Architect Calls Falling Glass at Indian Airport ‘Very Alarming’

A significant amount of glass continues to fall at the Chennai Airport in India, and the project’s architect says it may be due to a communication and supervision breakdown during the construction phase.

Last week, aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Pusapati Raju told India’s parliament that 40 glass lites have fallen since a 2012 terminal modernization project—26 due to “spontaneous breakage” and 14 to accidental breakage, according to Live Mint. Last month, India’s National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) citing a complaint that the airport had witnessed at least 61 recent incidents of falling glass. Raju said at least two of the instances resulted in injuries to passengers and that AAI has since installed barricades to prevent future accidents.

More glass has reportedly fallen since. Another lite fell from a terminal facade Monday morning, according to News Today. The newspaper reported it as the 63rd instance of falling glass, a trend that has undoubtedly gotten the attention of Creative Group, the project’s architect of record and primary consultant.

“The serious matter of falling of glasses at Chennai airport is very alarming and calls for a holistic and integrated approach towards quality control and adherence to all specifications,” Ar. Akshita Anand, a public relations executive for Creative Group, tells USGNN.com™.

Anand says specialized structural glazing work is generally left to vendors or to a civil engineer/site engineer. “Although the complete structural glazing design provided by us … has been designed by the specialized consultants and duly vetted by the experts,” she says, “… the execution of work through the [project management contract] perhaps was neglected and was not supervised by the experts leading to execution and quality concerns.”

She adds that during Creative Group’s participation in the project, “we were allowed partial inspection of glazing during which the execution deficiencies [that] could have an impact on the structural stability and safety were observed and notified further. Due to non-compliance of the same, it was also recommended to have a third party inspection, to ensure proper execution.”

Gensler partnered with Frederic Schwartz Architects through the conceptual design of the terminal expansion, but according to Gensler senior associate Kashyap Bhimjiani, that’s where their scope of the work ended. The AAI contracted the project to Consolidated Construction Consortium Limited (CCCL) and these two firms were not retained for oversight.

CCCL hadn’t responded to a request for comment as of press time, though USGNN.com™ will update the story with more information as it is made available.

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