Mr. R. N. Raikar was a man of unparalleled virtues: an engineer par excellence, a thorough professional, an earnest teacher, and most importantly a pious human being. As the first Civil Engineer in the family, Mr. R. N. Raikar or RNR as he was fondly called graduated in the year 1961 from Pune Engineering College. Such was his charisma and encouragement that most of his family members followed in his foot-steps and pursued civil engineering. Today, his first family boasts 11 Civil Engineers and five Architects. After gaining experience in Military Engineering Services and Bombay Port Trust he decided to form his own company, Structwel, in 1967. Started initially as a structural engineering organization, he immediately diversified into Forensic Engineering in construction and repaired the first building in the inaugural year of his company. Mr. Raikar’s outstanding flair for building repairs, rehabilitation and restoration prompted the State Government to invite him to the advisory panel of the Repairs Board in 1968 – a unique recognition for an engineer with only seven years of professional experience. He became a Member of the prestigious IStructE, UK in R. N. Raikar the year 1969 – a membership highly coveted and attained only after a grueling seven-hour examination. Needless to say Mr. Raikar cleared it in his first attempt, became a member, was subsequently awarded Fellowship of IStructE, UK, and finally made it as the organization’s India representative. It was his intense desire to share knowledge that urged him to become a visiting lecturer at the J. J. School of Architecture – a duty he carried on till 1975 when he had to grudgingly discontinue due to increased professional commitments. Mr. Raikar’s first technical contribution, ‘Technology of Building Repairs’ was published in 1974. After four reprints over four decades, the book continues to serve as a bible for engineers – a testimony to his profound and timeless knowledge on the subject. A recipient of countless national and international accolades in the field of Structural Engineering, and Rehabilitation and Restoration, Mr. Raikar was appointed as an advisor by State and Central Governments on almost all advisory panels for collapses of structures. His experience of Collapse investigations of more than 100 structures was documented in his second technical endeavor, ‘Learning from Failures’ (1986) and in subsequent books ‘Diagnosis and Treatment of Structures in Distress’ (1994) and ‘Durable Structures through Planning for Preventive Maintenance’ (1994). He lived by the American Concrete Institute adage, ‘Progress through Knowledge’. Mr. Raikar and few other like-minded professionals launched the India Chapter of American Concrete Institute (ICACI) in 1979. The Chapter is a proud recipient of the ‘Excellent Chapter’ award for the past consecutive 14 years – an insurmountable feat that could only be accomplished by a towering personality like Mr. Raikar. Mr. Raikar’s contribution to the growth of the Chapter is unmatched. He was instrumental in organizing more than 35 seminars on concrete and construction related topics during his stint at the Chapter. It was his brain child to start a construction supervisor’s course which has recently completed its 19th installment. His initiative to bring Technician’s training courses to India has given Indian engineers and technicians an opportunity to avail of these initiatives at affordable prices. His passion, commitment and zeal towards knowledge advancement was recognized by the American Concrete Institute when he was awarded the celebrated ‘Honorary Membership’ in 2004, becoming the first Asian to receive
this honour and the first person to get it outside the United States of America. Mr. Raikar’s organization, Structwel, is at the forefront of structural engineering. Its uniqueness is the presence of a structural design arm, a material testing laboratory, a Research and Development centre, and an army of trained engineers in the field of rehabilitation and restoration, with each department aiming for excellence. Integrity and professionalism – virtues of Mr. Raikar – are today displayed by every employee of Structwel, currently spearheaded by his able sons, Chetan and Kaustubh. Mr. Raikar breathed his last on 8th of March, 2008 after being in coma for three months. He suffered from a brain stroke while delivering a key-note address at an ICACI seminar on Forensic Engineering on 6th December 2007. He walked into the seminar fully aware of the aneurism in his brain and the dangers it presented. But it was his destiny to be remembered by the fraternity as a brave soldier who departed this life with his shoes on. The board of India Chapter of American Concrete Institute and the entire engineering fraternity salutes the invaluable contribution of Mr. R. N. Raikar – a legend like none other.