The repair industry in India and for that matter, throughout the world, is like the story of an elephant described by seven blind people. Whichever part of an elephant will come in the hands of a blind man, the elephant will be described likewise! The repair industry is also so huge with many facets and, hence, difficult to assess in totality the causes of damage, mapping the extent of damage, proper corrective prescription, prediction of residual life with and without the repair measures, instrumentation and maintaining the health subsequently, and, most importantly, to strike the cost benefit ratio of the repair.
However, there is substantial amount of state-of-the-art knowledge available today which is based on critical study derived out of past failures and matching R&D work done in the laboratories and practical implementation on sites. The consistent results have encouraged the industry however the daunting task is to corroborate the entire information in a methodic way and thus provide this ever-growing industry an orderly pathway. It is also important to keep pace with the dynamic nature of various advancements and incorporate them in the set procedures.
Size of Repair Industry in India
Essentially, deterioration of concrete takes place due to environmental parameters, damage caused to structures due to external agencies, basic defects in the concrete structures, and change in use which can take place subsequently. Almost all the concretes are made as per the structural requirement of each structure and has to be custom made. These concretes have to use local material from many sources of different quality, which can be marginal. Sometimes, the designs are not standard and to top it all we have to work at neck breaking speed for producing the output for accelerated construction processes which may sacrifice quality at times.
The above factors lead to malfunctioning and early distress signs in a structure and have led to an industry which is likely to assume a form of a parallel industry. In India, this market/industry though of a large size and spread across all the nook and corners of the subcontinent, is not organized. Thus, the exact figure of annual cost to owners for repair, protection and strengthening is not available. However, looking at the sheer size of this industry as well as the size of country, one can safely estimate the cost to be beyond any other expenses, including the ones in the advanced western world where the industry is treated as a scientific, organized industry - the way it deserves. As an indicator, the average annual cost to owners for repairs etc. in the U.S. alone is estimated to be 20 billion dollars, which equates to approximately ₹90,000 cores. This is a big industry in India and merits judicious attention to control the loss to national wealth by avoiding frequent failures.