Did you know that there are more than 50,000 cooperative societies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Area out of which not even 10% undergo an audit and 600 are declared dilapidated every year? I’m not surprised! When I go apartment hunting for myself or friends, it’s difficult to ignore the state the majority of building’s interiors and exteriors. Cracks, seepage, water damage, peeling paint and discoloured walls are just a few visible signs of damage that are immediately visible before one even enters a building. If it was not for the “location” benefit that many of them share here in Mumbai, I’m sure they would have been deserted.
It’s quite strange when I think about it – I don’t remember my house in Goa, or any house I’ve been to there having water damage on the walls. Then again, the width of walls of old Portuguese houses are probably triple in width than those of buildings in Mumbai. We would at max have a drip or two from the tiled roofs during the monsoons – clay tiles are bound to crack during hot summers and due to age.
However in Mumbai, almost every building I’ve been to has varying amounts of water damage –peeling paint, discolouration, cracks and more. Each time I hear of a building collapse, I wonder if it could be caused due to walls that have been weakened by these factors. While many Goan houses are over a century old and still going strong, buildings in Mumbai look aged and weak in a decade or two, in spite of having a committee to take care of it. The buildings suffer the brunt of nearby construction, an excess of rainfall, poor maintenance and structural problems.
It could be possible that the committee responsible for a buildings upkeep could be busy with more pressing matters – residence complaints, dealing with defaulters, and making stringent rules to ensure that bachelors/single people don’t occupy flats (it happens more often than you think!) While everyday problems like these take time to solve, building damage can be temporarily covered with a fresh new coat of paint. It’s sad that timely diagnosis and expert help isn’t sought immediately and that people are more conscious of the upkeep of their own flats than the health of the overall building society.
What does a ‘healthy’ building mean? It is one that doesn’t have structural damage, water leakages, over-enthusiastic renovations that cause problems or sub-standard construction. In Mumbai, the rapidly growing population allows sub-standard buildings to live on, long past their lifespan without proper care. A healthy building is protected from leakages and water damage – even minor capillary water can severely damage the structure of a building and affect its longevity. The percolation of water on horizontal surfaces, chajjas and balconies need to be checked to prevent collation.
Another important factor is to ensure you hire a responsible interior designer – one who takes into account the constructional health of a building and designs in such a way as to ensure your house incorporates the latest in interior trends while being mindful about the alterations in respect to the health of the building.
Lastly, keep an eye out for tell-tale signs and avert major disasters by addressing these symptoms promptly. Notice cracks in the walls and fix them using the right products so that sealing and adhesion lasts a long time. You can hire the help of a knowledgeable structural engineer or waterproofing company like Dr. Fixit who, with the help of the correct tools and technology, can find out the exact cause and solution to your problem. You can also use their Tech Chat you can get to the root of the problem in no time.
Building healthier societies with Dr. Fixit
I recently attended an event conducted by Dr. Fixit on building healthier societies that featured a panel discussion by renowned personalities, namely:
- Ramesh Prabhu – Chairman of the Maharashtra Society Welfare Association
- Pankaj Shah – Repair and Structural Consultant
- Prakash Mathur – Director, Dr. Fixit Institute
- Kanika Bawa – Celebrity Architect and Installation Artist.
They all agree that just like we see a cold being manifested, but we don’t see the virus, we see cracks and discoloration in the floor and walls, but the causes for these may be any one of several things. A society needs to be aware that buildings need maintenance and it is necessary to address the early signs of deterioration to the structures before they weaken further. After all, buying a home eats up your lifetime’s worth of savings, hence, don’t scrape to save when it comes to maintaining the façade and legacy of your investment.
That’s all, folks! Catch ya next time!
P.S. This post is sponsored by Pidilite. Views, as always, are my own.