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Harvinder Singh is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Civil Engineering, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College Ludhiana. He is also a structural engineer and consultant at the Testing & Consultancy Cell of the college and is responsible for planning, designing various types of structural systems like residential, commercial and industrial building; special structures like OHSR, water and waste water treatment plants; auditoriums; concrete pavements; bunker and silos etc. He has a good number of research publications in reputed international journals. His expertise lies in formulation of analytical models of different structural systems in linear and nonlinear range. In a recent research, he has developed an analytical model for the analysis and design of reinforced concrete stiffened plates; randomly mixed fibre reinforced soils.

Site filling and its compaction:

In case of a large difference between the natural ground level and plinth of the building, care should be taken to properly compact the soil-filling using 50kg hand-roller preferably in layers of thickness not exceeding 6”. These should be rolled at OMC of the soil being used for filling purpose. Improper compaction of soil under footing results in differential settlements in the building thereby leading to cracks in the walls, at interface of the wall and RCC columns etc and hollowness in floors. Geotechnical engineer can be consulted for more detail and guidance.

Norms for laying DPC

both horizontal and vertical (wherever required): DPC plays a major role in controlling the dampness in brick walls by breaking the capillarity action, thereby preventing the rise of moisture from the ground and roof into to the walls. It should be laid at plinth level in all brick walls in a layer of minimum thickness of 2”. It must be laid in a single-go in concrete of grade M20 and well cured by using moist gunny bags. Care should be taken for preventing the shrinkage and thermal cracks. Bitumen layer and/or PVC sheet could be used at bottom of DPC layer.

Recommended water cement ratio:

The water-cement ratio in concrete mix has a major role to plays in the strength development and afterwards, in maintaining it throughout the design life of the concrete structure. Its value depends upon the type of the fine aggregates (sand) and coarse aggregates (bajri) used in the mixing. Use of more water than recommended in the concrete mix produces a more porous concrete which will reduce the concrete strength and becomes responsible for initiation of corrosion of reinforcement. It is therefore recommended that masons must be given clear instructions regarding this during the concreting at site.

Importance of curing:

Curing in simple words means to preserve the moisture/water used in the concrete mixing during the first month of concreting. This can be done by ponding water over the concrete surface like slab, using moist gunny bags or by just covering the concrete surface by PVC sheets. Improve curing results in the development of shrinkage cracks etc at the concrete surface.

Water quality to be used in construction:

This should be used in the concrete exactly as per the recommendations of concrete-mix being used at the site. Improper use of water will lower the strength as well as durability of the concrete structure.

Advantages of designing with high grade steel rebars in making safer & stronger homes:

Availability of high strength and ductility rebars in the market has considerably lowered the steel consumption in building, thereby saving tonnes of steel and paving a way for sustainable design. However, this is possible only if the client asks his structural designer to use this high quality rebars during designing and detailing etc. On a average, about 20-25% steel can be saved by careful selection of materials during a design stage.

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