Civil Engineer / Content Writer
The buildings are always prone to deterioration, and no building can be expected to last forever. But good quality construction materials and regular maintenance, etc. prolong the life of the structure. Most building failures are associated with the use of inferior materials, lack of knowledge about materials or use of sub-standard specification of materials. The main function of building elements is to survive the loads without failure or collapse. The RCC elements in particular lose its homogeneity and integrity due to the use of poor or inferior materials during the building construction.
By inferior materials, it is understood that they either lack in size or physical properties like weight, density or lack in chemical properties, which ultimately reduces the load bearing capacity i.e. strength and also life of building as it will deteriorate fast.
Here we discuss the use of inferior materials which has turned out to be one of the major reason for the building collapse.
Building construction is enhanced by the good and sound quality materials. Cement, sand, aggregates, steel, wood, bricks etc. are the main building construction materials. In developing countries, the major cause of building collapse is the use of inferior materials and application of wrong and sub-standard building materials and its substandard specifications. Use of untested construction materials or the use of materials without the approval of engineer in charge also leads to poor quality of construction work.
The use of poor quality materials like old and set cement, set concrete, corroded steel reinforcement bars, water with impurities, bad bricks, etc. reduce the strength of RCC elements of the building. Inferior building materials have less strength and less life than what is normally assumed at the design time. Due to thus RCC elements cannot bear the load for which it is designed, and hence it fails.
Concrete which is a major materials, suffer poor strength due to higher water cement ratio, inadequate mixing, improper materials proportion, poor compaction and lack of curing, etc.
Proper handling and storage should be done to enhance the quality of materials. First see that your architect has given you specifications of all materials and never use materials which do not possess or match the designed specifications.
The material specification should be related exactly to the ongoing construction. It should be of standard quality and should possess minimum acceptance criteria as described in codes. The specification gives the idea about the materials, their properties and also where and how to use it.
Use of defective concrete mixes also leads to the building failures. The different materials in different proportions are used for the construction of the building.
For saving the cost of the project the designer design different RCC elements in the different grade of concrete like M20, M25, and M30. The uses of defective concrete mix or changing the grade of concrete by mistake also weaken the RCC elements. It results in the excessive stresses in different elements, which may ultimately lead to the building failure.
In conclusion, whatever the reason for the failure of the building, it is vital to know how to avoid it in the future. The preliminary step to prevent building collapse due to the use of inferior materials is to educate all the construction workers by giving the awareness and knowledge about building materials.
As soon as you see any sign of the instability, or defects like cracks in building, immediately contact the structural engineer for safeguarding building against the failure or collapse. It is also advisable to do regular repair-maintenance for the good performance of the building.