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Structural Safety Management for Small-scale Buildings

Jin ParkㆍSang-Gyoon Kim

The collapse of several buildings has caused social anxiety about an aging building. Further, 46% of buildings in Seoul are over 30 years old. Therefore, structural safety management for small-scale buildings is an important issue in Seoul. Recently, with revision of the law, third-class facility was implemented and mandatory management was extended to small buildings. Legally, this means that the number of private buildings under mandatory management has been increased. Management of third-class facility includes designation, pre-inspection, designation decision, safety inspection, and maintenance. As third-class facility is newly implemented and the system is in progress for the first time, a complete work should be improved based on the implications of the overall process.

At present, the average number of potential third-class facilities is 1,000 in each autonomous district in Seoul. Priority standards need to be established for efficient designation and management of the third-class facility. Problems have been identified in the national building DB, which is called Seumteo. There is no data value or the entered value does not meet the building codes. Therefore, Seoul’s building DB is needed to supplement the limitations of the national DB. Also, it is necessary to enhance the automatic linkage of facility management systems between Seoul and the nation.

Meaningful implications were found in the field study on pre-inspection. It was difficult to conduct pre-inspection due to closure of the entrance. It is necessary to send a notice to the owner, manager, or representative of the tenant, to inform them that the visit has not been carried out. Ultimately, administrative services are needed for appointments in advance between building managers and inspectors. In addition, it is necessary to set up a building representative in connection with the local manager for small buildings without a building manager. This saves the time that is unnecessarily utilised during the pre-inspection process, and thus, efficient inspection can be performed.

Citizens have little awareness about pre-inspection, and the inspector is now guiding the purpose of the visit and the details of the inspection and seeking co-operation. Through public relations, supplementary measures should be taken together, such as raising public awareness of building safety management and providing means to enforce it. This needs to be improved because it is also connected with safety inspection after final designation of the third-class facility.

During pre-inspection, it is difficult to confirm because the main components are covered with internal and external finishing materials. The Seoul Metropolitan Government should prepare a criterion for the case so that there is no difference in the result grade for each inspector or building. If a building is in a vulnerable area or an accurate diagnosis is required, it is necessary to use a non-destructive inspection as a complementary means. There is a need to find ways to link building remodelling or interior work with safety inspections.

Public awareness about private building safety management should be improved. Self check should allow building owners, and managers to be interested in the building and understand its condition. In particular, awareness about the necessity of building safety management should be extended to private building owners.