Why Should Home Buyers Opt For a Structural Audit?

Recently, in Gurugram’s Sector 109, part of the sixth floor crumpled to the first floor, leaving both the prospective buyers and existing homeowners in a state of shock. Nevertheless, you can undertake a few steps to mitigate this risk as a home buyer.

Before buying a property, get all your doubts regarding the quality of the construction cleared by getting the structural strength of the property tested. Several home inspection companies conduct a thorough check of the property for all kinds of flaws. These companies inspect for defects in windows, doors, plumbing, electricals, ceiling, walls, etc.

The first step will be the property’s visual inspection. In case there are large cracks and other construction-related issues, structural auditors will be called for evaluating the structural stability of the building. The structural auditors will conduct a series of tests. These tests are carried out for checking the quality of steel reinforcement and concrete.

Tests such as ultrasonic pulse velocity, RH (rebound hammer), CAPO (cut and pull out), etc., are executed for checking the concrete quality. For checking steel reinforcement, half-potential and carbonation tests are conducted.

Based on the number of tests carried out, the cost will range between Rs 2 and Rs 5 per square foot or more. As a home buyer, ensure your society complies with the national building code norms and also the norms decided by the local authorities. You will need to ensure the lift and fire safety inspections and structural audits happen periodically.

A home insurance policy may not provide coverage for the recent incident in Gurugram, wherein the structure crumpled on its own. A policy could extend coverage in the event of collapse due to fire, storm, lightning, cyclone, explosion, landslide,  impact damage, riot, acts of terrorism, etc. However, collapse because of wear and tear might not be covered in most cases.

As a home buyer, ensure to buy sufficient insurance cover for the structure and the contents. Most of the insurance policies provide coverage for the replacement cost. The sum insured for a property is calculated based on the carpet area multiplied by the construction cost per unit. Be cautious while determining the per unit construction cost as it varies according to the locality and the construction quality. Valuables such as jewellery, art, curios, etc., do not come under the general home contents category. They have to be insured individually under the category of valuable content. 

Always compare several insurance policies to understand the scope of coverage and the benefits they offer. As a prospective home buyer, do your due diligence before finalising an insurance policy.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, don’t hesitate to contact the writer at bhavana.pn@cleartax.in.

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