Land is one of the most valuable resources that a person can have; it’s the base on which we build a shelter for ourselves and our children. However, with the current global population in excess of seven billion, there exists an ever-increasing demand for land to be used to construct shelter for the ever-increasing population, a demand which is not met by a respective increase in supply of land due to its fixity in quantity.
Land cannot increase more than the quantity we have on earth until Elon Mask takes us to mars, we work with what we’ve got. The fixity in quantity of land translates into its ever-increasing monetary value due to market forces. Hence, it’s in your best interest to get the maximum return possible for the limited amount of land you have. For that reason, a new era of vertical utilization of land has been ushered in, where previously a single-storied building would provide but a few square meters of floor area, now towering sky-scrappers occupy the same amount of land but offer much more floor area hence more accommodation for less land.
Vertical utilization of land is so popular in that using your hard-earned land to construct a three-roomed Bangalore is a waste of such a valuable resource. Not only does a storied building give you more accommodation in case you have a big family, but it also gives you options of renting out the extra space and getting a bit of side income (now who wouldn’t want some extra coins in the pocket). But what if this tip finds you already with a Bangalore on your land, don’t worry, you can still convert it to a storied building and this is how.
Among the factors to consider when converting a Bangalore to a storied building are a few main ones; soil strength, foundation stability, and strength of the load-bearing walls. The foundation, load-bearing walls, beams, slabs, and other structural components of a Bangalore are constructed specifically to withstand the various loads imposed on a Bangalore.
Increasing the number of floors implies an increase in both the live and dead loads imposed onto a building; more load on the load-bearing walls, beams, slabs, foundation, and other structural components is supposed to take up the loads and channel them to the ground. It also implies greater load will be imposed onto the soil on which the structure sits. Without any modifications, your Bangalore can’t safely act as a base on which you can simply add more stories upwards and will likely crumble to the ground if not reinforced. The good news is; with the right tools, materials, and experts, the Bangalore can be reinforced into the ground floor of the intended storied building.
Soil strength; This is one of the most critical aspects of the stability of the structure, the soil is basically what takes up all the load from the building. That’s why it’s imperative to ascertain the soil strength of a site during the preliminary works prior to construction. Soil strength depends on a number of factors like soil type, water table, and natural occurrences like soil erosion among others. When constructing the Bangalore, engineers probably made calculations based on the fact that the building would be a single-storied one. When converting into a storied building, updated calculations ought to be made to account for the extra load to be imposed on the soil.
For soil that doesn’t eventually meet the required threshold, a few methods can be used to increase soil strength by manipulating its properties that are immediately controllable like the water table. The water table is the level of groundwater, the higher it is, the weaker the soil. That’s why the soil in wetlands is weak. This water table can be reduced by deploying various methods of dewatering, some temporary, others permanent. They basically involve using pumps to suck out groundwater therefore effectively lowering the water table.
Foundation reinforcement; The foundation is the lowest most structural member of the building, it’s what takes up all the load from the building and channels it to the ground, which means it’s the most loaded component of the building and therefore the most critical.
Foundation strength is governed by its width, depth, thickness, and other design complexities. For a Bangalore, its foundation is custom-made to withstand loads from a single story, however, the same foundation can be reinforced to withstand even heavier loads through the process of underpinning. This process involves increasing either the width of the foundation to spread the load over a wider area hence reducing pressure, or increasing the depth of the foundation which not only harnesses the frictional force of subsequent layers but also reaches deeper, stronger bedrock.
One of the simplest forms of underpinning is the ‘mass concrete underpinning’ where a section of the ground, next to the existing foundation is dug and filled with concrete. This thickens the foundation adding to its load-bearing capacity. Another popular underpinning method is the ‘Jack pile underpinning’. In this case, reinforced concrete piles are driven deep into the ground. The existing foundation is then made to sit on the piles hence transferring the loads to deeper stronger bedrock.
Load-bearing wall reinforcement; Load-bearing walls are the walls of a structure that carry the load and channel it to the foundation. For a Bangalore, the load-bearing wall only has to withstand load from the roof, but when turned into a storied building, the walls now have to bear the extra weight of the added floors as well as the live loads from increased occupants. For that reason, they too ought to be reinforced. The walls can be reinforced by adding columns along the lengths of the walls.
Columns are vertical sections that take up vertical loads of a building. These columns are constructed inside the walls hence a section of the wall might be broken off to give room for the column. The columns are topped with a beam that spans across columns on the same line to evenly distribute the vertical load. These columns take up the extra weight from the additional floors of the building.
Dismantling roof; Because extra floors are to be added on top of the Bangalore, the existing roof ought to be dismantled to leave room for the base of the subsequent floors. The roofing material and the entire roofing system is removed and replaced with a suspended floor which doubles as a ceiling for the floor below. Suspended floors are those which are constructed above the ground. They can be made of timber or concrete slabs. Suspended concrete slab floors come in a variety of types; solid core slab floors, hollow pot slab floors, and waffle slab floors. They are made strong enough to take up all the loads of the inhabitants of the building, but light enough to be suspended and held by beams and load-bearing walls.
In conclusion, those are the various factors and necessary modifications to consider when transforming your Bangalore into a storied building. However not every Bangalore can be transformed into a storied building, which is why prior consultation from experts is necessary, preferably the ones that constructed the Bangalore in the first place. It’s them who know the building inside out, its strengths as well as its weaknesses. A thorough assessment will tell if your Bangalore can safely be reinforced or in some cases, it may be more viable to simply put down the entire structure and construct the desired storied building fresh.