Why completed buildings (not during construction) collapse?

Recently there have been many news items where we have seen multiple buildings which have been occupied and complete in terms of construction collapse.

We have listed a few articles towards the end of this article

It is quite common to attribute adverse weather conditions as the main reason for collapse of buildings, however, it is observed that the major reasons for collapse of a completed building are many others.

Quite often a common man consults a doctor when a person falls ill and seeks professional advice and spends a couple of hundred rupees, however, even an educated person, rarely considers it prudent to consult a Structural Engineer or a Project Management Consultant when the same person plans to put up a building spending Crores of rupees.

This attitude is nothing short of paying scant respect to life and property and an example of being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’.

It would be wise to engage the services of professionals to put up a building, big or small.

As regards reasons for collapse of buildings under use there are many as listed here.

  • Settlement of soil on which the foundations are resting (Safe Bearing Capacity of soil or SBC not assessed).
  • Insufficient soil preparation.
  • Failure of structure (foundation, columns, beams, slab etc.,) due to design flaws and or not adhering to BIS codes. Manifest after the building is occupied and put to use.
  • Over loading (adding floors, changing use)
  • Inappropriate additions and alterations to structures (dismantle columns, beams etc.,) thus endangering structural integrity.
  • Use of inferior building materials.
  • Lack of professional supervision (not adhering to drawings and details)
  • Bad workmanship (line and level)
  • Disturbance due to adjacent construction. (Rock blasting, deep excavation)
  • Deterioration due to water seepage, dampness. (Reinforcement corrosion)
  • Natural disasters (fire, earthquake, floods etc.,)

If you are occupying a building and you have apprehensions about its structural stability, you don’t have to worry or panic.

The building can be strengthened and made safe for habitation.

To assess what and how Strengthening can be achieved, few diagnostic tests on the building, an audit of the structural drawings have to be conducted. After evaluating the results of the test conducted, an experienced Structural Engineer will make recommendations as how the building can be strengthened, and stability achieved.  The strengthening work is take up by another professional agency and delivered.

Therefore, it is advisable and recommended to have building’s structural stability evaluated, particularly in the absence of records of quality tests and structural stability certificate by the structural engineer.


There is a very detailed video by Mr A N Prakash

The reasons for cracks forming.


Why completed buildings collapse?


Articles from news papers