1. Most buildings in Mumbai City & Suburbs are over 40 years old. Some of these buildings are “ILLEGAL & UNAUTHORISED”, more so since neither the local civic body (BMC) has the buildings Sanctioned Plans and neither the building residents (Society) have the Approved Plans of their buildings.


2. Over the period of time, there have been consistent events of falling of such buildings, due to failure or negligence in Maintenance and/or Repairs of these buildings, more so due to lack of Money and/or gross apathy by the residents, towards their own buildings. EVEN basic Plastering & Coloring of building walls and replacing leaking & corroded sewage pipelines, are apathetically ignored, which in turn means reducing the overall life of such buildings. The National Crime Records Bureau, in a data-report states that in the last 10 years, upto year 2012, there has been 448 building collapses, in Maharashtra, killing over 425 people and injuring scores of other people.


3. Further over a period of time, some residents inbuilt urge to encroach on common spaces /balconies /niche areas /flower-bed areas etc…., lead to unauthorized alterations, which includes shifting of WC, Bathrooms & Kitchens or Amalgamating of Flats. All such unauthorized alterations /changes, in turn culminates into hairline fractures in the Columns, Beams, Pillars, Walls and Floors, leading to leakage of Water and Air, into the RCC structure, thus reducing the overall life of these buildings.


4. Many residents have a chronic and orthodox habit of using hammering action using a wooden block, while washing clothes in the bathroom, which ultimately opens up the protective water-proofing layer and the gaps between the bathroom floor tiles, leading to leakage directly in the lower floor structure, thereby causing discontent to the residents on the lower floor.


5. Taking into consideration all such above & other nuisance factors, the local civic body (BMC), has amended the MMC Act, by inserting section 353-B, which lawfully makes it mandatory for the building owners (Society) to conduct “Structural Audit”, for ALL those buildings which are over 30 year of age.   The Age of the building is determined by default or by the “Completion Certificate” issued by BMC, at the then time when the building was completed.


6. A single building resident (and even a non-member or a public member) may make a basic complaint application u/s 353-B, to the “Designated Officer” of the local ward office of BMC, giving as much details as possible, and “direct” the BMC “Designated Officer”, to issue notice u/s 353-B to the building Owner /Society, for conducting the “Structural Audit”, of the building.

DESPITE receipt of such written Complaint, IF the “Designated Officer”, fails to serve such Notice to the building Owner /Society, THEN the said “Designated Officer”, can be successfully prosecuted in a Court of Law, without any reference to any permission from anybody.


7. On receipt of the said BMC notice u/s 353-B, the building Owner /Society, must mandatorily conduct the “Structural Audit”, of the building, within 30 days AND mandatorily submit such “Structural Audit Report”, to the BMC office, consequent to which IT shall be the mandatory duty of Municipal Engineer to scrutinize the Structural Audit Report and ultimately enforce compliance of all repairs and restorations highlighted in the Structural Audit Report.

Further it shall be mandatory for the Municipal Authorities, to initiate other legal proceedings, against the building Owners/Society, in the absence of Approved /Sanctioned Plans, Occupancy Certificate and other documents. This ultimately serves to safeguard the residents of the said building and other public members around the building, while upholding the Law.

This fact is also evident from the various prosecutions launched against some Society residents residing in unauthorized flats in the Campa Cola compound. The Hon. Supreme Court has ultimately upheld the Law.


8. Structural Audit can be conducted, ONLY by a BMC empanelled Structural Engineer. Failure to conduct the said Structural Audit, would result into prosecution by BMC, along with fine AND ALSO would lead to revoking of the buildings “Occupancy Certificate”, thus leading to double the water charges u/s 92 of the MMC Act, and increase in Property Tax.


9. Periodic “Structural Audit”, of the building and compliance thereon, also positively restricts the BMC (or others /owners), from declaring the building as “dilapidated” and ultimately from receiving notices of eviction from the building. Such notices would also mean revocation of buildings “Occupancy Certificate” and increase in Water Charges.


10. “Structural Audit”, of the building means EVERYTHING connected to the conduct of a Building, which includes strength of the buildings Columns, Beams, Pillars, Iron Bars & Plaster, Sewage discharge systems, Water pipeline systems, Electrical cabin and wiring system, Lifts, Podiums ….

a) Structural Audit parameters will vary for Residential buildings, Commercial buildings and Industrial buildings.

b) Some “quack” type Structural Auditors, perform a superficial check and issue a manipulated Structural Audit Report, to the Society, with the connivance of the apathetic Society office bearers.


11. A Structurally unfit building shall be prone to sudden collapse without any warning, at the first instance of an earthquake, which in turn means risking the Life and Property of the buildings residents and other people in the vicinity.

a) At present times, there are several technological techniques available, along with highly experienced technical professionals, where old buildings can be easily refurbished /restored, to complete normalcy, thus peacefully extending the life of old buildings by further 20-40 years.

b) This helps in gross monetary savings, while still retaining the emotions and sentiments attached to the building and its co-residents.


12. Around July-2007, a 25 year old building named as “Laxmi Chhaya” (at Borivali West), just simply collapsed in the early morning hours, just because some greedy shop-owner/s had reduced the girth of the buildings Column & Pillars. This resulted in loss of Life and Property of the buildings residents and other people in the vicinity. Today due to courtesy of Human Apathy, everything is back to normal and the losses of human lives are apathetically and conveniently forgotten by all concerned. No lessons learned.


13. A “prudent” Structural Engineer would reflect the following in his Structural Audit Report, highlighting the relevant violations under the Municipal Laws, while keeping upfront the Approved Plans of the Building:

a) Any changes and contraventions of the Approved Plans /Availability of Sanctioned Plans. Whether Building has been built in conformity to the Sanctioned Building Plans,

b) Availability of approved & sanctioned building Plans, IOD, CC, OC,

c) Changes made to the buildings Columns, Beams, Pillars,

d) Changes made in place of WC, Bathroom, Kitchen, installation of loft water-tanks,

e) Extension OR Covering of Balcony,

f) Removal of Internal walls between rooms,

g) Internally Amalgamating (joining) of two flats, by removing partition walls /doors,

h) Installing over-protruding Grills, Sheds, Chajjas,

i) Conversions of basements OR Stilt /podium parking for any other usage (e.g. Offices, Shops …. )

j) Existence of unauthorized Lofts & Mezzanine Floors in the building,

k) Any other encroachment of Common areas, Refuge areas and Society premises,

l) Installation of illegal Mobile Towers and Hoardings, and adverse effect of same on the building,

m) Whether the building has appropriate Drainage /Sewage lines connected to the Mains,

n) Existence of Open-Well, Bore-Well and other clandestinely built sub-ground level storage water tanks,

o) Common Electrical Wiring system,

p) Changes in Internal /External Drainage /Sewage lines,

q) Ground and Overhead Water Tanks, Water Meters and supply pipelines,

r) Water logging around periphery of the Building and reverse incline level of ground,

s) Detailed report on the repairs and restorations, that is required in the Building, in terms of the Approved Plans of the building.

Note:  Structural Engineer /Auditor have to clearly outline each Alterations with graphic images and photographs and the repairs /rectifications /restorations that needs to be done in the Building.


14. The Structural Engineer, mandatorily must be a NEUTRAL authority, more so since any manipulations or fabricated or untrue Structural Audit Report, would mean, criminal prosecution against the Structural Engineer. An experienced & competent Structural Engineer would conduct several tests to determine the extent of corrosion, distress and loss of strength in concrete & steel. Some of the tests means:

a) Concrete Core Cutting & Compression testing for columns, beams and slabs for Strength Assessment of concrete.

b) Half Cell Potential test for determining the probability of corrosion in the embedded steel.

c) Carbonation test for carbonation depth measurement for Steel.

d) Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Test (UPV) for Strength Assessment of concrete.

e) Integrity tests for pile foundations and various testing techniques.

Note: The above are highly technical tests AND must be conducted by an experienced Structural Engineer and NOT by junior assistants /trainees.


15. The Structural Auditor has to inspect the Fire Fighting Systems (as applicable) with the relevant approved vendor and prepare recommendatory reports, highlighting the repairs and restorations required, for due compliance of the building Owner /Society.

Failure to install the mandatory Fire Fighting Systems, and to keep maintaining them in working condition is mandatory, failing which the Fire Department is within its jurisdiction to disconnect Electricity and Water connections, besides revoking the FIRE NOC for Occupancy Certificate granted to the building.


16. Presently Earthquake resistance buildings are built & designed as per Indian Standard Codes, means “Earthquake Code IS 1893-2002”.

a) Under the parameters of “Indian Standard Codes”, the island city of Mumbai is located in Earthquake (Seismic) Zone III.

b) Some very old buildings, which are not built for Earthquake resistance, can still be retrofitted appropriately to make it literally earthquake resistant, subject to the building being structurally fit. This preemptive /precautionary measure will help in avoiding sudden collapse of buildings, during Earthquake/s, and giving enough time to clear the building, thus helping in saving Life & Property.


17. IF the building Owners /Society, consistently fails to carry out all the repairs and restorations highlighted in the Structural Audit Report, THEN the BMC is empowered to conduct the repairs and restorations, on its own and recover the cost of such “repairs and restorations” from the building Owner /Society. Failure to carry out relevant repairs by the Society, would also lead to revoking of “Occupancy Certificate”, of the building, thus leading to double the water charges u/s 92 of the BMC Act. The BMC is empowered to file prosecution u/s 488 of the MMC Act and levy Penalty, for failure to comply with the repairs, mandated in the Structural Audit Report. Criminal proceedings under Indian Penal Code can also be filed on the Mg. Committee members, for their deliberate failures and endangering the Life and Property of the building residents.


18. After the Structural Audit of the Society building is duly concluded, the Society Mg. Committee has to distribute a Copy of the same to each member at the cost of the Society and then duly call a Special General Body meeting, to deliberate on the Structural Audit Report and the costs for repairs and restoration highlighted by the Structural Engineer. The said Repairs and Restoration has to be mandatorily complied and the General Body of the Society has NO OPTION to avoid the same. The General Body CANNOT pass any resolution to avoid the said Repairs and Restoration, under the Structural Audit Report.   The repairs & restorations to the building (as applicable) has to be started WITH or WITHOUT the approval of the General Body.   Hence the “Tabling of the Structural Audit Report”, before the General Body thou necessary, has no relevance under the BMC Act. IT has to be mandatorily complied with (repairs) even if the General Body does not sanction repairs, due to any reasons, whatsoever.

Note: IF the building owner /society do not complete the repairs /restorations, as per the directions in the Structural Audit Report within 6 month of submission of Audit Report, THEN they are also liable to be punished under section 471 & 352(B) of the MMC Act.


19. In the event, IF the building’s Sanctioned /Approved Plans and/or Occupancy Certificate (OC) are not available, THEN the building owner (Society) has to conduct the necessary documentations and arrange /make the buildings plans etc….

The buildings Occupancy Certificate can be procured, using various compliance parameters, BUT ONLY after repairing & restoring all illegal alterations /amalgamations.


20. Even in newer buildings, the building owners (Society) should themselves consider to conduct “Structural Audit” of their buildings, every Five years, as precautionary measures against encroachments of common spaces /balconies /niche areas /flower-bed areas and unauthorized alterations in WC, Bathrooms & Kitchens or Amalgamating two Flats.

Such preemptive Structural Audit would help in timely repairing or reversing back any such unauthorized alterations /changes, and avoid hairline fractures in the Columns, Beams, Pillars, Walls and Floors.

The compliance of above, will mean preserving & increasing the overall life of the buildings. This also serves to save Life, Property & Money of the building residents.


21. In Mumbai, a conspiracy is emerging with the connivance of the Society Mg. Committee members and the local builders lobby, to deliberately avoid repairing and restoration of structurally sound old buildings and then consequently having the building declared as “dilapidated or risky” at the hands of the local civic body, for the sole objective of Redevelopment of their buildings, for clandestinely generated monetary benefits.

a) When such conspiracy is appropriately proved, using various parameters and documentations, the Structural Auditor along with the Mg. Committee members can be successfully prosecuted in a Criminal Court, under the Indian Penal Code.


22. In the larger interest of the public, the State Govt., would do well to consider making mandatory, the preemptive Structural Audit of every old /new building, every Five years, in order to detect illegal encroachments of common spaces /balconies /niche areas /flower-bed areas and unauthorized alterations in WC, Bathrooms & Kitchens or Amalgamating of Flats. This will help in good governance and drastically reduce legal proceedings by the local civic body (BMC), which in turn means lesser leakages and maintaining harmony between Flat Owners.

AUTHOR: Hemant Agarwal, Email: ha21@rediffmail.com

More Under Corporate Law


  1. kamran says:

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  2. Abhijit says:

    Nice article in a very simple language …
    Indian Penal Code has been referred but Section not mentioned ..
    Would be grateful if any citation case law or provision is shared ..
    Adv Abhijit Mahadik

  3. Ankita Patil says:

    We provide full-fledged techno-legal services related to legal problems in construction industry. Dispute resolution, Claim management , contract administration, legal advise on structural failures and contractual correspondence.
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  4. JAYESH says:


    1. Irfan Shaikh says:

      Those are the classifications of the buildings given by MMC Act and it is to be mentioned in Audit Report after conducting Structural Audit by BMC empanelled structural engineers.
      They are classified in following categories:
      C1- To be evacuated/ demolition immediately
      C2A- To be evacuated and/or partial demolition requiring major structural repairs
      C2B- No eviction, only structural repairs
      C3- No eviction, needs minor repairs only
      If any more queries based on this, kindly contact us at 7977122525/7710914840 as we are panelled Structural Engineers by BMC, TMC, NMMC, MBMC, KDMC, VVCMC
      We also perform Structural Audits all over Mumbai in best possible manner as per Municipal Corporation Terms.

      1. prabhakar p. Natu. says:

        our building is 44 years old, structural audit conducted nov.2019. audit remark,C2-B,has suggested structural repairs. society was looking for self redevelopment,nil progress.now members wants to repair, but few members, not ready to contribute for repairs building may week further, if repairs not completed.members are worried.
        what is the way out.
        Please advise us how to proceed for repairs,
        Due to present situation redevelopment proposal is not viable as plot is small 7011 sq. ft. and 16 flats, 8, 2BHK, & 8, 1BHK total–7846 sq.ft.existing carpet area. redevelopment project is not viable. members are not position to contribute large funds for redevelopment.
        members are ready to contribute funds for repairs.
        plot is near Hinduja hospital Mahim.
        Pl. guide us.

  5. MILIND PATIL says:

    Our company provides the services for Structural audit & Repair restoration for societies Buildings and factories.
    We are paneled, authorised Structural engineer
    BMC, TMC & NMMC.
    Kindly feel free to call us on 7021476776 for any details. Thanks.

  6. Duraisamy says:

    Can you please let me know, whether a building classified under C-3, after all necessary repairs and subsequent SA , if found satisfactory removed from C-3 category.

    1. Irfan Shaikh says:

      Yes Sir,if repair work is done precisely as per technical specifications.Please feel free to call us at 7977122525 as we are BMC licensed civil engineering consultants in Mumbai.We also perform structural audit precisely as per BMC rules and regulations with specified Non Destructive tests given by BMC. Most of the Consultants just take high charges for the audit and handover it to any person who are not civil engineer by profile which is illegal. So if any advice call at above number.Regards.

  7. sudhir says:

    we have 6 story building made in 60’s Many members have leakages problem above the bathroom and kitchen. ours location is near peddar Road, Mumbai400026. Looking for qualified person to examine and report. If the society do not find it requirement of such audit. I need to conduct the same for my flat.

  8. Yusuf Khan says:

    Respected society Seceratry/ chairman and Members
    Kindly feel free to call us for Structural audit & Repair restoration of your society Building
    We are paneled, authorised Structural engineer
    Kindly feel free to call us for any details

  9. mukesh says:

    We have 5 year old soceity, The builder construction is not good. he was not completed the work as per standard. just this year he filed the cracks on request. now we need to get the structural audit done by authorised body
    In rain season some flats getting leakages.
    Please suggest what action we can take .


  10. sameer says:

    Respected society Seceratry/ chairman and Members
    Kindly feel free to call us for Structural audit of your society Building
    We are paneled authorised Structural engineer
    Kindly fell free to call us for any details
    9930695580 / 9029295102 / 3 / 4

  11. alankar sharma says:

    Hi.. i residing in RCC constructed building.. one of the flat owner damaged the wall of flat. can i get some guidance whether it will affect structure or not. Since all MS bar we can see now.please guide on urgent basis.

  12. JOBIN JACOB says:

    Structural Audit is been mandatory for all building aging 15 years and above. The commmittee members have to take the initiative for appointing Structural Auditors for the same or else BMC/MCGM will levy penalty on them.
    I am myself an Structural Auditor for any info contact- Jobin: 7045453280.

  13. Sneha says:

    Dear Author,
    Thank you for the informative article. I have basic doubts like… what does altering the WC mean or installation of loft water tanks.

    1. Rohan Dudhane says:

      C1 – The structure of building is totally dilapidated and is not safe to live in it which is beyond repairs.

      C2 (A) – The structure of building is unsafe to live and should be repaired by vacating the building.

      C2 (B) – The structure of the building needs repairs but the work can be carried out while staying in the building

      C3 – The structure of the building needs minor repairs

  14. M R says:

    Hai & Hello,

    Very nice information and well informed presentation.
    sir, I am from Navi Mumbai and member of a registered cooperative society.
    Our society is due for repairs for paintaings etc… Our is exactly 20 years old.
    We have decidied to conduct first the structural audit of the society before awarding any contract of paint. I would keenly be interested to know the following and also would be glad if you can represent some structural audit engineer contractors or consultants who are been authorised under the selected body as per NMMC or ISO with the contact details.
    1). What is structural audit ?
    2). what all it will contain ?
    3). Under Structural audit– the Firm, Representative or Consultant will do & perform?
    4). Is these representatives, firms etc…. are members of an association of licensed contractors body ( if any) existing like Chartered Accountants …..
    5). What should be the standard prescribed structural audit report for basic survey?
    6). Is the Body REgistgered has a prescribed format of questionnaire to be filled-up by the audit engineer — if so please update.
    7). What are the resources available for the society about the genieness of the report and the representative to be trusted and award the contract…

    Thanking you

  15. Ajay says:

    Thank you very much for this beautiful article. It was very helpful.

    Can you please provide list technological techniques available to refurbished /restored old residential buildings?

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