Due to the advancements in the field of construction there are many testing methods that one can use to ascertain the quality of a building

For most Indians owning a house is a dream. Given a choice many would like to buy a piece of land and build their abode as per their specific requirements. But with land becoming scarce in cities, the scales in the real estate market are increasingly tilting in favour of multi-storied buildings.

Because of this, the choices that a prospective customer in a bustling city has usually boil down to either buying an existing independent house or opting for a new apartment. However, for the uninitiated, the pertinent issue that can give them sleepless nights is, how does one choose a property?

Do you choose a house based on its cost, locality or on the reputation of the builder? How can you ensure that the builder meets the ‘promised’ standards and ‘high’ quality levels? The questions are indeed endless.

While you invest a large part of your earnings in a building, can you be sure that the building will prove to be a long term investment?

There are various perceptions among people about ensuring the quality of a building. For some the reputation of a builder is the most important determining factor, while others concede that ‘luck’ plays a major role.

But is there a way to determine the quality of a construction? And if one is buying an old structure, is there a way to ascertain that it is still sound enough to last for a life time?

If you thought that it is difficult to judge the quality of a building, technology can come in for your rescue, albeit at a premium. Due to the advancements in the field of construction there are many testing methods that one can use to ascertain the quality of a building, construction material expert Dr. L.H. Rao says. “Testing a building is an old concept and is widely used in western countries. Though people think that such tests weaken a structure, they are indeed quite reliable in analysing the durability of a building,” he explains. In those countries, it is mandatory for a prospective owner to get a building checked by an agency and obtain a report before occupying it, he says.

There are many types of tests that one can opt for based on the requirement. One such is the standard load bearing test.

In a standard load bearing test a concrete roof is usually tested for its capacity to withstand the load. But load bearing tests can cause damage to the buildings at times, he cautions.

But there are other specialised tests, called ‘Non-Destructive Tests’, that can be used to judge specific requirements like checking the strength of a concrete beam or to find out the density of concrete or health of the steel rods used in a construction, he says. But why do we need to test a building? “People often think that quality of a building can be gauged by the quality of raw material used during the construction.

But final strength of a building depends on several aspects and the quality of material or the construction practices alone cannot be taken as definitive indicators,” Dr. Rao explains. Because of this it becomes imperative to opt for getting a building tested before one occupies it, he adds.

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