Architects to be held liable for structural changes

Architects to be held liable for structural changes

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Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai will hold builders and architects responsible for any structural flaws found after granting of Occupation Certificate. These structural irregularities can include changes in building plans, no provision for proper fire exits, or diversion of the exits for some other use, etc. Importantly, this notification will be applicable for ten years of construction of any building.

The notification issued by the Corporation sometime back, holds the construction company and other professionals, mainly the contractor, sub-contractor, architect or licence surveyor, structural engineer, site supervision or site engineer and consultant, responsible for any structural flaws or defects found in a building after its gets the occupation certificate (OC). the Corporation hopes to check the increasing irregularities and flagrant violations of rules in the building construction.

According to the new rule, the Corporation will issue the OC only after the developers submit their insurance papers. The condition will be applicable to all buildings constructed in a 750 sq. metre built-up area and above.

Interestingly, however, the builder, architect and others can cover the liability by taking an insurance cover. According to a leading architect “this has been a prevailing practice in most of the developed countries. So nothing wrong if we follow the similar rules.” However, there are some architects who expressed concerns about the enforcement of the new rule. Their fear is that guilty can get away with the crime by greasing the palms of the officials as it has been happening in other departments of the Corporation. “The new rules will provide one more avenue for the officials to make money,” said an architect on the condition of anonymity. Experts also expressed their unhappiness saying “how an architect can be held responsible once the building is handed over to the occupant.”