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Indian quake prompts civils licensing reforms

INDIA IS to introduce the compulsory licensing of civil engineers after poor design and supervision of buildings was found to have increased the death toll in last month's earthquake in Gujarat.

The Indian government will push through a bill that will require civil engineers with a four year BEng qualification and two years professional experience to supervise the construction of buildings.

Two strong earth tremors struck Gujurat within seconds of each other at 8.45am on 26 January. The first measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and the second 7.9.

More than 100,000 people are thought to have died as thousands of buildings were reduced to rubble.

The Indian government is under pressure to drive through quick reforms of the Indian construction industry following the earthquake. Widespread flouting of India's building codes is thought have been partly behind the fact that an estimated 150,000 buildings failed.

One solution is to ban diploma qualified civil engineers from supervising construction work in favour of those with degrees.

'The Indian civil engineering diploma does not include enough design modules to make it safe for diploma holders to supervise construction, ' said past president of the Gujurat Institute of Civil Engineers Vijay Shah.

Licensing will come hand in hand with greater regulation of builders to make construction safer.

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