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  • There is only one sentence

    There is only one sentence with which I disagree, about buildings which have "outlived their designed lifespan". As far as my knowledge goes, there is no such building. The paradox is, modern buildings tend to be more costly to maintain than older buildings (a building built in 2000 is more costly to maintain than a building built for the same purpose in 1950, which is itself more costly to maintain than a building built for the same purpose in 1900 or 1850) and therefore it looks like modern buildings tend more and more to have a "designed lifespan".

    However, maintenance is everything. Some of the most successful buildings in the world were supposed to be "temporary", built at a very low cost and in a hurry, but they are still here and useful and loved by people, 50 years or even 100 years later. Like the MIT's "building 20", or the "Grand Palais" in Paris. So I simply don't believe there is such a thing as "designed lifespan". Maintenance and knowledge of the building is indeed everything. The lifespan comes to and end when people stop liking the building. But that is unpredictable!

    But it is true that my viewpoint is not shared by everyone in the construction industry, where many people talk about the "lifespan" of a building.

    Anyway, congratulation for this thorough and accurate enquiry into the issue of building safety. This kind of issue has to go out of the "professionals-only" discussions, otherwise everything will continue as before, or even become worse as you have noted.

    We must all take interest into the buildings in which we live, work, that we sell, rent, purchase or build, including the conditions in which they are built.

    Buildings are hugely more dangerous to people who build them than to people who live in them! Asbestos, pesticides (Chloropyrifos), defective electric installations, unhygienic drains, toxic paints, etc. Indeed, construction industry workers have a dangerous life!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Excellent article One of the

    Excellent article One of the biggest problems is that everyone, homeowners, architects and builders are resigned to the fact that bribes have to be paid for permissions to build.

    The officials will sign off on anything as long as they are bribed and will not sign off on anything unless they are paid a bribe (even if the proposal follows the rules in every detail). In fact the officials love bigger variations to the law as they get to collect a higher bribe The state of affairs is that sad. In this environment, the unscrupulous thrive and people who want to follow the law are left with no choice.

    Another problem is that the large number of rules and number of agencies involved makes it very difficult for someone to follow all the rules. The officials use this confusion in the process to agonize the applicant and give them the running around until they get tired and agree to pay a bribe, only to find that after the bribe is paid all the problems magically disappear.

    The experts in getting approvals are experts in paying bribes and getting approvals. I have still to meet a real expert who knows how to navigate the convoluted process, is educated about the law and specializes in getting plans approved in the legal way.

    Architects remove themselves from the process all together when they are supposed to be experts. All architects will make it very clear that they will not be responsible for and be involved with the approval process.

    It is always easiest to blame the contractors and builders, but at the end of the day the clean, educated architects and consumers are to blame just as much. How many times do we have buyers who will be happy with delays in construction because the builder refused to pay a bribe

    Conscientious building professionals can control design, construction quality and environmental factors but there is no solution for the mess of dealing with public officials and getting approvals. Many qualified people who can do a lot of good to the building industry stay away from it due to the dirty legal process and interface with the government. We all lose at the end.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
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