You are on page 1of 3

Communication Feature

The Legacy Continues


extensive experience in general repairs and restoration of industrial, commercial and housing complexes. Here are excerpts from the interview. Your father's Late Mr. R. N. Raikar's (a certain candidate in India's civil engineering hall of fame) contribution to the growth of the RRR industry in India is undeniable. Please take us through the initial days of his pioneering work in the industry? Repair and Rehabilitation work is something that our company began doing, under his able guidance, 47 years ago, and still continues to do with an exceptional expertise and passion. It is something which, both, me and the company inherited from him as my father and the founder of Structwel. He was also advisor to the Government in forming the 'Repair board' in 1968 and even today, some original techniques devised by him for repair and rehabilitation of heritage buildings, which were constructed with timber, stone or lime concrete, are famously known by his name. More than two decades ago, he started the first private sector material testing laboratory in India, which today, is a full-fledged, accredited testing laboratory and our inhouse R&D unit, through which we continue to develop new repair techniques and innovative applications for the existing techniques and materials. I still remember him telling me about his first project, 47 years ago, after founding Structwel, was the repair of a Balcony which had tilted, in some residential building in Dadar, Mumbai. That was Structwel's first successful project and since then we have continued the legacy in this field. He was a great believer in Sharing Knowledge! Can you recall for us some of the work shared by him for the benefit of the industry in India? My father contributed 4 books in this field, some of which also form a part of the course curriculum of some international universities. These are: Technology of Building Repairs (1973) Learning from Failures (1987, RP 2002) Diagnosis and Treatment of Structures in Distress (1994) Durable Structures through Planning for Preventive Maintenance (1994)

Structwel Designers & Consultants :

Chetan R. Raikar
Chairman & Managing Director, Structwel Designers & Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

onstruction of structures with reinforced cement concrete elements has been in vogue for nearly a century now. Initially RCC was considered as wondrous material. However, its susceptibility to certain chemicals came to fore with passage of time. This initiated the process to develop repair/ restoration techniques and materials, thus giving rise to new businesses, which have today grown considerably, owing to the enormous market, to constitute a large industry the Indian RRR industry. In an exclusive chat with The Masterbuilder, Mr. Chetan R. Raikar, Chairman & Managing Director, Structwel Designers & Consultants Pvt. Ltd., with his vast repertoire of knowledge in the field, gave detailed insights about the repair, rehabilitation and restoration industry in India. Mr. Raikar has successfully restored and renovated over 100 old prestigious heritage and archaeological buildings in India. He has several Industrial Projects to his credit for Total Engineering and Project Management pan India, along with

He also contributed over 200 papers at various International Conferences

After Repair Before Repair Architectural & Structural Restoration of Central Bank of India, Fort area of Mumbai

150

The Masterbuilder - December 2012 www.masterbuilder.co.in

Communication Feature

which are today referred in many colleges and universities. Do you think the time has come for the RRR industry in India? Today we witness several RCC buildings needing an early stage of repair. When I say early I consider a building demanding repair in 30 years of life also as early. Despite of the fact that we design for a lifespan of 100 years, the buildings start demanding repairs within 10-15 years and people start considering reconstruction as an option, as soon as it reaches a life of 35-40 years. This displays the confidence they posses in the structure, its design and construction quality and thus the mindset of the industry needs to be changed. In the recent times, quality of construction in India has gone down immensely, in efforts to create unethical profit margins and only a handful of contractors and builders maintain the quality standards of the buildings constructed by them. Regardless of the Indian RRR industry being an unorganized sector, it will grow with the huge amount of new construction coming up in form of residential and infrastructural systems. Also, since the quality of concrete has improved majorly in the past two decades only, structures constructed prior to it will contribute to the growth of this industry substantially. Moreover, the transportation infrastructural systems, designed for basic standard axle loads are suffering damages due to the illegal overloading of commercial vehicles and thus demand timely repair and rehabilitation for uninterrupted service.

Please take us through some of the challenging projects undertaken by your company? I can name a couple of our projects which I found duly challenging. One was the Kolkata metro health assessment project which is the first one of its kind to be carried out in our country. The challenging element in the work was that only one side of the concrete tunnel was exposed for testing because the other side is filled with earth and the chloride attacks through saline water are taking place on the other side only. However, we successfully completed the work. Another one was the post 26/11, restoration work of TAJ hotel, Mumbai which was affected from fire damage, grenade blasts and all the shooting that took place. There was fire damage on concrete, on timber and on stone, which made it a very intricate job along with the client pressure to restart the hotel at the earliest. Please comment on the role of composite materials in structure rehabilitation/ retrofitting? Structures can be repaired / retrofitted/conserved using traditional materials like lime, cement, steel etc. They can alternatively be repaired by using modern materials like polymers, epoxy, glass / carbon fibers etc. Very little is known about these chemicals to civil engineering consultants and hence heavy reliance is done on the Manufacturers' information. It is extremely important to study the compatibility between the material used for original construction and the new

material suggested for repairs. The modern materials have wonderfully strong and can be used truly innovatively if understood well. They also offer very high early strength and hence reduce the repair time though their cost is higher. There are numerous reports on failure of structures in the media these days. What according to you are the reasons behind these occurrences? Could this be due to ignorance or lack of technical knowledge? Despite of the fact that construction technology has progressed significantly in the past many decades and that we, today, possess exceptional skills, materials, machinery and capability to execute high quality and durable structures, there are such occurrences, because of lack of integrity. It's not because we are ignorant or incapable, but because we chose to construct poor quality structures for unethical earnings and purposes. What are the typical / preferred rehabilitation methods for historic structures in-order to retain its originality and at the same time it regains its strength too? Historic structures used stone, timer, lime, bricks etc. as main load bearing material of construction. Lime, terracotta, glass, different types if stones etc. are used for external rendering and decoration in these structures. Rehabilitation / retrofitting techniques used in historic structures must be discrete and Just the Right type. Any system or technique adopted for rehabilitation / retrofitting must not interfere with the aesthetics ( internal or external ) of the structure. It is best to try and use same material as used in original construction. Several interventions are permitted like using steel flitching in timber construction for earthquake retrofitting, steel / copper, brass pins in stone masonry, lime / lime-cement grouting in cracks and water proofing etc. Beam column joint is the first point where crack occurs, in an earthquake prone area. What are the possible

Before Repair

After Repair

Sun Vacuum Formers Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Fire Damaged Structure

www.masterbuilder.co.in The Masterbuilder - December 2012

151

Communication Feature

What is your vision for this Industry in the upcoming decade and where is it heading for the future? Research and development is one field where we extensively lack and are heavily dependent on the developed countries. No substantial contribution has been made by India to this industry in the past 30 years. The central Govt. institutions need to act as an efficient interface between the industry and R&D facilities while supporting the R&D facilities financially and by governing their progress and output in an organized manner. Organizing and regulating this sector is essential for its progress though it will continue to grow at a substantial pace owing to the enormous infrastructural development taking place in the country. Your message to all those engineers and personnel who are in repair and rehabilitation job? I am a student of the subject & learning repairs and rehabilitation for last 25 years. I do not consider myself senior enough to give a message but yes, I would sincerely request all the Civil Engineers in construction to dedicatedly concentrate on quality of construction so and R R R industry is needed only for truly old structures. Till then, there is a tremendous need of technically strong engineers with capability to innovate and excel in the field of R R R . Those who are part of the industry already should remember that one cannot patch-up a bad job by again doing as bad job. Hence, extreme care must be taken while repairing a structure to ensure that one does not mess-up the second time.

Before Repair

After Repair

Heritage Conservation of Wagh Mandir, Morbi, Gujarat

repair mechanisms to repair this important structural element? Column beam junctions can be retrofitted with 3 techniques, 1) by jacketing, 2) by steel plate flitching and 3) by carbon / glass fiber wrap. All the 3 systems are popular and can be deployed depending upon availability of time, funds, resources, Contractors' capability, location and importance of the structures etc. What is to be inspected in fire affected high rise building? How to restore such damaged buildings? We have handled over 100-150 fire damaged buildings for their repair and rehabilitation. It is still an unknown domain for many consultants and a complex one because one must identify the temperature reached during the fire, its duration, the progression of spread of fire in the affected building, its source, etc. For this purpose we use a variety of techniques namely, X-ray Detractometry (XRD), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Petrography, etc. which help us evaluate the effect of fire on Concrete. The parameters that we consider are, tertiary or micro cracking in Concrete and the temperature reached in concrete, through which we can analyze the damage done to it and the reinforcement within. All academic institutions and Engineering colleges give emphasis on structural design and analysis of new structures. Do you think it's high time we should start educating our civil engineers with repair and rehabilitation techniques & structural mechanics behind it?

Today there are more than 100,000 structures in India which need conservation a subject, which is neither taught in architecture schools nor in engineering colleges. So if we don't create a resource pool soon, this condition won't improve, because it is taught only at the PG level - where the number of students is relatively low. I definitely suggest the introduction of a separate subject on repair and conservation at the graduate level and students wanting to specialize can pursue masters. This will also save time and resources spent by the industry to provide on the job training to these young engineers and architects who know nearly nothing about these techniques. At the same time, it will also help in improving the knowledge of materials, among the students. Do the codal provisions from BIS suffice to carry out efficient and responsible restoration/rehabilitation work on different structures in our country or does referring to American/other standards become a routine at the end of day? The PWD has issued sets of guidelines for investigation of different structures and has defined the process on how to go about it, but there are no standards as such. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) has done extensive research and has come up with different booklets which are indicative guidebooks for investigation of different structures, but as every structure and its surroundings are unique, minor modifications have to be done at personal level.

For further details:


Structwel Designers & Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Structwel, Plot No.15, Sector-24, Off. Sion-Panvel Highway, Turbhe, Navi Mumbai - 400705. Ph: 022-27841010 Fax: 022-27841007 E-mail: structwel@vsnl.net Web: www.structwel.com

152

The Masterbuilder - December 2012 www.masterbuilder.co.in