When buying or moving into a newly built property, a homebuyer must thoroughly check the construction quality of the project, and one of the best ways to do so is checking the structural safety certificate.

With the evolved behavioural and lifestyle patterns, the size of the property and the amenities offered by the developer rule the homebuyers’ preferences whereas the nitty-gritty pertaining to the structure and the construction quality of the project remains ignored. However, in the backdrop of a series of building collapses across the country, it becomes indispensable to check the architectural design and quality of the project, particularly if you plan to buy a property in a high-rise.

A high-rise structure is more prone to collapses during an earthquake or other natural calamities if not engineered properly. Therefore, a homebuyer should carefully analyse the construction quality of the project, and check if the project complies with the standard building norms or not.

A research report reveals that around 84 percent of the potential homebuyers are either clueless about the process of a structural quality check or lack due diligence. Nevertheless, examining the robustness of an edifice is not a difficult task; all you have to do is to avail a ‘structural safety certificate’ from your project developer.

Importance of a structural safety certificate

A structural safety certificate is proof that the building complies with all the safety criteria specified in Part VI (Structural Design) of the National Building Code (NBC) of India, 2005. Part VI embodies the safety features for all-natural calamities, including earthquake and cyclone, among others.

Structural engineers verify the engineering aspect of a building, including the design, location and seismic compliances. Besides, they also check for the fire safety, public safety and health safety compliances, before submitting the report to the civic bodies. The municipal corporation checks for all the safety compliances, and if everything is in place, then it issues a structural safety certificate. The certificate also states that the developer has executed a detailed soil test, and the structure is fit for occupancy. Overall, when planning to buy a housing unit, reviewing a structural safety certificate of the project will immensely simplify the decision-making process.

While the implementation of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) has tightened the noose on structural defects in residential complexes, more stringent measures are required to create quality developments. At present, RERA has a provision of zero defect liability under which a developer must rectify all structural defects caused by poor workmanship, quality of construction or raw materials used, brought into notice within five years from the date of possession.

As per the mandate, the developer must fix all the defects within 30 days from the date of filing the complaint, without raising a bill for the allottee. Before the implementation of RERA, developers were liable for structural defects for only two years from the date of possession; however, RERA mandates the builders to cover all the architectural and construction concerns arising in a project for up to five years. The provision covers all structural, non-structural, finishing and servicing issues in residential projects.

Till 2018, there were 10,000 buildings that were still lacking the structural safety certificate. In fact, in Vadodara, the structural safety certificate was made mandatory for buildings older than 30 years, in June 2019 after four-building collapse accidents happened in one year.

However, Chandigarh is setting an example for all the metro cities which are blindly regularising unauthorized colonies without ensuring infrastructure stability. The UT administration has made the structural safety certificate from a qualified empaneled structural engineer registered with it, mandatory for availing the benefit of the regularisation scheme.

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