The work on heritage buildings began in 2010

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will complete the first phase of work on documentation of heritage buildings and precincts shortly.

The work commenced in 2010 and the delay in documentation has been attributed to the slow pace of work done by the teams of many colleges that were part of the documentation. According to CMDA officials, students of many teams had complained that they had very less time for the documentation on account of their academic requirements at college.

Resistance from owners

Resistance from the owners of many of the private heritage structures during the process of documentation was another reason.

At a seminar in October 2010, the CMDA announced that the work would be completed in six months. Around 1,000 students of architecture from 10 colleges were initially engaged by the CMDA to work on the documentation of heritage buildings and precincts in the Chennai Metropolitan Area in December 2010.

Areas covered

The students, in groups of four, were asked to assess and evaluate structures and precincts with historic, cultural, architectural and archaeological value. George Town, Triplicane, Mylapore and Purasawalkam were some of the areas covered in the documentation.

A chunk of the volunteers faced challenges when they tried to take photographs of structures.

Collection of details from records available with owners of the heritage buildings to look for aspects such as the date and period of construction was also a challenge. After the recent accidents in heritage buildings, the CMDA has been asked to speed up the documentation and to facilitate notification of the buildings.

List of buildings

Now, the CMDA has a list of heritage buildings that includes only 200 buildings. Many other aspects recommended in the seminar in 2010 by the CMDA, including a repair fund for heritage buildings, are yet to be implemented.

Sources in CMDA said that the college students have documented various buildings and submitted reports about them. The reports would be compiled digitally and serve as a document for restoration and conservation of the structures.

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