. There is a four-part solution for this.
First, if medical store owners want to put their goods on the first floor, all the buildings must be designed by a qualified architect and structural engineer to ensure that it is sturdy.
Second, preferably all goods should be stored on the first floor for safety. Third, then each building should have underground water-proofing in their floors, walls and foundations as we may have heavy rains next year, too.
Lastly, spending a little more on construction is better than facing an economic loss owing to flooding of the building. Spending a bit more on construction means safety.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020