Prima facie, an accidental gap or lacuna in the structural design could be the reason for the Dharwad building tragedy. Structural engineers should focus on stability, strength and rigidity of structures while designing a structure. The architecture should strictly follow the designs.The design defines where actually the beams, columns and pillars will come up in the structure.
The columns and pillars should be erected as per the designs and beams should be rightly placed. If they did not come up at the right areas, it causes danger for the building. Before going through a detailed inquiry, the structural design of the building should be checked.In addition to the structural design, it should be checked whether the soil-bearing capacity of the land is conducted or not, and if conducted, whether it is rightly done or not. A test on the quality of the building materials should be conducted.
Regular supervising by the contracted engineer is also an important phase of a building construction. I think this did not happen in the case of the building that collapsed in Dharwad.The authorities in the local body should conduct a regular check on every stage of the construction such as the plinth and slab levels. If the concerned authority does not have enough staff and strength and time, it should outsource such inspection to the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers.Such an initiative will help in holding someone accountable.(The author is a structual engineer)