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Changes to building rules will hit low-cost homes: IIA
The Hindu  |  November 18, 2019

Special Correspondent Kochi

Several provisions in the Kerala Municipal Building Rule 2019 went against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s idea of ‘ease of doing business’, and they will thwart plans to set up more budget-friendly homes in the State, according to the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA).


The new rules seem to have been drafted by a few officials who wanted to portray the positive decisions taken by the government in bad light. Moreover, the rules were framed without eliciting the views of stakeholders like architects, engineers, and Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India, IIA national secretary Lalichan Zacharias said here on Saturday.


Elaborating on the shortcomings in the Kerala Municipal Building Rule 2019, Mr. Zacharias pointed out that the move to encourage low-cost homes would turn impossible as car parking area had been included in calculating the Floor Space Index (FSI). It was not included earlier as an incentive to provide car parking and other facilities, he said.


“This means that the additional area used for providing parking space will consume the FSI, and there will be only limited area balance as usable space. A land area that had accommodated 100 flats earlier can have just 70 flats in view of this amendment. The IIA’s recommendation is to exempt parking area from FSI calculation and promote buildings to have adequate parking. The overall cost of a building will go down,” he added.


The IIA observed that the new rule that the setback for top floors should be given in ground itself will result in an increase in the number of floors as parking area needs to be provided on upper floors. The solution is to allow normal setback till 10-metre height as it will help in achieving efficient parking required for the building. This is key to space-starved cities like Kochi, it said.


Architects said the new rule on fixing high-rise buildings (which will make even buildings with five floors and under 16 metres figure in the high-rise category) will hit low-cost housing formats that follow the principle of one floor parking and four floor apartments on small land parcels.


The decision to do away with the concept of carpet area (actual usable area in any building) will affect the common man as all amenities were earlier linked to the carpet area. Now this has been linked to the built-up area. This is unwise as there is no point in setting up toilets or recreation area for the parking area provided, they said.