Structural Audit Definition
A structural audit is an inspection of a building. It is done to check the overall health and performance check-up of a building. For a 15 to 30 years old building, the structural audit must be conducted once every 5 years. For buildings beyond 30 years, the structural audit must be conducted once every 3 years.
What is a Structural Audit?
Through the structural audit, it is ensured that the building and its premises are safe and have no risk. If any faults or risk is found while auditing the building they analyze and suggests appropriate repairs and retrofitting measure required for the better performance of the building. A licensed and experienced structural consultant conducts the structural audit.
Purpose of a Structural Audit?
A structural audit ensures that the building is safe to be used. If the structural audit is conducted regularly through that any faults or risks in the building can be identified at an earlier stage and can be cured without causing any major accidents or risks.
It is done to save human life and buildings by understanding the condition of the building. The building lifecycle is enhanced by suggesting preventive and corrective measures after identifying the critical areas to be repaired.
Advantages of Structural Audits
- The structural audit helps in identifying any risks at an earlier stage if it’s done regularly.
- The condition of the building can be identified through structural auditing
- It helps the building fulfill the statutory requirements.
- The areas which need immediate repairs can be identified using structural audits.
- It ensures more safety for human beings as well as the building.
What is a Structural Safety Audit?
A structural safety audit is a comprehensive check of buildings and premises, including verification of load conditions, and evaluation of the structural system of the building.
How to do a structural audit of a building?
The following steps or stages are involved in the process of Structural Audit
- Collection of general data of the Buildings
- Visual Inspection of the Structure
- Non-Destructive Testing
- Chemical Tests
- Core Testing
- Destructive / Overloading Test.
Collection of general data of the Buildings
First the general data of the buildings like address, year of construction, documents such as occupancy certificate, completion certificate, and No Objection Certificate (NOC) of a building.
Then collect the available plans and drawings of the building, previous records of audits, and repairs of the building.
Visual Inspection of the Structure
In this process, the concrete surface is examined to check the various concrete conditions by inspecting the structure visually.
In most cases, the structural audit is based on visual inspection, but in some buildings, Non-destructive testing techniques or controlled destructive techniques are used. One of the popular non-destructive tests is the rebound hammer test which is used to measure the residual strength of the concrete.
The results obtained from the test depend on the instrument and its skillful use as well as the readings. Tell a Tail is another non-destructive technique used to monitor the progress of crack with time.
One of the chemical tests used in structural auditing is the carbonation depth test. This is a semi-destructive type of test where the test results may take one-week time. An indicator solution I used for carbonation depth test in case of exposed deep cracks within the building or cuts in the cement concrete. Separate testing labs may be required for conducting the chemical tests.
In some buildings during the structural audit after the visual inspection, there is a need for destructive tests like a compressive test on concrete. The concrete cores are drilled from the actual structure for conducting the tests.
The drilling of the core should be done at a certain location of the member which does not affect the safety and stability of the building.
Destructive / Overloading Test
This type of testing is done only in special cases during the structural audit. The load is applied to components parts in order to check whether there is any variation in the structure.
How much cost of the Structural Audit
The structural audit services can cause fees of Rs 15,000/- to Rs 50,000/- per building. It can be charged on the number of tests conducted and the cost can range from Rs 2 to Rs 5 per square foot or higher.
Inspection Checklist for Structural Audit
Question and Answer
How structural audit is done?
The structural audit is the overall health check-up of a building which includes the visual inspection, Collection of general data of the Buildings, Non-Destructive Testing, Chemical Tests, Core Testing, and sometimes destructive or overloading tests.
Who does structural audit?
The structural audit is usually conducted by a building inspector who should be either certified as a residential building inspector or commercial building inspector or as a plumbing, electrical or mechanical inspector who may inspect or investigate structures at different stages of completion.
A structural audit is necessary when_____
A structural audit is necessary when a building is between the age of 15 years or more to check the safety of a building or a structure.