Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fitness of Home! ( gharacha fitness)

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned...Maya Angelou

Well the sentiments of the African socialist get perfectly reflected from the quote about the feelings of most of us towards the four wall which we call home but how safe is this home of ours, we rarely ask this question to our own self! Many will wonder with the heading of the write-up as fitness is the term used for living creatures where as a home is made up of bricks & concrete so how the term fitness can be tagged with home?

Well we need to understand attitude of the most people towards their home. We usually go with the aesthetics of any thing why home & when we call some thing as a good home it’s mainly the interiors, color scheme, furnishing etc. But we rarely look towards the strength or durability of home. Neither we are interested in this aspect while buying the home nor afterwards is my experience with most of the home buyers. Rarely I have faced the questions on this front of home i.e. what is the strength of concrete, which type of cement has been used & how we confirm the strength of the frame work of home. And let me remind you one need not have to be an engineer to ask these questions. Even when we buy a car or a two wheeler we ask the questions like what’s its engines cc or mileage or average & things like that but when it come to a home we turn a blind eye on our curiosity! I often wonder what happens to most of the customer when they are buying a thing like home which is supposed to serve their generations; we are least interested to things which in later years are going to contribute towards the term fitness of their own home!

As solid & durable home has to be made accordingly then only it will be giving us the least maintenance. The frame work has to be with proper strength of concrete as well properly cured & the masonry work along with door & window frames firmly fitted making a monolithic structure together. Then only it can stand fit for years. Interiors & paints are after all like a make up on a face but the skin as well the bone structure of the home has to be strong enough then only the make will look good is a fact which we ignore. Many a times we have seen cracks in even new home wall & we wonder what’s the reason? In our city most of the plaster work is done with sand which has major amount of the clay in it & it’s this clay which produce cracks after some time because of temperature difference in the surrounding. Not that these cracks are structurally dangerous but they look ugly giving unfit look to the home at the same time they do became main cause for water seepage in rainy season damaging the paint as well interior look of the home. This is just one example of unfitness of a home.

In many recent projects we must be seeing a line about Earth quake proof design, actually nothing is earth quake proof; earth quake resistant is a proper term. As per the IS code for buildings there are many parameters & the whole world has been divided in five zones of earth quake possibility. Pune city comes in zone 3 & there are some design criteria’s while designing the structure of the buildings in this zone. A design pertaining to these criteria’s is called as earth quake resistant! It’s a way of strengthening the structural elements like foundation, columns & beams & slabs which are in a way base of any building. A good structure can help in avoiding many future maintenance rather fitness issues of a home & that’s why no harm in being a bit curious at the time of construction as k few questions to your developer about the same.
Once we took possession of a home then this fitness responsibility is also ours as however best a car may be yet it requires regular servicing is what we all know & takes our car for the same periodically but again when it comes to our home? Ask a simple question to our own self when it’s last time you have done servicing of your own home? Here again many will laugh at this silly question as what’s this new fancy idea of servicing the home! It’s much simpler & less money consuming than our car!

All we have to do is understand it properly & follow. Even the new Housing Law has got the provision of building audit which means periodical checking of the home & its services. Like our own body has a complex net work of blood veins, tissues & bones a home is also made up of similar things but with different terminology. The concealed plumbing pipes of water lines as well electric cables are in a way our home's veins &the plaster from inside to outside is like tissues under the skin & the main frame of building inclusive of columns & beams are like bones. Like our body's daily wear & tear many activities are going in & around the home making all these organs weak & wear. Like we need regular medical check ups they too need some check up & preventive measures though not as regularly as a human body needs but unfortunately we neglect it.

We install AC's on the outer walls of home & puncture the wall for getting the AC pipes & cable in. While making holes for these provisions we break the wall masonry & plaster which can create cracks all along the surface of the plaster which in turn gets loosen up & either may fail down or can carry water in side in rainy season causing seepage. We have attached terraces to our rooms & we rarely clean up the pipes carrying rain water down & then they get clogged up making rain water seep in our walls from the terrace. Our electric cables we never test periodically & there might be s break up due to short circuit which may lead to a fire after some years. Many of the homes now have a pipe gas provision maintenance of which is neglected & we read the news of a gas leak or blast! We change our sanitary wear or wall tiles in the toilet & in the process we end up breaking water proofing of the base of the toilet causing leakage in flat below or we fit solar on top terrace & in process damage the water proofing of the terrace again causing leakage in top floor flat in monsoon! We enclose our balconies after getting possession with all sorts of grills & aluminum sliding windows & for that do all type of breakage & never re-plaster it properly leave apart painting. Then the common scene is making awning for the terraces, it does look good but do we pay enough attention how we fit it? So many things keep happening around by which a home has to undergo wear & tear & gets damaged in process.

Like we pay attention to our own body only when we face some illness & rarely go for routine checkups when we are fit, it’s equally important to have routine check up for the various such systems of home as well the equipments engaged in serving the same. And the solution is along with periodical checking of such services making AMC i.e. annual maintenance contract of things like Lifts, Water pumps, Generator, Solar Water Heaters, Water Purifier plants & any such item which is working round the clock to make our life comfortable. Again not many societies have adopted such good practices & try to save on in their maintenance expenses & then we read about accidents from lift failures & fires due to short circuits! There are agencies out in the market that does provide these services & when it comes to maintenance of things like Lift or Generators, it’s always advisable to go through the official service provider even if they may be a bit costlier on face.

A fit home is equally important just like our own fitness; then only we can have the feeling of safety inside it as Maya Angelou has quoted. And for that the poor home can’t do any thing, it’s the person living in it has to go for it; that's our duty towards the four walls which we call home!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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