Quake-resistant buildings are need of the hour
By Mr. VK Mehta, Director, Sales & Marketing, JSPL
The recent earthquake that devastated the Nepal valley and jolted Northern India has triggered a debate of how equipped we are to combat such probable threat. Turkish geophysicist and earthquake scientist Ahmet Mete Işıkara’s famous observation “quakes don’t kill people, buildings do” sums up this potential danger that looms over most of us. Poorly designed buildings contributed most to the catastrophe in Nepal. It echoes the need for resilient and earthquake-resistant architecture and building materials.
The bane of urbanisation has led to some of the most hazardous multi storeyed buildings built everywhere. While we copiously spend on fancy interior designs and finest collections of sanitary wares, seldom do we deliberate on assessing and spending judiciously on the right foundation and construction materials. Though many buildings these days are built as disaster-resistant, yet faulty design and the use of poor quality construction materials can prove detrimental. Hence, it is imperative for builders and developers to give more detailing to the quality of construction materials used and focus on disaster-resistant architecture that can withstand such natural calamities.
Steel and cement are the key raw materials used in India’s & other SAARC countries predominantly Reinforced concrete construction (RCC). But most of the load is supported by steel. It is, therefore, imperative that steel used for construction must be of best quality and should be produced with state-of-the-art technology to fulfil the infrastructural needs of our burgeoning population.
Over the past few years, the evolution of various building materials has helped construction engineers build disaster-resistant structures. One of these products is Thermo Mechanically Treated reinforced bars, generally called TMT rebars, that are integral to any construction project today. TMT Rebars impart strength, form and ductility to RCC structure to withstand various kinds of loads impacting a building. TMT Rebars offer superior weldability, corrosion resistance, ductility and durability that makes them most suitable for use in earthquake prone areas. Usage of TMT has enabled economy in designing and construction of earthquake-resistant high rise buildings.
The quest for better construction materials has produced various kinds of steel bars with qualities that make concrete more stable. Unfortunately, not many home builders and consumers are aware of the difference between the rebars produced by primary and secondary producers, nor are they aware about the quality parameters while buying TMT bars, which is viewed more as a commodity product.
In India, steel demand is approximately 90 mn tonnes (SAARC countries require additional 20 mn tonnes approximately). Out of this, around 34.5 mn tonnes is for TMT Rebars alone, making it the single largest consumed steel product. However, the demand of 34.5 mn tonnes is met by approx 10 mn tonnes from primary steel producers and remaining 24.5 mn tonnes from secondary steel producers. Situation elsewhere is worse, with negligible production of TMT bars by primary producers in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka & Nepal. Hence, it is important to educate the consumers to help them make an informed choice while purchasing TMT rebars.
Primary steel producers produce steel by processing virgin iron ore through extensive metallurgical operations. This is followed by refining technologies that make steel free from inclusion and harmful tramp elements such as sulphur and phosphorous. This leads to production of superior quality steel with uniform and consistent properties.
On the other hand, Secondary steel producers primarily use steel scrap as their core input and convert it into TMT rebars. Further, the scrap used is mostly non-homogeneous, non- segregated and of inferior grade with high level of tramp elements. Rebars thus produced are of inconsistent properties which hampers the strength, ductility and elongation of steel.
With a view to providing world-class TMT rebars to consumers, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) has set up a state-of-the-art steel rolling plant in Patratu, Jharkhand. JSPL is making TMT from superior quality iron ore and high quality imported coal from Australia. Jindal Panther TMT Rebars produced here are technically advanced and are vastly superior from the rest; this is due to a combination of ultra-clean steel that is rolled in world’s most advanced MORGAN MILL deploying state of the art technology. The quality standards of rebars produced in this mill surpass the requirements of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Another state of art mill is under construction at JSPL Angul, Orissa, to produce high quality TMT Bars.
Inorder to make buildings safer in high seismic zones, JSPL has introduced TMT Bars fully complying to and certified under Fe500S grade of BIS 1786. These bars are rolled to have strength in a narrow band and high UTS/YS ratio of 1.25
As a brand which is rapidly attaining leadership position in the TMT category, Jindal Panther TMT rebars aims to decommoditise rebars as a product. It also aims to create awareness about the product as well as the category to enable end consumers to make an informed decision while purchasing TMT rebars.
TMT is the heart and soul of construction. It is the backbone of the whole structure and hence more caution is required while purchasing TMT Rebar. Further, it is to be kept in mind that unlike other materials & fittings, TMT bars once used, cannot be replaced, without bringing down the structure. Little more consciousness, a penny more investment for the sake of quality can lead to enhanced life and safety of a dream home.