Background of NCSHS

    An initiative of Ministry of HRD (Government of India)

  • Conservation of heritage structures is a multi-disciplinary effort, wherein traditional knowledge on building materials, techniques and specifications are brought to the realm of current practitioners of conservation engineering, with intent of merging them with modern tools and practices. Internationally, it is established practice that structural safety cannot be compromised in any conservation effort. Formal systems that recognise conservation of heritage structures as a multidisciplinary engineering effort, with structural safety as a critical determinant, do not exist in India. With one of the largest stocks of heritage structures in the world, lack of adequate quality and quantity of manpower is a serious bottleneck in India in addressing the task of understanding and protecting heritage structures from natural hazards, ageing and weathering effects. Hence, capacity building in structural safety-centric conservation engineering is a major challenge for India, with an urgent need to identify the existing diffused expertise in relevant sub-areas within conservation and forming a consortium for a holistic approach to the national grand challenge of protecting heritage structures.

  • To achieve the intended goal a national knowledge pool has to be developed by initiating concerted research, education and outreach activities in safety of heritage structures, coordinated and organised through a single national level institute, that can provide the much needed nationally-coordinated technical forum for exchange of ideas and training of stakeholder groups, primarily from implementing agencies (e.g. Archaeological Survey of India, State Archaeology Departments, etc.) and faculty members of engineering and architecture institutes. As a step to address the national need, IIT Madras proposes to lead a national effort to begin a formal approach to address safety of heritage structures.

  • IIT Madras was invited by Ministry of HRD (GoI) to participate in a National Workshop on Interdisciplinary Initiatives: Technology and Culture Interface at New Delhi in January 2013. On this occasion, IIT Madras made a presentation on the agenda towards ensuring structural safety of historical monuments in India. A proposal was also mooted to establish a dedicated facility, National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structures (NCSHS), at IIT Madras, with resource persons from India and abroad, mandated to undertake research and development, build capacity in national and state-level implementing agencies, provide technical solutions to challenges in conservation and disseminate R&D output. In response to this, MHRD sought a formal proposal from IIT Madras, which was approved and financed in July 2013.

Vision of NCSHS

  • Act as a change agent in the heritage conservation scene in India, burgeoning a safety-centric multi-disciplinary approach to heritage conservation.

  • Focus on long-term capacity building in the area of structural safety of heritage structures.

  • Collaborate with implementing national and state agencies.

  • Be a technical confluence of MHRD, other national ministries concerned with heritage structures, national and state agencies, to create the platform necessary for sustainable collaboration between stakeholders of structural safety of heritage structures.

  • Work towards creating education and research opportunities in structural safety of heritage structures in many engineering and architecture institutes in India.

  • Build much needed industry participants with background in structural safety of heritage structures, thereby creating new opportunities for industry.

Mission of NCSHS

    As its Mission, NCSHS will partner over the next 2-3 decades with implementing national and state agencies, autonomous bodies, private sector and engineering and architectural institutes of the country, to achieve the following objectives:

  • Building within India reasonable quality and quantity of Engineering Manpower with background in Structural Safety of Heritage Structures, through formal education and training, and curriculum development.

  • Initiating robust Fundamental Research on safety of heritage structures under natural hazards.

  • Enhancing Collaborative R&D between academia and implementing national/state agencies.

  • Providing Technical Solutions to conservation of prioritised heritage structures.

  • Documenting and disseminating State-of-the-art Knowledge

  • NCSHS will strive to achieve this goal in a phased manner through four tracks of activities, namely:

  • Fundamental Collaborative Research

  • Education and Training

  • Outreach and

  • Knowledge Dissemination


NAB The four tracks of activities of NCSHS will be coordinated by the National Advisory Board (NAB), chaired by Director, IIT Madras. The NAB shall plan and advice the NCSHS on matters related to research, education, outreach, international collaboration, and knowledge dissemination undertaken by the NCSHS. Also, it shall monitor and review past activities of NCSHS and allocate financial plans for its future activities.

Director, IIT Madras Chairman
Arun Menon, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras Convener
  • Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) #
  • Two Invitees with expertise in related areas as identified by Director, IIT Madras
    • Himanshu P. Ray: currently Chairperson, National Monuments Authority
    • R. Nagaswamy: Retd. Director of Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu
  • Representative of Engineering Professionals
    • Alpa R. Sheth, Governor, Board of Mumbai Metropolitan Region-Heritage Conservation Society (Govt. of Maharashtra)
    • Brinda Somaya, MD & Principal Architect, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  • Academicians from International and Indian University/Institute
    • P. B. Lourenco, University of Minho, Portugal
    • Durgesh C. Rai, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Kanpur
    • R. N. Iyengar, Jain University, Bengaluru
  • Two faculty members from Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
    • C. V. R. Murty*
    • A. Meher Prasad
  • Dean, Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research (IC&SR), IIT Madras
  • Head, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
* Currently on deputation as Director, IIT Jodhpur
# Official confirmation not received

NIC The four tracks of activities of NCSHS will be steered by a National Implementation Committee (NIC), composed of Sector Coordinators, external experts and advisory members. Specialised subject-area consultants shall be co-opted as special invitees to the NIC as the need arises. The NIC shall be chaired by Dean (IC&SR), IIT Madras. The NIC shall plan and implement programmes and activities of the NCSHS as guided by the NAB.

Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras Chairman
Arun Menon, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras Convener
  • R&D Sector Leads
    • A. Meher Prasad, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
    • S. R. Gandhi, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
    • K.N. Satyanarayana, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
    • Manu Santhanam, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
    • C.V.R. Murty*, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
  • Representatives of ASI
    • To be chosen by DG, ASI
  • External Members
    • K. N. Dikshit, Former ADG, ASI, New Delhi
    • Durgesh C. Rai, Department of Civil Engineering , IIT Kanpur
    • K. Kalpana, Conservation Architect, Chennai
  • Head, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras
* Currently on deputation as Director, IIT Jodhpur

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